How Avery Swimwear Was Started
Two years ago, Avery was a just far-off dream with no name to it. It wasn't until the pandemic hit that I got to work in bringing this brand to life. Born during a time where we were able to slow down and do what makes us happiest, Avery is the swimwear brand that's here to help petite women feel good while being size-inclusive.
Hey everyone, I'm Michelle and I'm the founder and creator of Avery. It has been a decades-long dream of mine to start my own brand after graduating from design school. I'd always wanted to start a swimwear line to help smaller women like myself feel confident in their own skin. The decision to start was not an easy one but in the end, I'm so glad I did because now I get to see my designs come to life! Read on to find out how.
Creating a Mood Board
When deciding on a mood board, the first thing I did was put together images that brought me a sense of happiness. I've always been drawn to things that had strong feelings of nostalgia tied to them. Amongst them are summertime sunsets, New York City and pastel shades.
The result was a dreamy colour palette made to remind you of summers in the city with a touch of whimsy to it. It would be the perfect mix of feminine and edgy. Building from this mood board, I had my starting point on how to bring this dream of mine and turn it into a reality.
The Sketching Begins
After deciding on a theme, came months of sketching. Summer of 2020 will always hold a special place in my heart because I spent most of it outdoors in the park just sketching for hours. I eventually did over 50 sketches until I had a clearer idea of what I wanted this collection to look like.
I wanted to focus on classic cuts with a two-tonal colour palette with pastel shades. It would be minimalistic with an added edge to it. Pictured above is one of the earlier sketches I did on a park bench that ended up becoming the Liv Bikini! The main focus was to produce a soft and feminine collection that would also empower.
Choosing a Manufacturer
I'd started designing this collection with the intention to help empower smaller-chested women like myself, who may not have confidence while wearing a bikini. When I finalized the design process, I started looking at manufacturers that I felt could help bring my vision to life. I found two I really liked in Bali, Indonesia that had eco-friendly options as well.
I ended up going with the one that I felt aligned with my vision, aesthetically and ethically. I loved how there was vegan leather offered in their fabric options - a material I never ended considered when first designing. They were also dedicated to cleaning up the oceans with their sustainable fabrics made from 100% recycled waste.
Custom or Ready Design
When designing this collection, I had planned to do all custom design. However, when looking for manufacturers, I discovered the option to do ready design. Instead of spending all my time and energy into perfecting all custom designs, I ended up only having to choose the fabrics and colours. This made the whole process a lot easier while allowing me to spend more time on the business side.
Pictured above is one of five ready designs that became the Aria Bikini Top! I decided to tweak this design a bit by lowering the back panel. It was a simple modification but there was a lot of miscommunication along the way that it took a few revisions to get right. When doing custom design, constant communication with your manufacturer is key!
From Sampling to Final Production
After going through a long process of sampling and waiting to receive my final bulk order, everything took about seven months after choosing a manufacturer. I plan on doing custom designs eventually but for now, I am more than happy with the designs I went with and how they turned out.
Pictured above is the branded cotton mesh bag that I use to package all orders in. I decided to name the line Avery - meaning the ruler of elves, known to be magical and beautiful creatures. I've always loved the name and the meaning fit perfectly with the brand. The result was a collection that's light and airy, with a feeling of nostalgia in a pretty pastel colour-palette.
Seeing Your Designs Come to Life
When I finally received my samples, I felt a mix of emotions but mainly excitement to see my designs come to life. The quality exceeded my expectations and it was amazing to see the unique fabrics and colours up close. I went with a mix of shiny and matte finishes to give the collection that fairy-like feel.
Pictured above is the Mai Bikini that's been the best seller of the Memories Collection. It's made in a shimmery mauve with the option to be reversed for its matching matte colour. Aside from using sustainable materials made from recycled materials, I wanted to give women something different. The feminine pastel colour palette mixed with the vegan leather accents makes this collection truly one-of-a-kind.
For many years I had this idea in my head to start my own fashion brand but I never knew how to start. After going through this process, I'll say it doesn't matter if you don't know how. Taken from a very motivating podcast I listened to during the pandemic: as long as you do one small thing a day that gets you closer to your end-goal, eventually you'll get there.
Pictured above, that's me modelling the Aria Bikini in my very first photoshoot for Avery. It was completely unplanned that I'd model on this day but it ended up being so much fun promoting my own brand! It's crazy how much can change in a year and how much it can change you. Check out my new sustainable swimwear brand that was born out of the summer of 2020 - the year where we finally went after our dreams.
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The Liv Bikini - made with eco-friendly fabrics
The Mai Bikini - made to be reversible