Meet Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie Swimwear. She tells us Andie's mission to ease the bathing suit shopping experience and why her team is happy when she gets a full night's sleep.
How did the idea for Andie come about and how does Andie provide a new and modern swimsuit shopping experience?
The idea for Andie came to life during the summer of 2016. I was at BarkBox preparing for an upcoming work retreat, and struggled to find a swimsuit that I felt great in. I asked my colleagues where they were getting their swimsuits, and everyone complained about their experience. It was then that I had the lightbulb moment and realized the need for a company that offers a solution to the fraught experience of shopping for a swimsuit.
At Andie - we work really hard to provide a personalized, modern swimwear shopping experience. From our customized fit quiz, to our customer service fit experts, we build a relationship with women to serve them along their entire swimwear shopping journey. And given that fit is so important, we offer completely free shipping, returns, and unlimited exchanges so that women can try multiple sizes in the comfort of their own home, and send back anything they don’t love.
How did you get to the first designs that launched the brand and why were those cuts and fabrics integral to who the customer would be?
For the first designs, I put together a mood board of everything that inspires me and that I respond to aesthetically. I knew I wanted our initial silhouettes to be timeless and versatile. I wanted them to be closet staples, just like a little black dress. I didn’t know exactly who our customer would be when we launched, so I really just made suits that I would love and that would be appropriate whether I was going on a work retreat, a trip with my in-laws, or a bachelorette party with my best friends. I figured if I stayed true to myself, there were bound to be other people who would like the styles, too. Two and a half years, 4 countries, 2 continents, and hundreds of thousands of people later, turns out there were indeed other women interested in the same types of swimsuits I wanted.
What did you learn when you launched your company and what have you learned as you have grown Andie to what it is today?
I’ve learned so much since launching Andie. I’ve learned practical things, like efficient strategies for growing awareness about the brand and customer acquisition, to more magical things like how our customer evolves with scale and how to manage a growing team. There have been hard lessons, like hiring the wrong people, to heart-warming lessons about how sensitive and sincere women can be when they’re shopping for a swimsuit.
What new products are you most excited about?
We just launched our newest one-piece style, called the Malibu. It’s a versatile, button-up suit that’s great for sporty activities on the beach. I took our production sample on vacation to Greece in August and snorkled, swam, and went underwater cave diving in it. It was perfect! It’s ultra comfortable and I love how with the buttons you can make it sexy or totally covered up, depending on your preference.
How does sleep play a role in your work life?
When I get it, my employees are happy. When I don’t, they’re less pleased :)
What is the last thing you do before you go to sleep and what is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I try to unwind from work before I go to sleep. I like to play a game of chess with my wife, and then I read a book until I fall asleep. If I check my email, I’ll be awake for hours. On the other hand, I check my email first thing when I wake up. I want to get ahead of anything that might be happening, and get a sense of how hectic my day will be. The state of my inbox in the morning is usually a good barometer of that.
How do you stay powered for your day?
I like to work out in the mornings – my workouts give me fuel for the day. And honestly, I love my team so much, they keep me powered throughout the day. There is no greater feeling than working with people you love and respect.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Not to be too precious about anything. We use a test and learn approach to everything at Andie. If something doesn’t work, we’re not afraid to let go of it –whether it’s a style, an image, or anything.
What is your favorite Brooklinen product?
The Super-Plush Robe!