Today we’d like to introduce you to Philippa Brenninkmeyer.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in California, grew up in Europe, and always knew I wanted to find my way back to the ocean someday. I grew up in a large family with a retail background, so I guess one could say that retail was always in my blood. However, I honestly never really knew what I wanted to do, I just knew I did not want to join the family business, I have always wanted to be independent and run my own company. After high school, I went off to university and got my degree in Mass Communications and quickly realized I still had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life.
I traveled and lived in different places, sometimes working, sometimes trying to find the answers to life. I worked at PR companies, fashion brands and magazines, events and advertising companies, got my masters in education and taught Kindergarten … but nothing stuck. It was really only when I decided to pack up my bags and go on an adventure all on my own too far away Australia, that I discovered where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I traveled around Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji for a few months before deciding to settle down in Byron Bay, Australia, where I lived for seven months.
Finally, life had taken me back to the ocean, the place that calms my mind and makes me feel at home. It was there in Byron Bay, the little eco-hippie surf town that I finally knew what I wanted to do. As the only way to stay in Australia was to work in Australia, I became an AuPair and in my free time hung out with likeminded friends who had the same ambitions to start their own companies. I tried working on a T-shirt brand with a friend, however, life took us on different paths, and that did not work out, but it definitely got the ball rolling for me and the ideas flowing.
So the question was, what did I want to do? Why did I want to do it? And How was I going to achieve it? To answer the first question, I took a peek in my cupboard and realized I literally had more swimwear than anything else and on top of that, I was always out buying new swimwear… logically I then thought, you should be working in the swimwear industry and creating your own bikinis! Cool, so I had that sorted, but now I knew that wasn’t going to be enough for me.
I have always been interested in charity work and doing good/giving back, especially when it comes to animals! I love animals! So I thought about the swimwear and the ocean and all the issues with global warming and how our trash is ending up in our oceans and creating HUGE patches of waste, killing animals. I read that in 2020 there would be more plastic in the ocean than fish and it was then that I knew, INDIGO SWIMWEAR is going to be a brand that does some good in this world and gives back instead of creating more fashion waste. Lastly, how was I going to do that? Research, research, research.
I spent months trying to figure out where to get the best fabrics, how they were eco-friendly and sustainable, what they were made of, where I would manufacture, how my pieces would be manufactured, etc. My main focuses where my swimwear would feel amazing, look amazing, give back to our environment and clean our oceans, and at the same time still be affordable. In the meantime, I had made a move back to California where I officially registered my company. It took a while (seven months to be exact) before I then launched INDIGO SWIMWEAR in September 2018. If you put your mind to it, you can definitely achieve it, and don’t you dare let that little voice that says it’s too hard, too much, doesn’t make sense or any of that get in your way.
Some days are harder than others, but if you push through the tough ones, then you come out stronger and smarter the next day. That is the story of how I started a 100% sustainable swimwear company that contributes to ocean and sea life conservation by using 100% regenerated nylon (nylon made from old fishing nets and other ocean waste). I also make sure that each month a percent of our manufacturing costs go back to beach cleanups in Indonesia and educating the youth about living a more sustainable lifestyle and how regeneration works, through the ROLE Foundation.
I also give back a percent of sales each month to local beach cleanups in California through the Surfrider Foundation. At INDIGO we believe in supporting the oceans in which your swimwear is made to swim!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely has not been a smooth road! The main struggles I had to deal with were 1) figuring out my manufacturing and realizing that island time was really a thing. 2) learning through doing… I did A LOT of things that I really could have spared myself mentally as well as financially … but hey I definitely learned a tone and know better now. 3) starting a business on your own that is online based is no joke!
The start is a whole lot of work as you have to take care of every single aspect of the company from the website to social media to marketing to customer service and shipping etc., etc., etc. and its definitely a tough industry, so patience is key, but at the end of the day I believe it all pays off!
Please tell us about INDIGO SWIMWEAR.
INDIGO SWIMWEAR is a 100% sustainable women’s swimwear company that supports ocean and sea life conservation through donating a percent of sales and manufacturing costs to beach cleanups. What sets us apart is that we use only the best-regenerated nylon fabric made from ECONYL fibers. This literally means that we are taking the trash out of the oceans and creating something brand new with it.
We also only use eco-friendly packaging from drawstring bags to boxes, hangtags, thank you cards, business cards, etc. On top of that, as mentioned above, we give back to beach cleanups in Indonesia as well as in California. We also work with the ROLE Foundation in Bali to educate the youth in Indonesia on what it means to live sustainably and how they can make their own regenerated goods out of old waste.
The other factor that sets us apart is that we put a huge emphasis on the feel of the fabric, the fit, and the style. Just because the product is eco-friendly and sustainable does not mean that it can’t be sexy and feminine. So what am I proud of as a company?
Honestly, I am so proud of all of those factors that make up the INDIGO brand and who we really are, because we are so much more than just another swimwear brand.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start all over again, I honestly would not do anything differently simply because I have learned SO much by doing it the way I did it!
- One piece range between $100 – $150
- Bikini tops range between $60 – $80
- Bikini bottoms range between $40 – $60
- Website: https://indigoswim.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/indigo.swimwear/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swimindigo/