Into the Deep: From Real Estate Agent to Wet-Suit Designer

Debbie Davis was bored in her real estate job. Then she fell madly in love — with the ocean. At 55, she has an Internet business selling women-friendly wet suits, and a whole new view of life.

Interview by Janet Ungless
Photograph: Photo: Shay Peretz

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself that it’s only the mind reacting to what’s going on at the moment. Once you get past that moment, something else happens. My motto is, Go with the flow — the water teaches me that I’m still here, eight years later, still enjoying myself. The ocean is an immense power, and it’s constantly changing. Some days the ocean is calm and quiet, and sometimes it’s mean and angry. I love to stare at it. I love to be down in it. The high tides don’t last; the low tides don’t last either. Only the adventure lasts.

Running the Numbers

$10,000 initial investment, taken from personal savings. Used for designing the Sea Dreams Web site, making prototypes, and producing 200 wet suits

8 years and counting to keep on top of ever-changing QuickBooks Pro accounting software

45 days to educate myself in import/export and customs rules and regulations for international commerce and sales

0 number of hours commuting to work, since my office is in my home

1 or 2 vacations a year that I can write off on taxes. (All my dive vacations can be written off!)

55 average number of daily visitors to

225 number of wet suits (ranging from $90 to $140) manufactured in 2005


Originally published in MORE magazine, February 2007.

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