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How to Start a Swimwear Line from Scratch: Best Practices and Lessons

At Swimwear Bali, we’ve collaborated with various designers and brands, helping them to launch or grow their swimwear lines. Our partners vary widely in their market focus and design styles.

From these collaborations, we’ve learned a ton. It’s been fascinating to see how different brands succeed and, sometimes, why they don’t. We’ve witnessed the new trend of swimwear entrepreneurs and independent designers shaking things up. They’re making a name for themselves through sheer creativity and innovation.

Our experience with these designers and decades of manufacturing experience has given us an in-depth perspective on the swimwear industry. Success in this field isn’t just about what you have but how creatively you use your resources. 

We’re passionate about sharing this knowledge, reflecting our commitment to helping up-and-coming and established swimwear brands navigate this vibrant industry.

“Identify Your Why”

So, you’re thinking about jumping into the swimwear world? That’s awesome! Let’s talk about what’s really driving you. Is it because you’ve seen a gap in the swimwear market (3) you’re just itching to fill? Or maybe there’s a trend you’re super excited about. Or it could be a personal dream you’re ready to bring to life.

Understanding the Drive Behind Your Swimwear Line

Your motivation is arguably the most critical aspect.

Whatever it is, nailing down this ‘why’ is super significant. It’s like your swimwear line’s backbone. For instance, you’re passionate about the environment and want to create a line of sustainable swimwear using recycled fabrics such as REPREVE from the US or Carvico & ECONYL from Italy. Or perhaps you’re all about ethical fashion; then Swimwear Bali is the only company in Bali approved by the Bali workforce division, giving them exclusive access to tax-free imports of high-grade overseas fabrics.

Whichever direction you choose, Swimwear Bali can help. 

Getting real with yourself here can make all the difference. So, as you’re dreaming up your swimwear line, ask yourself: Why am I doing this? Is it going to be a hit? Because when you’ve got your ‘why’ sorted, staying motivated becomes easier.

Business and Marketing Plan

In the world of swimwear, successful entrepreneurial designers that we have worked with at Swimwear Bali and global Swimwear brands share a common trait: they’re not just aware of their market position but also adaptable in their approach. Agility is about having a plan A.1 or A.2, and sometimes a Plan B. These aren’t just written documents but represent a mindset of open-mindedness and adaptability.

A dynamic business plan can be incredibly effective, even on just a single page. It’s not the length but the clarity and vision it provides. This plan serves as a roadmap, helping you navigate the swimwear industry, from swimsuit factories to retail shelves. It’s a tool for identifying your strengths and spotting opportunities, especially if you’re venturing into areas like sustainable or carbon-friendly swimwear.

This plan will be a key tool in helping you lay down a solid foundation. It’s about shaping your venture to align with your vision and resonate effectively with your target market, ensuring long-term success and relevance.

Importance of curiosity

The role of curiosity in fashion, particularly in the swimwear market, can’t be overstated. You can immerse yourself in a world of textiles, pattern design, and textile printing to stay ahead. As you explore the evolving landscape of fashion, keeping an eye on trends in textile patterns and slow fashion principles can open up new pathways for your swimwear brand.

Something to consider is the growing world of slow fashion. This will allow sustainable practices in swimwear production. This approach resonates with a growing eco-conscious customer base and allows you to contribute positively to the industry. 

This curiosity means exploring every avenue, not just fabrics and design, but also trending Instagram hashtags and attending trade shows, to analyse sales data and industry figures. It’s about engaging in conversations with store owners, buyers, and directly with consumers in your target market.(5) 

Move at your pace

Starting your swimwear brand doesn’t have a set ‘right time.’ It’s important to understand what steps you can take immediately and which aspects need more time to sort out. It’s crucial to move at a pace that suits you, leveraging your unique strengths and opportunities as guiding stars.

Here’s a streamlined approach to kickstarting your brand:

  1. Defining Your Brand Identity: Define who you are as a brand and what you stand for.
  2. Conducting Market Research: Learn your potential customers and competitors.
  3. Exploring Fabric and Factory Options: Speak with the Swimwear Bali team about the best materials and manufacturing process for your line.
  4. Developing Production Materials: Prepare the necessary documents (images, references etc.) and designs for production.
  5. Planning Your Financial Growth: Map out how you will finance your brand’s growth.
  6. Setting Your Pricing Structure: How will you price your products to cover costs and make a profit.
  7. Establishing Sales Channels: Decide where and how you’ll sell your products.
  8. Covering Legal and Accounting Bases: Make sure all legal and financial aspects are in order.
  9. Creating Marketing Materials and Strategy: Figure out  the tools and plans you need to promote your brand.
  10. Launching Sales: Begin selling your products to the public.
  11. Enhancing Your Brand and Products: Continuously improve your brand and products based on feedback and trends.
  12. Ensuring Smooth Operations: Keep your business running efficiently and effectively.


Throughout this journey,embrace the process and changes that come with growing a brand. This mindset will not only help you in
launching your brand but also in sustaining its momentum.

Design Pathways at Swimwear Bali

At Swimwear Bali, we approach the design process with two distinct methods: Custom Design and Private Label or Ready Made Designs. These options allow you to choose a path that best aligns with your brand vision and resources.

Custom Design Approach

Providing front and back images along with some photos is an excellent approach. These should include colour notes on changes you want and labelling details for each design element. At Swimwear Bali, we’re open to various levels of detail in the submissions we receive. While we accept simpler sketches and tech packs, photo references significantly streamline the process. It ensures clarity and alignment among all parties involved, making the production process more efficient and effective.

Ready-Design Option

You can access a pre-designed swimwear collection with the Ready Design option at Swimwear Bali. This choice allows you to personalise these designs by adding your own label. The advantage here is that you bypass the long design and sample development phase. You can select from a range of materials (8) and colours and add your logo to the hardware according to your preference. This is with as much or as little customisation as you desire. This path is ideal for those looking to streamline their production process while offering a product exclusive to their brand.

Building a Strong Manufacturing Partnership

When building your swimwear line, developing a solid relationship with your manufacturer is key, and at Swimwear Bali, we consider this our speciality. While design and operations are crucial, a reliable manufacturing partnership can significantly ease the process. Expect some back-and-forth communication, so it’s vital to work with a team that is not only responsive but also experienced, skilled, and dependable.

Here are some essential questions to consider when establishing this relationship:

  1. Specialization in Swimwear: Inquire if the manufacturer has specific experience in swimwear production, as it differs significantly from other types of garment manufacturing.
  2. Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs)(9): Understand their policies regarding minimum orders, whether per collection, style, or colour.
  3. Lead Times: Clarify the expected timeframes for sample development, bulk production, and the overall process.
  4. Costing Details: Ask for a breakdown of costs, including per-piece pricing and development fees.
  5. Payment Terms: Discuss payment structures, including deposit percentages and accepted payment methods.
  6. Service Scope: Determine what services are included, such as sample development, choice of fabrics, prints, and accessory options.
  7. Eco-Friendly and Ethical Practices: Inquire about the types of fabrics used, work conditions, and the manufacturer’s commitment to ecological and ethical practices in production.


By asking these questions, you can gauge whether a manufacturer aligns with your business needs and values, making for a smooth collaboration for your swimwear line.

The Manufacturing Process at Swimwear Bali

Transitioning from a design concept to a physical product is pivotal. Post-approval, the shift to mass production should be managed with clear communication and understanding with your manufacturer.

Sample development

The journey of your swimwear line begins with making samples. This is a critical stage where the focus is on the garment fit. It’s good practice to employ a fit model that aligns with your target demographic to ensure the fit is spot on. During this phase, you’ll assess, try on, and provide feedback on the samples, pointing out any needed adjustments or improvements. Once the fit and details meet your standards, your manufacturer, like Swimwear Bali, can scale the design to different sizes. Manufacturers offer Pre-Production Samples (PPS), showcasing your designs in various colours and prints. These samples, including online promotions, photo shoots, lookbooks, and trade shows, are vital for your marketing efforts.

Bulk production

The final stage is bulk production (11), where your finalised samples are reproduced in larger quantities. Before ordering bulk orders, ensure every design detail is clear and agreed upon with your manufacturer, particularly the sizing specifications. It’s advisable to have a complete set of swimwear in all desired sizes before ordering in bulk.

At Swimwear Bali, after completing your bulk order, we conduct an independent quality check and handle the delivery of your products to you globally. Each manufacturer might have a different approach to this stage.

These steps are fundamental to building a successful swimwear line. We wish you the utmost success in establishing and growing your swimwear brand.

 

Warm regards.

The Swimwear Bali Team

For a solid start to your swimwear line, consider exploring our Starter Kit at Swimwear Bali.

Ready to Jump into the Swimwear Business? 

We’re here to help every step of the way. Just a click, call, or email is all it takes to start transforming your swimwear dreams into reality. Get in touch with us, and let’s bring your vision to life!

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