Do you love the ocean vibe? The sound of waves crashing on a sun bleached shore?
That feeling of calm after a day scuba diving or snorkeling along a rocky coast?
Hi, I’m Leonie, a graphic designer from the Netherlands. I wanted to find just that sort of paradise when I went travelling in Asia.
In many ways I did – diving with a whale shark and swimming with manta rays and giant sea turtles.
But there was a problem. I was heartbroken by all the pollution I encountered.
The seas were awash with plastic and many beaches were spoiled. I came home with a mission.
Combining my skills as a designer and my love for the ocean I started transforming my dream into making ocean designs and screen-printing them onto t-shirts. I decided to donate 10% of all profits to ocean clean-up charities.
In March 2019 Smile & Wave was born.
When I started out, I had zero business experience and I had never touched a screen-printing machine in my life.
So, to say there was a big mountain to climb doesn’t entirely cover the load.
I’ll spare you the details of learning to screen-print in my box-sized studio-apartment.
And yet, despite all the challenges Smile & Wave had an amazing first year and slowly but steadily gained momentum.
After this first year of trial and error I was really getting the hang of things.
I had big plans to take the summer by storm and Smile & Wave was really starting to take off.
However, as we all know mother nature had different plans for us.
Covid-19 hit. The world went into lock-down and we were forced to slow down.
Of course, as a small business owner this had big consequences for me.
The shops selling my items closed and most people had more important things on their minds than buying clothes.
Instead of just sitting around I started to design ocean prints as a way to brighten up people’s homes.
This was the perfect way for me to use my sudden mountains of free time in a creative way.
Creating them helped me through these strange, but for me, intensely creative times.
So, within a few weeks I launched my first series of art prints; I so lovingly created. And, with many more designs to come!
I feel so fortunate to be able to live by the sea. The ocean will always be my first source of inspiration.
I love to create designs that capture my imagination and hopefully may capture yours too!
Thank you for supporting my dream!
Production and Packaging
All clothing and bags are made of organic cotton and have been hand-printed using water-based ink.
All art prints are digitally printed on high quality FCS-certified paper.
I use recycled paper for packaging and promotional items as much as possible. And I definitely don't use any plastic!
All designs have been created by me and are exclusive to Smile & Wave.