How One Swimsuit Designer Hopes to Fix Fit

How One Swimsuit Designer Hopes to Fix Fit
Image credit: Chris DeLorenzo
This story appears in the June 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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While lounging poolside at a bachelorette party in 2014, Jude Al-Khalil and her friends got to talking about swimwear -- but instead of reveling in the purchases they liked, they couldn’t stop talking about how awful the shopping experience is. “If you look at the most challenging and intimidating categories to shop for, it’s lingerie, jeans and swimwear,” Al-Khalil says. So she created Bikyni, an online brand and retailer that takes the pain out of shopping for bathing suits. Tagline: “You don’t need a better body, you need a better Bikyni.”

Bikyni’s designs cost $100 or less and are made from high-quality Italian fabric in a Los Angeles factory. But their true selling point is fit, rather than style. The company offers just seven tops, six bottoms and two one-pieces -- and that's as big as the collection will get, Al-Khalil says. “We don’t want to hit you with a ton of options.” 

Every element of those options is explained in a fit guide that hits the details most women fret about but most mass retailers ignore. Want padding? No padding? Extra support? Adjustable straps? A low-rise bottom with minimal coverage, or full coverage with a high rise? “We surveyed close to 5,000 women before we started designing the fit guide,” she says. “Every year you read articles about, ‘What fruit shape are you?’ But that’s not helpful to women.” 

Bikyni's appeal has proven to be universal. For young women with a limited budget, a $95 quality suit feels like an affordable splurge. For women in their 40s, a $95 quality suit is an irresistible steal. “We’ve been able to capture a really broad part of the market,” Al-Khalil says. “This is about understanding what women need.” 

Check out more companies on the 2016 Brilliant 100 list

Edition: October 2016

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