Founder of Bikini Fling, a bikini company with a mission to encourage bold acts of confidence, and helping girls to find their perfect bikini yet. Producing beautifully cut, mix and match bikinis made in Europe.
Alexia Pinchbeck escaped her desk-bound marketing job to set up a bikini brand, intent on the mission of helping women across the globe find the perfect bikini for their unique shape, helping women to feel confident and happy in their two-piece.
Happy to give branding/production/startup advice to those who are trying to get into the fashion production business.
Running http://bikinifling.com/" rel="nofollow">Bikini Fling, an online bikini boutique. Currently, we're selling our first collection, Romantic Fling, a mix and match capsule collection that's made up of beautifully rich plain colours, and some really pretty, classic vintage prints. Having just worn one of the bikinis recently on holiday, I can personally vouch for the fact that they are really comfortable, and super flattering. The cut on the bum is like no other bikini I've ever worn.
Managing a business means that every day is completely different - working on the production process with my designers/manufacturers/suppliers across Europe, organising photo shoots, editing images/videos, designing marketing newsletters or tweaking our http://bikinifling.com/" rel="nofollow">website, through to the really rewarding part of working with women directly to style up their perfect look. I love processing our orders and sending the packages out. And that's not including accounting, logistics, stock control...the list is neverending!
After graduation I worked for four years in the online marketing teams of two American corporations.
I was frustrated and at the time felt like I wasn't learning anything, although I now realise that every single project/skill that I did learn has got me where I am now.
With my last project, the CEO of the company advised me to "never stop asking questions". I've taken that advice very seriously ever since.
The moment of truth was when my best friend, Lucie (now the inspiration for my triangle bikini), and I were skinny dipping at midnight in Sardinia – we wondered why life back in London wasn’t quite as exciting and adventurous as this, so we decided to set out to make it more interesting… we devised a list of http://bikinifling.com/blog/30-before-30-those-challenges/" rel="nofollow">30 things to do before we were 30 – things which, like skinny dipping, made our tummy flip with nerves at the audacity of it.
We wanted to write about the challenges, but needed a name. Over a large pot of tea we came up with the concept of a ‘bikini fling’ – that moment just before you whip your bikini off for a skinny dip, symbolizing that same moment just before you are about to do something completely outside your comfort zone.
I thought that we should design a bikini as one of the challenges, then got over-excited and suggested to Lucie we make a company of it. Fast-forward a year, I had a business plan and tonnes of research together, I was miserable in my job reporting to a hideous boss, and I decided it was now or never. My 'new boss' (me!) couldn't possibly be as bad as the old. Turns out, sometimes she can be very hard on me indeed...
I talked to some Escape Heroes, quizzed tonnes of entrepreneurs, and did a huge amount of research (market, competitors, how on earth you set about making a bikini) and got my business plan to the point where it was presentable to potential investors.
I ran the idea past a business person I know and respect, and asked them if they thought I was potty. They were hugely enthusiastic. They pointed out a couple of gaps; I went and found out the appropriate information, and then it got to the point where it was now or never - I just needed to take a deep breath and a leap of faith.
Best things: I've learned to really appreciate the small milestones, and to reward myself for them. Receiving my first samples and the first delivery of production was beyond rewarding - the product of a lot of hard work, and a long time in the making. I had a warm glow in my chest for a whole day. I've loved the days when I've pulled together a brilliant team; e.g. photo shoots, catwalk shows, trade shows.
It's still extremely exciting when an order comes through online, and, of course, what makes all of this worthwhile is when I have really happy customers looking amazing in their bikinis. I get to travel vicariously through everyone who sends me through their holiday pictures.
The worst side is that it can be a very lonely and difficult journey as a solo entrepreneur. I've had an amazing team of cheerleaders along the way though, and I really could not have got this far without their encouragement.
'Never stop asking questions'.
'Remain flexible - you never know where this might take you.'
Advice I would give:
Larn to celebrate the small wins.
Surround yourself with positive cheerleaders, and either ignore or get rid of the naysayers (you will deal with your fair share).
Having said all that, the mistakes you make are a crucial part of the process.