Wow, can you believe it’s April? I can’t. Besides the weather now (semi) cooperating with Spring, it still feels like January to me.
Amazing. And crazy.
On March 30, 2017, Anahata Swimwear was physically introduced via our first PopUp Party. That night felt perfect in every way - from the attendees to the prizes awarded and money raised for our first nonprofit partner, GLOW - I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
I went home that night enraptured, but was quickly overwhelmed with the realization that our journey had just began and it wouldn’t be easy.
Fast forward over a year and wow (again), we’ve gone through so much! To share it all would take a novel, so I’ll spare you. But I felt it was important to share what’s happened and update you on what’s to come.
First, an enormous hug of gratitude to everyone who has supported us. I had no idea that creating this business would be so difficult (yet crazy rewarding), but we wouldn’t be here without all those who’ve liked our Facebook content, bought our suits, invited us to host events, encouraged us or simply put up with us (here’s looking at my sweet man!).
To start this off, I want to share the exciting stuff!
Since September 2017, we’ve been selling to in-house and online clients with great success and learned so much.
1. We refined our first collection swimwear designs to ensure they accommodate a variety of body types and are appealing to multiple age groups.
2. We tested and proved successful our in-house Full Anahata Swimwear Experience that treats our clients to a personalized, luxurious service unknown in the swimwear world.
3. We perfected our ability to ensure perfect fit.
4. We screwed up many times and learned a lot about what we don’t want to do.
But in the end, we saw women have life-changing experiences in our Fit Room, be transformed in our swimwear, and regain their confidence. To sum it up, all the blood, sweat and tears is worth it every time a client tries on her new, handcrafted AS suit.
Clients leave saying,
“I feel more beautiful now than I did when I arrived.”
“Wow, I discovered that my Mombod is hot!”
“Who knew buying a bathing suit could be so much fun.”
“It fits perfectly! You saved me so much time trying to find a bathing suit this year.”
And our stats show that appreciation: 97.3% buy a swimsuit during their first visit, 26.7% bought a second suit and 8.2% bought a third suit, 14.4% buy more than one suit during their first visit - all during the winter months of 2017-2018!
But with all the excitement, there’s been plenty of hard times. We made several team changes and watched a few of our interns graduate to other companies (we miss you!), but are blessed to finally have the team that’s ready for the next level. Anyone who manages will tell you, the hardest part of the job is working with people, but when it goes right - it’s the most rewarding.
Moving forward into 2018, we have several exciting announcements:
1. Anahata Swimwear was accepted into the SOAR program with NCIDEA!! Starting later this month, we’ll be receiving dedicated mentoring to further refine our business and build strategies around business development with the goal of helping us to achieve investment to scale our operations.
2. We are launching a Kickstart in May! Running this business is expensive and while I’ve been footing the bill, my pockets are empty. I’ve searched high and low for solutions, but continually come back to crowdfunding. We need capital to get off the ground otherwise operations will eventually choke us to death. We hope when the time comes that you will support us whether it’s with financial investment, sharing our campaign online or coming to help stuff bags when it’s all over.
3. Our 2nd Collection is coming soon!! In fact, we plan to tease it out leading up to the Kickstarter and allow pre-ordering during the Kickstarter. Trust me when I say, it’s a GORGEOUS collection!! We are addressing many of the concerns and requests from women we’ve met over the past year with the styles, and women are sure to love it.
4. Instead of hosting our originally planned Fashion Show, we’re hosting a Kickstarter PopUp Party to celebrate the end of the campaign that will showcase our 2nd Collection, raise money for GLOW, and be an upscale event you won’t want to miss!
5. If you haven’t seen it, we launched our redesigned website a few weeks ago to provide seamless, cohesive shopping for our online ladies. We’re also developing a test women can take that provides recommendations on which suits are best suited (hah!) for their body types based on information like activity level, suit preferences, and more. We’re finding creative ways to share the in-house magic online.
Well, that about sums it up. If you stayed with me this long - you rock! To keep it brief, I’ll end here, but want to reiterate our longterm goals:
1) To launch AS stores in all major cities.
2) To build a cut & sew factory in Wilmington, NC that trains and provides jobs to impoverished women.
3) To be a forerunner in women’s empowerment, a driving force for self-care, and investing in women in every community where an AS store is opened.
4) To be at the forefront of creating practical and stylish swimwear solutions for women.
5) To be a leader in company culture offering continued education, excellent pay and benefits, flexible schedules, childcare, maternity and paternity leave, and vested ownership in the company.
Thank you for being a part of our journey! God bless.