Erin Deering’s Journey from Global Success to Personal Happiness - 30A

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Erin Deering’s Journey from Global Success to Personal Happiness

By: Lauren Sage Reinlie | Posted Jun 14, 2024

It was snowing every day when Erin Deering moved to New York City from the hot-humid Mediterranean country of Monaco. The 33-year-old had her two-and-a-half-year-old son and three-week-old baby with her and, newly separated from her romantic and business partner, was set on running their $200-million-dollar global swimsuit company, Triangl, all on her own.

 “I must have been on that newborn high with a lot of adrenaline in my body,” said Erin, recalling the intensity of what she set out to do. 

Erin’s success had come incredibly quickly. She’d been working herself to the bone and hardly had time to catch up with the lavish life she was living. In just three years, she’d gone from cobbling together rent to running a global business, becoming a mother, owning a super yacht and mansion, and being set financially for the rest of her life.

“I always believed that as soon as you had a level of wealth or a level of success, which I had gotten really quickly, then you would just automatically be happy,” Erin said.



But she wasn’t.

“I was thinking, if I’m not happy with this, I must be broken. Why do I feel so miserable? What is wrong with me? There was a lot of self-loathing.”

In New York, she was hitting roadblock after roadblock, and when she had to move back to Monaco to wait on paperwork, she knew she wasn’t going back. “I just knew it would not be me setting the company up in New York.”

Instead, she walked away from the still-flourishing business for good.

But who am I?

Erin moved home to Melbourne, Australia, where she had grown up and where her extended family still lived. At first, she thought she would return to her jet-setting lifestyle, but it didn’t take long to realize she was in trouble and needed professional help. Her mental health was suffering, and she was dealing with disordered eating and the challenges of raising two young children. She was uncomfortable in her own skin and wrestling with an identity crisis. Being around her family, the people who knew her best, made it impossible to ignore the health problems she’d been dismissing for many years.

“I had never explored who Erin was and what her values were,” she said. “Then I started a business, and then it became this huge thing, and when you don’t have a foundational core value or belief system, that’s when things just completely go crazy.”

In 2011, Erin met Craig Ellis, and on their second date, they developed the concept for Triangl. The following year, when Erin was 27 years old, the couple moved to a studio apartment in Hong Kong and threw themselves into launching the company. The brand caught on, and when they were able to get the product into the hands of American celebrity Kendall Jenner, sales skyrocketed.

In two years, they went from zero dollars in revenue to earning $55 million annually and selling 2,000 bikinis every day.

Erin, who had been answering all the company’s customer service requests herself, suddenly didn’t know what to do. She was in way over her head and too embarrassed to admit it. She knew starting a business could be chaotic, but nothing had prepared her for the level of success they achieved so quickly.

“At 27, I didn’t have any real life skills, no self-development,” she said. “And by the age of 28, we had this globally successful business, and I had no idea what I was doing.”



Their lifestyle had completely changed as well. The couple suddenly earned so much money they could buy anything they wanted. “It took only probably a year for us to be in a financial position that we knew was going to set us up for life.” But with everything happening so quickly, she didn’t even have time to put much thought into the lives they were building. They started spending wildly. They moved to Monaco, lived among the rich and famous, drove fancy cars, bought a super yacht, took lavish trips, and had a baby. Two years later, they had another. All the while, Erin spiraled down but was unable to admit it to anyone.

“I did maybe 20 years of growth in a three-year period,” she said. “It was too much for a person to take on.” And she was doing a lot of it alone. She wasn’t talking to anyone about her struggles. “No one could relate to what we were going through. I was too ashamed to tell anyone that I was struggling when I had millions of dollars in the bank and an extremely successful business and a baby and a fiancé and this life that we were living.”

She split with her fiancé just before giving birth to their second son. Soon after, when she realized she needed to leave the company behind as well, the decision was more a necessity than a choice. She started over, accepting her flaws, trying to work on them, and rebuilding herself piece by piece.

“Even though we hear it all the time, that happiness comes from within, I still had to go through it to pay attention to that and go, ah, that is so true,” she said. “There are certain benefits from financial freedom, absolutely, and I lived that. But truly, none of it matters when your internal self is at war.”

The next chapter

While undertaking personal healing and professional treatment in Melbourne, Erin met her husband, Zac. The couple had two more children, and now they live with their four kids, aged two to nine, in a beautiful but quiet suburb outside Melbourne. 

Occasionally, Erin said she gets a little bored, but not often. “This season of our lives is all about our children,” she said. “And it’s such a safe place to live. We have so many friends and family around us.” After work, Erin and Zac are able to spend most evenings at home with the children. Erin drops the kids at school in the mornings and attends their sports games and activities. “It’s simple but really nice.”

Last year, Erin published a memoir in Australia about her experience with the quick growth of Triangl and overcoming her mental health struggles. She hopes other people facing personal hardships can find some comfort and inspiration in her story. Hanging by a Thread could be released in the United States this year.

After much self-searching, Erin will also launch her own fashion label this September, a project that has brought her incredible joy. She describes it as women’s wear that feels special but can be worn any day.

After Triangl, Erin searched for her purpose, the passionate work she felt she was put on Earth to do. She kept thinking her next venture needed to be something grander than fashion but eventually realized, without shame, that this is the work she loves the most. “I just love the art of dressing up,” she said.

She remembers times in her life when she stopped caring about what she wore, and while that wasn’t the reason for her suffering, it didn’t help her get out of it. Now, she doesn’t save outfits for special occasions. “If I buy something nice and it’s beautiful, I’ll wear it on a Monday. I just want to feel good.”

She’s come to realize fashion isn’t a silly pursuit. “I think it’s one of the easiest ways to show individuality. I love how it can genuinely impact our mental health when we feel good in an outfit. That’s such a powerful tool.”

Soon after the line launches, Erin will turn 40, an age she anticipates with more excitement than any other. “I just feel like every year has given me so much more freedom and growth, and there’s so much more I know about the world. So I’m like, bring it.”

Follow Erin’s life and career updates on Instagram (@erinkdeering).

 

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Lauren Sage Reinlie is an award-winning freelance journalist currently living in Freeport, Florida. Her work has taken her across the South, where she has covered topics ranging from the wily ways of politicians at the Texas state capitol to the storied land of sunshine and swamp sharks (a.k.a. gators) in Florida. She can be reached at [email protected].

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