This past month, with the help of my team, family, and friends, I launched my firstswimwear collection. Debuting this line has been something I have dreamed about since I was 15 years old and worked so hard for over the last year. It was really important to me that this line be personal. If you have read any of my past posts about the design process, you know that my intention in creating this brand was to create a love letter to the community I have fostered online, and give them something that they could feel seen, celebrated, and special in. With that intention in mind, I knew I had to be involved first-hand in every step of this launch, from coordinating financial and ordering spreadsheets with my mom (who is much better at organization than I am) to fabric shopping in Los Angeles, to choosing shoot locations and mood boarding with my creative team/friends, and every little thing in between.
I think people have a perception of me that because I have a following online, I have inexhaustible resources, and I want to clarify that this is not the case. I self-funded this line. There were no investors or brands behind it, it is mine. That’s a huge part of the reason you see my friends and family modeling, graphic designing, shooting, etc. This labor of love was a group effort and I will forever be so grateful to the people who gathered around me to help me turn my dreams into a reality.
Reality, as it turns out, is a lot more work than the dream version of my line. In reality, I have to finalize designs well in advance in order to get them into production with enough time to order samples and make sure everything is well-fitted – all designs for my first collection were actually finalized in early January! I went through three rounds of sample production before landing on the suits that you saw in the first drop. It was a lot of trial and error, and we ended up not getting the final round of suits until just a few days before the photo shoot for the line, which was just one week behind our launch date. My amazing best friend/model Liz took the train to LA to meet my incredible mom/COO and the suits and fly them with her out to Hawaii where we were shooting. My beautiful older sister Micaela, who was home studying for her University finals, traded in her airline mileage points for a round trip to Hawaii so she could bring the cover-ups (and, as a yoga teacher, help me breathe!), which were a day behind the suits (I don’t feel too bad…Hawaii isn’t a bad place to study for finals lol). My angel photographer/bestie Ivana took all the promo shots (and helped us cast local friends on Oahu) and turned them around in a matter of days. It was a massive group effort and a very, very quick turnaround.
My hope in sharing the reality behind my daydream with you all is two-fold: first, I hope you look at this and realize that your favorite creators and brands struggle, and even though it may all look polished in the end, it’s the result of a lot of late nights, early mornings, and sometimes, close calls, where we get where we’re supposed to but not without breaking a sweat first. Secondly, I hope you let that realization inspire you. YOU are capable of being anything you want to be, you have to be willing to put in the work, ask for help, and accept that sometimes, the process won’t be pretty.
Becoming a CEO, for me, has helped me understand how difficult it really is to launch a product, and has given me compassion for the brands and creators I used to criticize. I am appreciative of all the feedback I’ve received about design, model diversity, sizing and more. I want you all to know that I am taking in every bit of it in, and we are even developing an ambassador program that will allow more people the opportunity to help improve Sienna Swim and ensure that it makes as many people as possible feel seen, celebrated, and special. You can read more about the goals I have for my company and the ways I am working toward them in my latest interview with Authority Mag here.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and my brand won’t be either. Sienna Swim is dedicated to continued growth, expansion, adaptation, learning, and kindness, just like I am in my own life. So here’s to growing and learning together, and looking damn good while doing it in #SiennaSwim. <3