Swoon Swimwear was inspired by my own experience of falling in love and getting married. I knew I wanted to create a line of quality swimwear that played off of the whimsy and romance of falling in love–of daydreaming about the beach and packing for a passionate getaway. And just like the foundation of a budding relationship, I wanted my line to be built on strong values. I wanted to feel good about every single part of the process, and I wanted the garments to be built to last. I wanted to make something that was beautiful, through and through.
The thing about the fashion industry, though, is that much of what seems beautiful on the outside is rather ugly on the inside. Fast, cheap fashion is detrimental to the American economy, overseas sweatshop workers, and the environment. That’s why I knew from day 1 that Swoon Swimwear had to be a true, ethically-sourced, American-Made brand. I wanted my line to help rebuild the American economy, and I wanted to make a product that was high quality while still being affordable for customers.
As a small business just starting out, it can seem daunting to keep your operation here at home when overseas manufacturing is so much cheaper–manufacturing domestically can cost 35 percent to 50 percent more than producing apparel overseas. In fact, 97% of clothing purchased in America is made overseas, and is then sold at a retail mark up of over 600%. But the cost of overseas manufacturing is much greater than dollars and cents. Sweatshops overseas subject their workers to deplorable, unsafe conditions and pay them next to nothing. Abuse is a daily occurrence, and child labor is the norm. I refused to let my line bring joy to my customers at the expense of human lives.
By keeping the entire operation in the United States, Swoon also proudly contributes to rebuilding the American the manufacturing industry (that has lost more than 6 million jobs in the past decade). Every party involved in making Swoon Swimwear is paid a fair wage, and works in safe conditions. As a small business owner, it is important to me that in building my American Dream, I can help other people build theirs as well.
Quality control was also absolutely crucial for Swoon. For two years I researched American manufactures. A rigorous trial and error process lead me to Swimwear Experts out of Torrance California. Swimwear Experts is an impressive company that has outstanding customer service, a precision pattern & sample making process. In addition, my long research process led me right back to my hometown of Milwaukee. A business course I took serendipitously led me to Terry, the owner of the MKE Fashion Incubator which offers sewing services for area fashion designers and makers. It was through the incubator that I also met my pattern maker, a lovely mother of two toddlers who used to make patterns for Jockey, but can now work from home and spend time with her children. With the help of the MKE Fashion Incubator, and my amazing pattern maker, this summer I am excited to launch my first bikini proudly Made in Milwaukee. You can’t get more local than that!
From the very beginning, I wanted my line to be as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. With the help of an amazing American manufacturer, synergy with the local fashion community, and an unwavering commitment to quality—we have succeeded! We make ethically-sourced, superior quality swimwear that will last. We keep jobs in America, and we sell directly to consumers at an honest, affordable price. Swoon Swimwear is my American Dream realized, and I am proud to know that everyone who wears a Swoon Swimsuit can feel as great about it as I do.