While many of us are spending our time in coronavirus lockdown binge-watching TV, eating far too many choccie biscuits and getting disproportionately excited about bin day, Rebecca Klodinsky has been working hard.
The swimwear designer and single mum is currently rebranding her multimillion-dollar business and raising a toddler all from the inside of an AFL quarantine ‘Hub’ in Queensland.
Rebecca, 32, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she and her son entered lockdown in the Southport hotel a few weeks ago when her partner, Geelong player Lachie Henderson, was unable to return to his Melbourne home.
“The [Geelong players] did their quarantine in Sydney before they flew over to Perth to play… then we found out that they were coming to Queensland so we had to consider coming in to do our quarantine here,” she says.
With Lachie over in WA, Rebecca and her little one spent the first two weeks in the Hub in self-isolation but are now permitted to mix with the other WAGs and their kids and also leave the premises “for essentials”.
“In Queensland, we aren’t under lockdown restrictions but we do have an oval and a park connected to the hotel so there’s plenty of outdoor space, we’re fine.
“There’s freedom to walk, play and do everything as per normal.”
Rebecca says she doesn’t get much time with her fellow wives-and-girlfriends because she’s knee-deep in transitioning her bikini brand, Frankii Swim, to its new name, IIXIIST — during a pandemic, no less.
“I feel like they’re wondering where I am because I’m always working,” she laughs.
“I’ll go to the gym in the morning then I’ll be in the office working flat out,” she adds.’
Rebecca was able to transplant her office to a separate room in the hotel and, even though it was ‘interesting’ adjustment in the early days, she’s focussing on the silver linings of her situation.
“I don’t have any distractions, I don’t have anything else to do except focus on the business and what is happening today, what might happen tomorrow… so yeah, my laser focus is extreme at the moment.”
And while there’s much to be done to get IIXIIST out there in the world, Rebecca has been through a rebrand before in 2016 when she noticed that the original name, Frankii, had ‘lost its individuality’ in the four years since launch amid ‘an influx of similar names’.
So, Frankii became Frankii Swim for a few years before Rebecca decided to rebuild from the ground up in early 2020 — just when everything was grinding to a halt due to COVID-19.
“It freaked me out in the beginning because you’ve got this pandemic taking over the world and you’ve got to re-brand but it was a blessing in disguise because everybody was forced to just sit down. Brands weren’t selling to consumers.”
Overseas production also slowed to a crawl, or halted altogether, prompting Rebecca to look to Aussie manufacturers to have IIXIIST’s new resort wear and loungewear ranges made.
“Being back in the country is nice,” she says. “I’m normally in Indonesia.”
With retailers, shoppers and manufacturers in a strange state of limbo, Rebecca and her team used the breathing space to ‘pull back and rejig everything slowly’.
“COVID was a necessary washout for the retail industry, especially Instagram brands because it was just becoming a lot.
“Every day there was a new Instagram brand that mimicked some other brand so I feel like all the brands that can make it through [COVID] are going to be recharged and ready to go.”
After a flurry of online media launches and influencer events, the initial response to IIXIIST has been positive and Rebecca is excited about what’s on the horizon once COVID eventually clears.
“There have been a few small spikes [in purchases] but everything is largely steady. I’m able to sit through it so thank God I’m going to be here at the end of it.”
Rebecca credits Lachie with being her rock through the past few months.
“He’s been a great support through all of this. It would’ve been so hard without him especially when you’re forced into lockdown with all these changes and human interaction at an all-time low.”
The couple has been together for about a year but, like many of us, time has taken on a different meaning for Rebecca.
“I feel like with all of this stuff that’s happened it’s been five years, it merges you together. It feels like it’s been forever, which is not a bad thing!” she laughs.
Rebecca and her tot will call the AFL Hub ‘home’ for at least the next six to seven weeks but when it comes time to leave, she’ll likely be first in line.
“I’ll probably be scratching at the door, my house is just five mins from here,” she admits.