College is an institution where you can broaden your horizons, find your muse and follow your passion with the knowledge needed to do so. Sara Turner, a junior majoring in Literacy, Learning and Leadership Education, discovered her “muse” through her interest in the swimwear industry.
Driven by the movement toward active and healthy lifestyles, many celebrities and influential people have been pushing the idea of being fit over the controversial, societal expectation of being uniformly “skinny.” With this movement, the fashion industry has moved toward creating performance wear as everyday wear.
Recently, more designer-boutique swimsuits have taken over the industry, leaving women on a budget wary of where they are going to find trendy and affordable swimsuits.
This realization, along with many inquiries and compliments regarding her swimsuits on a weekend trip to Mexico, is what sparked Turner’s idea for creating her own brand of swimsuits. By using sales trends detected in the fashion industry, Turner decided to launch her bathing suit brand, Simple Things Swim, last fall.
“Ever since I can remember I have done research on everything I buy," Turner said. "Whether it be going to 15 different stores or online shopping until I can't even think straight, I try to find things for the least expensive price that I can. So when I started looking online for swimwear I realized quickly that there was no such thing as fast, easy and cheap shopping for swimsuits.”
Assuming she probably is not the only college student on a budget, Turner decided to launch her own affordable brand from scratch and have her target customer base be her female colleagues right here at UA.
“I did a lot of research to get where I am today and am happily working with a great international company, where I get to personally pick out the bathing suits I sell based on the amount of likes each post receives on Instagram,” Turner said about where her products come from.
Since the launch, she has progressively gained followers on Instagram and is in the process of creating her own website, which will include simple shipping strategies and other swim-related products.
In the meantime, Turner has been making her profit through her posts on Instagram. She can post a photo of a new bathing suit from her collection, and people can then direct message Simple Things Swim with inquiries. Although she has been making a profit, she said she is expecting a serious increase in sales after the launch of her website.
“Having a business as a student is a lot of work and takes a lot of time, but if it’s something you are passionate about, it is so worth it and a lot of fun,” Turner said.
She said she has been receiving nothing but support from the people around her, especially her sisters in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
Simple Things Swim model Sydney Compton, who is also a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and a junior studying therapeutic communication, said the quality of the swimsuits is high and sizing of the suits may be different for everyone because everyone's body is different.
"For me personally, I tried on multiple suits and the sizing was perfect," Compton said. "The material is excellent and comparable to Victoria’s Secret for sure."
Brooklyn Borkowski, another Simple Things Swim model, Kappa Alpha Theta member and a physiology senior, said the line's designs and prints are more original than that of other brands of swimsuits.
Compton also said it's easy to buy the swimsuits in Turner's line because customers don't have to pay a shipping cost.
"As a college student, I never want to drop $100 for a swimsuit, and so these are extremely affordable and just as cute,” Compton said.
Turner’s long-term goal is to develop Simple Things Swim as an established brand and then start to incorporate some of her own designs that coincide with her clients' preferences and tastes.
“Recently, Simple Things Swim has become extremely popular, and I am beyond excited to see where the company is headed," Turner said. "And who knows? If Simple Things Swim continues in this direction, then the sales possibilities are endless.”
If you want to check out the pieces featured on Simple Things Swim and beat the selling-out-spring-break craze, come join Turner when she hosts a pop-up shop at the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house on March 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome and there will be prizes and complimentary items at the shop. Two piece suits are $32 and one piece suits are $42.
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