I started this brand when I was 23 years old. I had no business background, no design background and frankly I didn't even really believe in myself.
I simply knew that women deserved better swimsuits and that I wanted something that worked. I wanted to empower women in watersports and to feel good in their bodies. I wanted to show women in sports and push for equal. I wanted to be a brand that women could look to–for inspiration, for support and for suits that worked.
In this installment of The Scoop, I wanted to share a little bit of the background of Sensi and show how I managed to even get this thing off the ground.
Here's the first chapter of the story of Sensi Swim....
In 2009, I spent my first Summer working as a kiteboarding instructor for Real Watersports. I was in the water every single day. Therefore I was in a bikini every single day. I remember constantly being annoyed with my suits. I used to wear triangle tops back then and they were ALWAYS moving around. I was either pulling on the top to cover up a nip slip or pulling on the bottom to get rid of a wedgie.
It was annoying.
I went back to school in the fall of 2009 and completed a degree in communications from UCSD. The idea for a swimwear company was just an inkling in the back of my head.
After graduation, I moved back to North Carolina to coach kiteboarding. During that Summer (of 2010) I actually had the idea to start a swimwear company. I knew what kind of suits I wanted (ones that would work), and I knew that I wanted them to be in fun prints and colors that would make me feel feminine and not frumpy. I started thinking about it more...
During that Summer, I taught a few women who would become instrumental in the creation of my business. Isabella Jones and Terre Peck. Both of these women had started companies of their own and they were both power houses.
I remember sitting on the back deck at Real Watersports with them, having lunch. Isabella was probing me–"what do you want to do?" she asked. And i said those fateful words "Well, I kinda want to start a swimwear company."
Her reaction was one of complete enthusiasm. "Oh my gosh, you have to do it! I can totally see that." Bella believed in me before I even had a chance to doubt myself.
Receiving our first production run of suits.
Once I said, out loud, that I was going to start a swimwear company, I knew I had to do it. And those women held me accountable.
Terre spent hours going over business plans with me, answering manufacturing questions with me (she had a shoe brand) and gave me all of her old fashion and design books. In my free time from coaching, I started pouring over books, asking questions and figuring out how to get a product made.
Over the next year, I sketched out designs, ordered fabric from New York, and found a local woman to sew my first suits. I had no idea what I was doing but I kept putting one foot in front of the other and I kept trying. After much stumbling, a lot of doubt and a whole bunch of serendipity, I did a soft launch of Sensi Bikinis in June 2011 alongside the Sunset Swim Charity Fashion Show. 6 months later, I officially launched with a website and our first production run of suits.
Our first photoshoot
Next year we celebrate our 10 year anniversary. I still can't believe that. There's a lot I would do differently if I were to start over and there's a lot I would keep, but one thing is for sure–there is no ride quite like entrepreneurship.
Thank you for following along. Thank you for being here. Thank you for supporting this vision. I wouldn't be here without you.
Testing suits in Brazil in 2012.
Stay tuned for Chapter 2 of the story of Sensi Swim!