This Swimsuit Brand Dares to Break Common Fashion Stereotypes
Oftentimes, fashion and fashion stereotypes are pitted against each other as if one is out to get the other—as if there's no middle ground. But Coral Swimwear proves that there is a middle ground and that fashion can also be a tool to break stereotypes that are commonly involved in the industry. Read on as partners Patricia Ocampo and Margaux Alampay share with us their business mission and how they started Coral Swimwear.
How it started. "Several years ago, we became involved in a formation program for teens called Pure Fashion. The program aspires to help young women realize their self-worth by teaching them about authentic femininity through values like confidence, inner beauty, purity, and even modesty! Inspired by Pure Fashion, we wanted to start something that wasn't just a business, but something that would make a positive impact on the lives of women, too. So we started Coral Swimwear, dreaming that it wouldn't just be a swimwear brand, but also a movement to help women become more confident and happy without feeling pressured by trends."
Why Coral Swimwear? "We decided to sell swimsuits because at the time there were few options for one-pieces that were trendy, but also tasteful. We no longer saw ourselves wearing suits that show a lot of skin. Our main goal is always to help girls feel confident and stylish at the beach—no matter what shape or size they are. So we try to design swimsuits that flatter various body types. In fact, our website includes a guide for identifying your body type and recommends which swimsuit style would look best on you."
Being an entrepreneur. "Being an entrepreneur is definitely hard, but it is so worth it! It really pushes you to try new things, be creative, and broaden your skillset (not to mention, mindset!). We started the business with a small investment, so we had to be extremely resourceful. We've also had to make a lot of decisions through trial and error, and had to learn to do/source everything ourselves. All of these things are part of the struggle, but it's also part of the fun. When things get tough, we go back to our mission and message, we are motivated by the fact that our brand isn't just about making money or about promoting ourselves. And that makes it all worthwhile."
Drawing inspiration. "Our inspiration comes from our customers! Our main goal is to help girls of all shapes and sizes feel confident and stylish in their swimwear. We are inspired by trends, but we redesign these trends for "real" girls, considering their needs, and helping them to feel comfortable and secure. We want our customers to feel confident and not self-conscious about whether or not they have the perfect "beach body" to show off. We believe there is also a quiet confidence that lies in accepting one's imperfections and knowing what you are willing to show and hide."
Power duo. "We are very grateful for each other! We'd like to think we complement each other very well, in terms of our skillsets, personalities, strengths and weaknesses. We are so happy that our values are aligned because we are learning that is so important when it comes to making decisions for a business. It also helps that we are going through the same things as young moms, so we are really able to support each other. Our friendship has deepened all thanks to Coral Swimwear."
Little challenges. "There were a lot of challenges that's for sure! The biggest roadblock when we were starting was finding the right suppliers for production and materials. We went through a couple of "horror" suppliers/swimsuit makers, but now we are blessed to have found a production arm that we can trust. For materials, it was a lot of trial and error before we figured out what worked and what didn't. Until now, there is still a lot we are learning. But whenever these obstacles come along, we try to see them as learning experiences, and we try to use them to constantly improve our quality and design processes. Hopefully, our collections will get better every time. On the side of sales and marketing, one of our challenges was really finding our voice and identity as a brand. We were initially hesitant to be bold about our real message because we were afraid we would get haters or alienate potential customers. But amazingly enough, our message resonates with a lot of women, who like us, find empowerment in modesty, and embracing and loving one’s body type."
Staying original. "When we design a swimsuit, we don’t just consider trends or sales. We think about the woman who will wear it--how it will make her feel, what it will make her think, and how others will see her. We only sell one-piece swimsuits because we believe that this design is empowering. It shifts the focus off of body parts that normally attract a lot of attention to what we believe are the more essential aspects of being a woman--her personality, her talents, how she treats others. So when you look at a woman wearing one of our suits, you don’t just think---oh, she’s got great boobs, or a nice butt. We’d like to think you are more likely to get to know her and say, "Hey, she's really smart, and funny, and creative and nice."
What's next? "Our newest collection just came out last March 15, so we're really excited about that! We are also currently expanding our reach to different stores around the country. We started out selling solely online and through occasional bazaars, but now we are also available at Rags 2 Riches in U.P Town Center and Locallective in Eastwood Mall. We are also working on distributing to Nothing But H2O and Rustans very soon! Aside from this, we are also working towards making Coral a social enterprise. We would like to be able to provide employment to women-at-risk, and also be able to give them formation on the same values we try to give our customers."
Entrepreneurial philosophy. "We're fairly new to this, but if there's one thing that has kept us going during the last two years is the mission of the brand.
We think that if you're able to combine passion, purpose, and profit—the work becomes meaningful and worthwhile."
To young budding entrepreneurs.
Margaux: Choose a business partner who has the same values and goals as you. Start small but dream big!
Pat: Thanks to the internet and social media, it has never been easier to start a business. So if you've got a brilliant idea that can combine passion, purpose, and profit, just go for it, and learn along the way. And when it gets difficult, go back to your purpose because, as the saying goes,
"She who has a why can overcome any how."
Know any young entrepreneurs? Leave a comment below and you just might see them on the site next week!
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This is a drawing and a poem I’ve made for a summer love. Our time together was short-lived but the feelings were not.
On a platform we stand
Faces seen all in a blur
Relentless searching led by a spur
To find someone, to feel something
Aren’t we fools to waste away time?
To look for one man’s treasure
Somewhere as ephemeral, as fragile
As a bond built in crime
But aren’t we just like every weary heart?
Hoping for an oasis
In the midst of the desert
Wanting to quench our thirst
Aren’t we all like frosted windows
Of old and battered houses on winter?
Wishing for the sun to give us warmth
To melt the facade so we can show what the inside is made
Aren’t we maven pretenders?
A Casanova? A Temptress? Who made us this way?
A sly fox? A ruthless hunter?
Let down the walls, It’ll be okay
Rushed for a hug, now no hesitating
Engulfed by a sense of bliss or was it longing? Eyes wide-open,
Stepping on a quicksand I embraced the fall into the deep end
Gazed at you lying there unaware With you, found something rare I swear
Realization dawning as loud as a thunder
As the Beating of your heart put me into a deep slumber
Waking up from this reverie
Truth slapped me back to reality
Two worlds so different, now I see If only I could I’d be anything and anyone you need me to be I’m the ludicrous clown, you see
Thought if I ruin it first I’d be free
From the doubts brought by my own insecurity I was so wrong,
What a tragicomedy Brought by the month of April
We rushed the ticking of clock to May Hands interlocked
Weaved skin to skin on a rainy day But when June came to say hello, all went dark grey
What was once there ceases to exist Like the wilting of a flower
Once so beautiful, so full of life Now turned into dust by death’s kiss
Unbounded joy brought by your presence
Paralleled with the perennial ache of your absence Yearned for and offered seventh heaven
Now the heart weeps for evanescence
A mirage, to be the fair maiden The sorrow to find out I’d end up our own villain
But all’s well for you are but a distant dream Gamaliel, You are, I knew it from the very beginning .
Written by me, the one-shot story
Coffee is about a girl who used to cherish moments with someone in a cafe. Sometimes, a simple drink can leave an imprint on someone's mind. ____________________________________________
It's been a year since my boyfriend and I broke up. I love him and he loves me too but things just didn't worked the way it should be. Now I'm heading at the cafe where we started and ended. I have no choice but to go there after all it was made up of both happy and sad memories. But that's life , right? We can't be happy all the time. Challenges come and hearts can break. But it doesn't just end there.
"One signature coffee , please." I said as I ordered from the cashier.
"What size?" she asked.
"Small." I said.
Then she took my payment and I headed towards the seat near the window. A window seat.... for two. The cafe was surprisingly full tonight unlike the past few days.
Again, I have no choice but to sit on that window seat. It is where we sit often. It is our seat. Our place. There are a lot of couples at the cafe and wow I'm alone. There's a part of me which says you should be happy because he's not the only guy in this world. Another part of me says you're still hurt so don't pretend to be happy. The truth is , I am both happy and sad. I'm happy because we're both free and we can focus more in our careers. But I'm sad because I'm not the other half of his heart anymore. I'm sad because I let him go even though I still love him. I'm sad because I can't see him. I'm sad because I can't share this relaxing coffee shop where we can chill with the aromatic smell of the coffee.
"Small signature coffee?" the waitress said as she serves my coffee.
"Yes. Thank you." I said.
"Since you're a regular customer here, we would like to give you this item for free." the waitress said. She handed me a purple journal with the name of the cafe on it and a pen.
"Oh thanks." I said .
"Enjoy your coffee!" she said.
I took advantage of using the freebies from the cafe. A window seat is also a bonus in inspiring me to write something. While sipping my coffee my brain and my heart began to function smoothly.
And so I wrote: My coffee has been cold lately, I can't feel anything after taking a sip and there's no heat to leave a pain on my lips. And it was a relief. But then, I remember one thing about sipping a cold coffee instead of a hot one: cold coffee doesn't leave you any marks when you sipped it, just like a blunt feeling. But a hot coffee will leave you a remarkable pain from the heat which reminds you that you are alive to feel....
I closed the journal and stared at the window. He was the coffee. The hot coffee. No matter how our breakup hurt me, he left me a mark and a lesson to learn. A hot coffee can be a challenge too or an obstacle. They all made you feel that you are alive. That you can go on with your life. You can still stand up. Love taught me to move forward. He taught me to be stronger. He is love.
WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A BROKE FANGIRL/FANBOY
One of the proudest things as a fan is the feeling that you are part of their growing fandom and stardom. From streaming their songs online, watching their music videos, TV guestings, collecting photocards, albums, lightsticks, attending to their concert and fan meetings surely, you're a fan! But there's a problem, MONEY.
It's really heartbreaking when you hear that members of your favorite band are coming and their concert is just around the corner but here you are thinking of how to sell one of your kidneys just to go to their concert (kidding).That no matter how much you try to save, it will never be enough for a ticket because you are only a student who has limited resources or if you're an adult, you have bills to pay. So joining a "team bahay" livestream is your last resort, but sometimes even those links don't work!
Of course if there's team bahay there's also "team airport/ team labas", fans who waits at the airport hoping to see their idols upon their arrival. How we wish we could also attend and be part of it, something like shouting their names, fanchants then cry out of happiness while waving their lightsticks or banners. What a concept isn't?
Hey, cheer up! being broke doesn't make you any less of a fan. Know that there are other ways to support and love them. For sure our idols have the same and equal love to us no matter what "team" we belong (team concert, team airport/labas and team bahay).Maybe for some people, they might think we are being overly dramatic without knowing that for us fans, their existence itself and music saved us and made us happy once in our lives. -Gwy June 16,2020