Owner & Designer | May 2014 - July 2018
I started this swimsuit brand because I couldn't find affordable or flattering swimsuits. I designed and sewed each pieces and sold it on Instagram via direct message, and then later created a website. My custom swimsuits were inspired by Hawaii's vibrant scenery and my Japanese heritage, and I wanted every person who wore Miya Swim to feel bold and beautiful.
- Sewed 1,000+ swimsuits
- 500+ online orders
- Grew Instagram to 5,000 followers
- Participated at pop-up shops
- Create affordable, flattering, and customizable swimsuits for all
- Use high quality materials
- Range of sizes from extra small to extra large
This was a "me problem." As an 8th grader in Hawaii, I couldn't afford to purchase the $100 designer swimsuits that all of my friends would wear to the beach. I didn't have a job and there was no way that my parents would buy it for me... but I also didn't want to feel left out, so I used my summer school sewing skills and taught myself how to sew swimsuits.
I designed each piece based on bikinis from brands that I wanted, like Acacia Swimwear and Frankies Bikinis. I wanted each piece to be reversible and seamless, so this gave me the opportunity to explore with multiple colors and prints in one piece. I handmade each piece and gave them for free to my friends to sample.
My first collection (2015)
I first sold on Instagram only because I didn't know how to create a website. I received hundreds of direct messages and organized each order in my notes. I then made a website on Big Cartel. (My company was previously named "Mitsuki Swimwear" which means "beautiful moon" in Japanese).
My first attempt at a website...
I chose styles based on the feedback I received from models and friends. I learned to balance the time spent to fulfill orders with the cost of materials. Demand was high and I was managing my business myself (while doing high school), so orders would take me up to three weeks before I shipped. I found that it was important to keep designs minimal and simple for me to make, as well as keeping the price competitive.
My takeaway is to take advantage of social media. I spent $0 on marketing — my marketing was done through trades with influencers, models, and photographers. I would send creators bikinis in return for photos and promos. I also learned the importance of a functioning website. I had zero experience building a website, so my design was simple... but very effective. Lastly, shipping is expensive and there are tools to help you. There are small costs, like shipping materials, that add up and eat into your revenue, so it's important to set yourself up before you get overwhelmed with orders.