Everything in life has gotten expensive, and that includes swimwear. After recently being introduced to the female run start-up, Summersalt, a new direct-to-consumer shopping experience targeting millennial women that delivers luxury swimwear in classic one and two-piece designs to your door that are eco-friendly and $95 or below—my intrigue was piqued. What price savvy consumer doesn’t want the biggest bang for their buck?
Launched this past May, Summersalt is the brainchild of veteran swimwear designer Lori Coulter, who is Founder and CEO and her partner, seasoned brand strategist Reshma Chamberlin, who is Co-Founder and Digital Officer. The pair has made it their mission to create a different kind of swimsuit brand. Coulter tells me, “I had been designing swimwear mainly for private labels for the last ten years and I have had a front row view of the disruption happening in retail. Reshma and I met for lunch to discuss the topic and we saw the opportunity to build a brand for women like us, explorers and adventurers who lives life beyond the lounge chair”.
Chamberlin, who brings over ten years of brand building and creating user experiences with direct-to-consumer brands like Rockets of Awesome and M. Gemi continues, “Lori and I have known each other professionally for over five years. I had run a digital strategy agency for many years but had been thinking about working for one brand rather then working on a variety of accounts. Lori and I met up in NYC where she had her line sheet and I loved the aesthetic. Right on the spot I asked Lori what she thought about me coming on board as a co-founder. Lori has a strong business mind with a creative bend and I have a strong creative mind with a business bend. We are a stronger team together”.
Since that fateful lunch last January the dynamic duo haven’t stopped. In roughly a six-month period Coulter and Chamberlin have impressively gone from concept to raising 1.2 million dollars in initial funding to launch, while tapping into a wildly underserved market. Says Coulter, “The consumer response has far exceeded our expectations. We have even shipped to Alaska and Hawaii. We are very excited about bringing Summersalt to consumers and our goal going forward is to establish Summersalt as the go-to brand for Millennial women.”
Summersalt has clearly hit a sweet spot in the marketplace (and for all ages) with its high designs and accessible price point. Coulter continues, “For us it is about providing the best quality suits at the best price. We cut out the middle man to pass the savings onto our customers”. Chamberlin adds, “ We did our best to deliver our suits under $100. Every detail of our swimwear is similar to the $300 designer swimsuits and we can offer this type of quality because of Lori’s ten years of R&D experience”.
Coulter is one of few designers in the world to successfully integrate 3D body scanning and computer-aided design to create a fully digital and automated supply chain. She developed Summersalt’s patented TrueMeasure process to simplify size and fit issues by employing millions of data points. “Working in fashion and tech all of these years we amassed 1.5 million measurements that we can use to optimize our market”, Coulter explains.
Summersalt is also shaking things up when it comes to releasing new designs. Says Chamberlin, “We launched May 23rd so we are still in our launch phase. But with our quick turnaround supply chain we can be in production within ten days with our 10,000 plus patterns from our in-house library. Once we get out of launch mode and are operating at full speed we should be releasing new product on a weekly basis”.
On the company’s attitude towards sustainability Chamberlin tells me, “Our fabrics are 5x stronger then the average suit made from recycled textiles sourced from cutting edge mills around the world that have the same philosophy. We also do not ship our products in a box rather we send our swimwear in a bag that can be re-used and is made from 100% recycled materials. We are not perfect by any means when it comes to sustainability, but we strive to improve our practices every day”.
Since the Summersalt retail experience lives online, creating a compelling user experience was also a priority for the start-up. “We want open communication with our clients and wanted to create a digital and customer experience that was in line with our brand. We wanted to move away from the highly sexualized swimwear imagery used by most legacy swimwear brands in the marketplace. We are excited to have created an inspirational and aspirational community of women participating in life while in their Summersalt suits and being sexy on their terms”, states Chamberlin.
When asked what the ladies are most proud of since the launch Coulter tells me, “For me as an entrepreneur and designer it is the thrill of creating something from nothing. But what I am most proud of is the diverse community of amazing women that Summersalt has created. In the end, Summersalt has one goal, to inspire women to adventure and travel so they can ‘jump in’ wherever life may lead”.
By Meggen Taylor| Forbes