Interview with Entrepreneur Daniel Johannesen of Swim Brand Watery

Interview with Entrepreneur Daniel Johannesen of Swim Brand Watery

Meet Founder, Daniel Johannesen

WOWSA: 

Tell us about your background in swimming

Daniel: 

Back in the days, I was born into a swimming family with a mom swimming competitively (she wasn’t that good, however) and two brothers trying to follow. So it was natural for me that I was pushed in the water too.  From the start my mom’s intention was pretty clear: You just need to learn to swim and then you can stop right away again if you don’t like it. Living in Denmark, with the longest coastline per square meter, that was with safety in mind.  However, swimming was fun for me in the first years, but football quickly took over by age 10. So I stopped swimming and continued as a footballer until 3rd grade. At that point, I learned I wasn’t that good at football, so I decided to get back in the water. That turned out to be an important decision that has followed me for the next 8 years swimming in the competitive club in Horsens, Denmark. I was never the best swimmer, but I really focused on the details, worked hard to continue developing and also participated in Danish Championships for several years, ending up with my best result as number 6 in my age group in 200m butterfly. That was a proud moment for me and a result of several years of 7-8 training sessions per week. It was also here that Watery took over and I found out that my little physique couldn’t bring me to the top of swimming. So as an 18 year old, I stopped swimming again and since then just have enjoyed swimming for fun – both in the pool and open water.

WOWSA: 

What made you want to start a swim brand?

Daniel: 

It was actually after a random talk with my swim friends in the shower in December 2015 that I got the idea for Watery. None of us had been able to find a pair of sustainable swimming briefs from existing brands. The following day I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t available on the market and started searching online for more information. I found a lot of material about suppliers, factories, materials, fittings and came to the conclusion: I should make this if no one else is.  At that time I was 17, swimming 7-8 times a week and getting ready to graduate high school. The following 6 months were tough, but I ended up with a sustainable pair of swimming briefs for me and my swim friends. And this really started my enjoyment of seeing my own swimming brand grow with better, sustainable and good fitting swimwear and equipment.

WOWSA:

What is and isn’t sustainable swimwear?

Daniel:

Every single business and brand has their own opinion about sustainability and why they’re sustainable. It can be everything from the material used in products, where the products are manufactured, what the packaging is made of, how you support the surrounding environment within the field and so on. At Watery, we focus on ensuring that the materials we use for our products are recycled. But actually, I don’t see Watery as a sustainability brand. It’s just a natural focus for me and my team in everything we do. But our main focus is to inspire more people to swim and have the same joy we have in the water.  And as a plus, we do it in a sustainable way.

WOWSA:

What are your global expansion plans?

Daniel:

Starting Watery up in Denmark 5 years ago in my parents cellar, I’m so proud that we already now have +150.000 Scandinavian swimmers loving our broad selection of open water wetsuits, swimwear, swimming equipment and swim buoys. Getting feedback from all of our customers, like how much they love swimming with our low-priced wetsuits and have never felt more free and buoyant in the water. But what makes us the most proud is how we continually inspire so many people to enjoy swimming – and going forward, Watery should not just be for Scandinavian water-lovers, but for a global community of swimmers. That’s why we opened getwatery.com to make Watery accessible for swimmers all over the world. And luckily, swimmers from USA, Australia, Dubai and Japan already have found that our reviews of our swimming equipment from Denmark don’t lie.

WOWSA:

Walk us through your design process?

Daniel:

All our products start with an irritation from our own pool swimming or open water swimming trips. We only start the process if we know we can improve on what’s already available. If so, we get in contact with our manufacturers in Europe or Asia to find the right one to develop and produce the product. From there we draw the new potential product up with both technical sheets and design sheets in-house and often end up with 3-5 samples tested until we have a product that matches in quality and solves our initial irritation.  When we have an end product we’re proud of, we have a test group of around 60 different  swimmers, both pool and open water swimmers, in Europe that test the product and give us feedback for further improvements. Normally, this is a process over 3-15 months from start to finish.

WOWSA: 

What are a few of the products you are most proud of?

Daniel:

With products for both kids, open water swimmers, pool swimmers and endurance swimmers, we have several products across collections that I’m extra proud of.  One of my favorites is our Raven swimming goggle made for open water swimming.  Everyone that knows how goggles can feel bad after a few minutes of swimming are impressed with the feel of the Raven google because of its 3D-fitted sealing and extra soft silicone. And they also look pretty bad ass if I’m being honest.

Another one is our Nebraska microfiber towel, which is actually our best selling product over the last several years. Made from 12 plastic bottles, it is both sand and odor resistant and fast absorbent. The team at Watery brings this towel on every swimming trip!


Watery is an upcoming swimming brand for all who enjoy swimming – both open water and in the pool. Started in Denmark by a former Elite-swimmer, Watery is now represented and used by +150.000 swimmers around the world.

Website: getwatery.com