She's the woman behind the most coveted maillots of the season. We meet MARYSIA REEVES, the design star making a splash in the swimwear scene...
“Only work with nice people,” is Marysia Reeves’s answer when I ask her about the best business advice she’s ever been given. She’s the inspiring woman behind Marysia, the LA-based resortwear brand that has taken a seemingly simple idea – scallop-hemmed maillots and bikinis – and made them so covetable that everyone from Behati Prinsloo to Anja Rubik to Lupita Nyong’o wants to wear them on and off the beach. It could be the flattering fit – everything including the brand’s signature scalloped edging is cut by hand and there’s no stitching or elastic at the edge, which means the fabric doesn’t pinch the body – or it could be the effortless elegance of her designs, but everyone’s into Marysia.
The blonde designer grew up in Poland a passionate ballerina. When she was 10 years old, her parents sent her to a prestigious ballet academy for four years. When she was 14, she moved with her family to the small town of Seaford in Delaware, where she spent her days in the sun surfing and patrolling the beach as a lifeguard. It was here that her love of swimwear really developed.
The more you learn about Reeves, you realise that her whole life story is really based on swimwear. She met her husband Nathaniel at a surf shop in Dewey Beach when she was just 17. “I walked into a local surf shop when I was a lifeguard over the summer. My now husband Nathaniel worked there. When he saw me he insisted I needed a lesson to better understand which surfboard was right for me,” she recalls, laughing. The couple relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 2014, and have two children together – Elle, 10, and Antonia, 4.
On the topic of motherhood, she says: “Ask for help, especially when they are little and you need some sleep.” And Reeves is open about the challenges she’s experienced over the last decade. In fact, she’s never forgotten the time when they were in Costa Rica and her youngest daughter was so ill that they spent four long nights in hospital. “I didn’t recover from that experience for a year or so.”
She’s also very close to her family (her parents live in the US). “My mom taught me how to be strong and to speak my mind,” she says. She also taught her daughter determination: Marysia began more than 10 years ago. Reeves studied at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in LA and then landed an internship with fashion label Milly in New York.
She then fell pregnant and started working on the brand concept. She officially launched Marysia back in 2009 when her daughter was just six month’s old. “It was overwhelming but also very exciting. I had incredible drive because I wanted to be someone for my baby and that really drove me to do all I could to be a success,” Reeves recalls. When the couple moved to LA in 2014 “sales started going crazy on the website” and they turned their extra bedroom into an office. When that got too small, they moved out of the home office into a bigger office and two years ago, they hired their first employee.
You only need to scroll through Instagram to see that the brand is growing at a rapid rate– they now have almost 235K followers. “[Instagram] has been the biggest marketing tool for us and I love it. It allows us to connect with our customers across the globe,” says Reeves. And it’s not just chic bloggers or celebrities you’ll spot wearing Marysia on Instagram – the world’s coolest tots are also clad in the brand.
Since its launch, the brand has offered childrenswear with the Bumby range. Mini versions of their signature style – scalloped-edged maillots, bikinis and rash guards – make for some adorable mummy-and-me moments. “Bumby was always a part of my line as my daughter needed to have something Marysia too.” And then came resortwear. “It was a natural progression to do cover-ups and other resort pieces our customer can wear on vacation. I want us to grow into a lifestyle brand that has everything for our customer… from a bikini to a beach umbrella.”
Having grown up a self-confessed “water baby”, health and wellbeing are important to Reeves. “My philosophy is to be really good during the week and let go a little on the weekend,” she says. “We are lucky to live in LA where it’s pretty easy to get good quality ingredients and even in restaurants I feel like I’m eating really healthily. I enjoy my drinks and sweets on the weekends and don’t feel too bad about it since all week long I’m drinking a lot of green juice and eating lots of salads and soups.” They do Pilates in the office and she tries to fit in yoga classes twice a week.
When we later speak, Reeves is back in LA and it’s a Saturday. She’s in the office working. “I never have enough time. Between kids, home, husband and employees who always need me, it can be challenging to get my own work in sometimes. I really love being in the office by myself. It feels like I can think clearly and catch up. I try not to do it too often because having work/life balance is very important.” Just like her scallop-hemmed swimwear, she couldn’t be more spot on.