Vital Stats: Amahlia Stevens, 34, of Vitamin A Enterprisesin Laguna Beach, California
Company: Chic line of mix-and-match swimwear
2006 projected sales: Almost $2 million
Surfer girl: Stevens has lived near the beach all her life, so sporting a swimsuit was a given. Unfortunately, finding one that fit comfortably was not. She was constantly cutting and adjusting purchased swimsuits. This inspired her to start Vitamin A Enterprises and create her own line of custom swimsuits.
Design time: Stevens draws on her background in graphic design when she selects and customizes the fabrics for her suits from fabric mills or shows. "I look at the offerings and adapt," Stevens says. "I'll come up with new designs, new fabrics, new trends and innovative ways of using materials." She also looks to Brazilian, European and West Coast lifestyles for inspiration. "My bikinis are definitely inspired as much by my travels as by my days on the beach."
Vitamin's a list: Because Stevens doesn't advertise, she considers herself lucky that celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Mischa Barton and Molly Sims wear her designs. Aside from the free advertising, Vitamin A's celeb cred helps create opportunities for editorials and photo shoots with magazines such as Elle and Vogue. "[Vitamin A] is constantly requested by the editors, who are big fans [themselves]," Stevens says.
Fitting room: Since its 1999 launch, Vitamin A has grown nationally--with showrooms in Los Angeles and New York City and a representative in Florida--and Stevens hopes to expand to Australia and Europe soon. Currently, her products are available in approximately 200 boutiques nationwide and include more than 150 styles of mix-and-match separates, such as bikinis, tank tops and skirts. Next year, Stevens will add accessories and resort wear to her collection.
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