"The initial idea for Andie came one summer when I was at Bark, and I went on a work retreat to a lake with colleagues. I really struggled to find a swimsuit for that trip. I just couldn’t find anything that felt minimal and timeless at an accessible price point. I spoke with many of my female colleagues on that trip who shared my frustration with swimwear shopping..."
Swimwear shopping is a lot like shopping for jeans – fun in theory, but in reality? Not so much. It’s a sentiment Melanie Travis knew too well given her own experiences struggling to find a swimsuit in the traditional sense, so she decided to do something about it. Andie Swim is the foolproof way to buy chic and simple swimwear minus the shopping issues women usually face come summer every season. You simply choose your preferred style of swimsuit from a sleek and tightly edited selection of one-pieces and bikinis online, try them on at home, and send back whatever doesn’t work – no questions asked, with free returns. You can also mix and match top and bottom sizes to truly personalise your experience and accommodate for all body shapes and sizes. Sound too good to be true? It’s really not. “Every woman is different of course and wants different things from her swimwear, but I believe a minimal, timeless design (no frilly patterns or awkward cut-outs!) in select beautiful colours make the best one-pieces. Also, the fabric and construction have to be top quality. We use a high-end blend of nylon and spandex that’s extra breathable so women can stay in their suit all day. The fabric is quick drying and UPF50, too,” says Melanie. And the best bit? All pieces are under $140, so you’re getting a high-quality swimsuit for a fraction of the price of designer styles. We caught up with Melanie and quizzed her on the business of swimwear, her career path and how Demi Moore fits into the picture… Go to www.andieswim.com
What did you do before Andie Swim and how did it lead to where you are today?
I began my career at Foursquare, then I joined the marketing team at Kickstarter, and eventually moved to BarkBox. So, I’ve worked my entire career in consumer-facing internet companies, always on the marketing team where my roles involved creating and nurturing communities around a disruptive new product. Building a career around creating communities passionate about a product has been enormously helpful as I grow Andie.
The initial idea for Andie came one summer when I was at Bark, and I went on a work retreat to a lake with colleagues. I really struggled to find a swimsuit for that trip. I just couldn’t find anything that felt minimal and timeless at an accessible price point. I spoke with many of my female colleagues on that trip who shared my frustration with swimwear shopping.
I began to speak with more and more women about their experiences swimwear shopping, and eventually realized I was hearing a chorus of voices all saying that the swimwear shopping experience is broken.
So, I decided to do something about it! That’s how Andie was born. We’re an e-commerce swimwear brand offering a curated selection
What about the logistics of starting a swimwear label - how did the concept go from design stage to samples and production?
I had a friend who was a swimwear designer, so when I first began kicking around the idea for Andie, I teamed up with her to develop sketches for our first collection. I knew I wanted Andie to be a one-piece brand that offered timeless, minimal styles, so we worked together on a few concepts for the first collection.
Once we had some early sketches, I ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise money in order to actually manufacture a first run of swimsuits. I also used the crowdfunding campaign as a way to collect feedback on the sketches. Over 300 women pre-ordered a swimsuit from the campaign, and everyone who pre-ordered was able to vote on their favourite sketches and give us overall feedback on the direction of the collection.
With the money and feedback from the crowdfunding campaign, we began refining the collection and making samples of the first suits. We narrowed it down to 5 sample silhouettes and then we surveyed our pre-order customers again, eventually narrowing the collection down to just 3 one-pieces. I was living in Los Angeles at the time, and I went door to door in the garment district there looking for a boutique manufacturer I could work with to bring the 3 sample suits to life. After many more months of sampling and refining the suits, we eventually put in an order for 400 units and launched them on our website in April 2017. The units sold faster than we could have imagined, and the rest of the year was just a constant race to keep up with demand!