Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Bell.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I actually started designing and building my brand at the age of sixteen and can honestly say I had absolutely NO idea where to start, I just knew that I wanted to and I was excited to build my company. I researched how to start a swimwear business, watched countless YouTube videos, and worked to save as much money as possible to fund my brand.
When I first began, I was working in retail stores like Victoria’s Secret and Nordstrom to make ends meet. I was also in college getting my Associate’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising, as I had always been book smart as well as street savvy which I didn’t know then but has helped me tremendously in the long run. Having a strong sense of self and never wavering on what I wanted my brand to be, I think, have been crucial to building the budding brand I have now.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Ahhh it definitely has not been a smooth road at all. There have been financial hiccups along the way as my brand has had no investors so everything was initially funded by me and now we also have help from our sales thanks to our incredible customers. In the beginning, I had researched a lot but was still pretty green and was definitely swindled by my first manufacturer, haha, but I quickly learned from my mistakes.
Just this year alone, two weeks before our spring collection was set to launch, my sole seamstress was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. I lost my friend and the closet thing I had to a business partner. She understood my every creation. At the same time, she had all of the swimwear patterns and prototypes I’d paid for. Once she passed, I was no longer able to get in touch with her family to get anything for my line, so we had to put everything on hold.
In a month’s time, I was able to hold interviews and hire a new seamstress and get my collection out within a timely manner. I’ve definitely been through ups and downs, as has the business, but I think we’re both stronger for it.
Arrow + Phoenix Swim – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Arrow + Phoenix is a sustainable swimwear brand as all of our bikinis (and soon to be active wear) are created right here in the United States from recycled water bottles. We pride ourselves on promoting sustainability, diversity, body positivity, and overall conscious wellness.
As a company, I’m most proud of the fact that we stand for something. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to create a swimwear company that not only offers comfortable, sexy bikinis but also one that gives back. What good is a bikini if we have no beach to go due to global warming? Creating a swimwear brand that is morphing into a conscious sustainable lifestyle brand has truly been the biggest blessing of my life.
By using fabric and thread created from recycled water bottles, we are raising awareness through eco-friendly clothing options and reducing our carbon footprint while encouraging others to do the same. Aside from the eco-friendly aspect of our brand, we proudly create swimsuits that cater to women with bra cup sizes A-H which I don’t see many brands doing.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Personally, when it comes to success in try to keep it simple and ask myself a few questions. Am I happy? Does my career fulfill me? Do I have financial stability? If I can answer yes to at least two of those questions, I’m pretty successful.
Growing up, I’ve always been super hard on myself, and as I get older, my definition of success tends to change. As long as I’m happy, a good person, create from the heart and take care of my team, I’m successful. When it comes to the business, I try to have the same approach.
I look at the happiness of my customers and my team and thanks to social media, I’m able to get a lot more feedback from customers and when I get DM’s from customers or emails or get tagged in pictures, that makes this whole journey worthwhile.
- Swimwear prices range from $60-$200
- Skincare prices are $100 and under
- Activewear prices are $100 and under
- Sanctuary prices are $100 and under
- Website: www.arrowandphoenix.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @arrowandphoenixswim
- Facebook: Arrow + Phoenix Swim
Jared Spink, Jenna Kole Visuals, Ivy Coco Maurice