Necessity is the mother of invention. Tell us about the whitespace that existed in the swimwear industry that led to your launching Onia.
There was a huge gap in the marketplace for men’s and women’s swimwear that married great quality and outstanding fit. We found that everything was either poorly made or too fashion forward. It’s why we are still on the lookout for new fabrics, printing innovations and construction techniques that ensure our brand is pushing limits and consistently evolving.
What’s been the most challenging aspect to starting a fashion brand? What has been the most rewarding?
The biggest challenge we faced was building the right team to manage all aspects of the business, from design and production to sales and marketing. The most rewarding has been seeing our product sell through at some of the most prestigious retailers around the world. It’s great when all of the hard work pays off!
Talk about the importance of fabrics to the Onia brand. How do you choose them and what are the quality standards they must achieve before making it into an Onia collection?
Fabric is foremost to our brand and business. We travel all around the world multiple times a year to attend fabric shows and meet with vendors to curate the materials for our men's and women's collections. We love innovation and developing new techniques that are unique to Onia. Quality standards are also really important — we test our swim fabrics for colorfastness in chlorine and saltwater, the tear strength of our knits and the long-term durability of our yarns. We want to create lasting items that stay pristine for years and take these benchmarks very seriously.
How has traveling impacted your lives, your business strategies and the storytelling that’s so integral to a brand’s presence in the market?
Traveling is a huge part of both of our lives and it directly impacts our brand on a micro and macro level in the market. It’s important for us to see the current trends firsthand, both in retail and real-life environments, and forecast what’s next in terms of color, fabric and silhouette — all to help determine what makes sense for the Onia customer. Ultimately, our beach vacations become working trips whether we realize it or not ... I'm actually answering this question from Miami where I have a notepad next to me filled with product development and business strategy ideas!
If you could spend a solid month traveling, where would it be and why? What are the five essential items you’d bring along for the journey?
It’s a hard question to answer, since a solid month spent traveling seems almost impossible given how busy we are. But, if I had to choose, it would be to travel through Europe with my family. We have never taken our kids overseas and I know they would really enjoy the culture and beautiful beaches there. Five essential items? They’d have to be some of my Onia favorites: a pair of tailored shorts, some linen shirts, a travel bag, a dopp kit and, last but not least, terry shorts for morning workouts.