Israeli swimwear designer Shani Shemer has everything a woman could hope to achieve by the age of 40: a husband, twin children, and an international brand named after her.
When she was a child, she dreamed of importing Victoria's Secret, the American lingerie brand, products to Israel. Her dreams evolved as the years went by, and instead of becoming the importer of an iconic lingerie brand, she created her own.
It has been 11 years since she turned her dream into a reality, and now, at 39, Shemmer's brand boasts a long list of loyal customers, including glamorous celebs like models Chrissy Teigen and Bar Refaeli, as well as actress Gal Gadot.
About a year ago, Shemer decided to open a store on Tel Aviv's busy Dizengoff Street, and is now looking to open another shop in the northern city of Migdal Haemek - her hometown.
Shemer's success story began in the far-north city of Afula, an unlikely location for fashion breakthroughs.
After a year-long trip to the United States, Shemer opened up a tanning salon in the northern city, and began importing bathing suits from abroad, which she sold to her clients at the salon.
Her initial transactions led her to an important realization - her potential to sell was dictated by how well the swim suits fit the Israeli body-type, which she says is characterized by bigger breasts and smaller butts.
"The bathing suits I was importing from the U.S. fit women with big breasts and a bit butt," explains Shemer. "In Israel, everyone has silicone implants and a small butt. I identified the demand there."
Shani Shemer Swimwear in the past decade has broken through the borders, becoming an international brand. Her designs sell across a wide array of popular, international retail websites including Fwrd, Intermix, Shopbop, and Revolve.
According to Shemer, working with international sites also brings a lot of challenges. "The Americans try to commercialize me with demands for sexier designs," she says.
"The world is going to a place of sexy and short-lived designs, but I prefer oversize fits and linen fabric," says Shemer.
"As a designer, I face a daily dilemma. As one of the Americans once asked me: 'Do you want to be 'style' or build a house for your children?' This business is a very big investment. We make a nice living, but this isn't America."
Before you go browsing on her site looking for your next cute summer look, brace yourself for Shemer's not-so-cute prices.
Shemer's swimwear prices range between 950 to 1,350 NIS for a one piece suit, a definite investment, especially compared to Israeli standards.
"I know I'm not cheap and I don't take it for granted that women buy at my prices," she says. "Being expensive is not a strategy, rather an outcome of production costs. I work with two-layered Italian lycra fabrics, our prints are unique, and prices in the world have jumped in the past two years."
Among Shemer's loyal customers are also celebrities and influencers both in Israel and abroad, yet she still refuses to sponsor celebs for wearing her brand.
"We got to Chrissy Teigen through public relations in the United States," she explains. "There was one time that I wanted to sent my product to someone and she asked for money, I refused. Not because I can't pay, but because I want it to be authentic, for people to like the brand, like Bar Refaeli, Yael Goldman, Natali Dadon, Rotem Sela, Liran Kohener. There isn't a [celebrity] woman in Israel who doesn't own a piece of mine.
"There isn't anyone in Israel I wanted to dress and didn't get to. Abroad, my dream is Ivanka Trump. Even Gal Gadot was at my studio before the filming of 'Red Notice' and we designed a special piece for her."