Swimsuit startups are making waves in a global market estimated to reach $28 billion by 2024, according to Allied Market Research.
Andie Swim, a digitally native swimwear brand, has announced a $6.5 million Series A financing round from investors CityRock Venture Partners, Trail Mix Ventures and others, bringing the company’s total funding to more than $9 million.
The three-year-old direct-to-consumer swimwear company has experienced 6X year-over-year growth since inception and its most popular pieces have sold out 10 times over, leading the Interactive Advertising Bureau to name it as one of the top 250 direct brands to watch.
Andie will use the funding to add to its all-female team, expand internationally and create inclusive new product lines and collaborations that appeal to a diverse range of women of all body types. While the startup only offered a range of swimsuits in sizes S-XL more than a year ago, Andie has since extended its size range to XS-3XL.
“In three short years we’ve turned swimwear shopping on its head. Our mission is to offer women swimwear that inspires confidence and builds community,” Melanie Travis, CEO of Andie Swim, said in a statement. “We’ve ensured our swimsuits fit women of every size, and have been called the ‘Little Black Dress of swimwear’ by Glamour because our swimwear evokes timeless quality, affordable luxury and flattering silhouettes.”
With a recent report from Coresight Research indicating shows that plus-size apparel currently makes up more than one-fifth (20.7 percent) of the entire women’s clothing market and more fashion brands jumping into the mix, it follows that swimwear companies would do the same. Plus, 25 percent of the swimwear market in the U.S. is online, where virtually all of the growth in retail is happening right now as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This summer, Andie added an eco-friendly line with fabrics made from 87 percent recycled post-consumer plastic blended with 13 percent spandex for stretch. It also rolled out a limited collection of kids and maternity styles. Oliver Libby, partner at CityRock Ventures, noted in a statement that it is “telling” that the brand’s sustainable swimsuit is also its runaway best seller.
Both limited collections have done well this year, according to Travis, leaving her to consider the company’s first print collection and additional categories geared toward women of all sizes.
Andie says its online fitting room and digital fit quiz result in customer orders of three to six suits per year, and it leverages these data-driven services to take the pain out of buying a swimsuit online.
The fit quiz asks the shopper a series of questions, first about body-related questions, next about swimsuit-specific preferences, and finally about some general swimsuit-related questions. Once the results are sent through its algorithm, the fit quiz suggests a style and a color that matches her answers and a size (or a couple of sizes if she is between sizes)—and automatically adds the suits to her shopping bag.
Travis says a shopper is three times more likely to purchase from Andie Swim if she takes the quiz versus someone who does not. Additionally, shoppers that take the quiz have a higher average order value if the shopper they are between sizes and need to try on a couple of different suits.
Meanwhile, the Andie Swim statement cited that industry analyst firms estimate that 25 percent of the swimwear market in the U.S. is online.
Toluca Swim debuts to take fear out of swimwear shopping
As Andie continues to capitalize on the online market for purchasing swimwear, another brand is making its launch with a similar size-inclusive vision. Toluca Swim is making its debut collection available exclusively on tolucaswim.com starting on Friday at 2 p.m ET.
Created by the co-founders of athleisure wear brand Balance Athletica Chloe Chamberlain, Taylor Dilk and Steve Dilk in partnership with health and fitness mogul and entrepreneur, Whitney Simmons, Toluca says aims to empower all women to “love the skin they’re in.”
“Toluca is all about womxn embracing who they are. We believe in more than just tolerance and acceptance, Toluca is all about celebration,” Taylor Dilk said in a statement. “We want to take the fear out of shopping for swimwear by building a brand and community that’s comfortable for everybody. Toluca is going to change the way people feel, inside and out. We hope to make womxn feel confident, beautiful, and empowered.”
Suits sold on the site will be available in sizes XS-3XL, with the debut collection including 46 pieces. Key features in all suits include “No-Dig” fold-over seams, which are designed to keep suits in place without the discomfort of digging in, as well as Toluca’s signature soft fabric that’s engineered for longevity with all-way stretch and comfort. The suits include four different bottom coverage options and mix-and-match silhouettes to customize the shopper’s preferred look.
Pieces will retail individually from from $12-$115.
The debut campaign for Toluca was shot in Malibu, Calif., by photographer Sasha Samsonova, who is the current personal photographer to Kylie Jenner. In addition to featuring co-founders Chamberlain, Taylor Dilk and Simmons, the campaign features models of all types to represent the Toluca’s size-inclusive ambition.
For their debut launch, Toluca will be donating $20,000 to Feeding America, equivalent to 200,000 meals.