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Queen Anne resident starts protective kids-wear co.

April 14th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez

A Lower Queen Anne resident is wrapping up her first year as owner and CEO of a company that sells protective swimwear for children.

Betsy Wanless has been running SwimZip out of her Uptown apartment since early last year with the help of her brother in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was while vacationing with her brother in Cancun that the inspiration for the company’s line of full-zipper rash guards came after watching her niece struggle with her swim shirt.

Photo from LinkedIn

“We searched around and there wasn’t anything else around like it,” said Wanless. “So we were like, ‘ok, let’s go make them,” and so we made them and have been selling them ever since.”

She said business has been going well and has even picked up since quitting her job as an account manager at Disney three weeks ago to run the business full time.

Wanless, who has a degree in economics and business from the University of Puget Sound, said she never thought she’d own a clothing business.

“I’m not really a clothing person … it’s kind of random but it’s been super fun,” she said.

Her company sells its products online, but Wanless is looking to sell in stores in the Seattle-area, and has been in contact with boutiques in Queen Anne, as well as with larger retail stores like Nordstrom. The 2011 line of SwimZip clothing is scheduled to be ready in May.

She said she’s been working closely with Cause Haun, CEO of Seattle-area children’s shoe company See Kai Run, and receiving guidance from her.

Wanless, who has been living in Queen Anne for the last year and a half, said she hopes to be in the neighborhood for a long time, and that her and her fiancé are looking for homes in Upper Queen Anne.

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