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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Hello everyone! I would like to introduce my little passion project I started exactly a month ago — VITAP0PS is my small indie art shop giving you a clean, minimal and vintage ~vibe~ stuff. It will really mean a lot to me if we can connect through my art. Bonus if you're into Hiligaynon slangs. I'll see you there! site: msha.ke/shovitap0ps instagram/pinterest: shopvitap0ps artist: vitap0ps
Hello, I'm Isabel and I'm a foodie from the South. I love trying out new dishes and pastries in the Metro while I ask myself if it's worth the hype. During this pandemic, I've decided to keep my foodie dreams alive by supporting my friends and small food businesses.
Aside from ordering from them, I've also created my own food blog via Instagram to express my thoughts and positive reviews about them to somehow help spread the word of their food and how other people should try it. At the end of the day, we are all helping one another through this difficult time by having multiple coping mechanisms - others to cook or bake while I write a review about what I eat.
Check out my food blog on Instagram @perdiviews and feel free to send me a message so I can collaborate with you soon!
It's not making sense. Maybe, it is. Everything is so blurry and vague. You can't seem to fathom what's happening. You're lost and searching- searching for the meaning behind what ifs and what could have beens. But life, we give meaning to life as if it's a beautiful paradise. Indeed it is.
But why we feel so gloomy, so empty? It seems like no light is passing through our soul. We're wounded. Hoping for healing. That's because, we're living. We celebrate life but we also fight for it. You feel all the pain, because you're living. You're not just alive, you're living. You can make it through all the storm and darkness. Wishing you well, Marj.
I was, but I am not. Desperately, I am trying to reach you – my hope. I am in this particular space in my own constructed world where doubts and frustrations recur. Emphasizing how scared I am being here, I never explored this area before. I was always in those places filled with benevolence, hope shining like the light the sun and the moon possess. And I didn’t have any plans to visit a ‘dark’ place, as how I described it then. But, as funny as how my world suddenly flipped, I am now here, completely lost with monsters persuading me to go insane.
How did I end up here? I can’t logically tell you the answer for that, but I guess, I know when. It started when I had to consider what college course do I want to pursue. Well, if you want to ask what ambition had occurred in my mind when I was young – which is usually the case in terms of life when you were like 7-year-old young - it was definitely being a doctor. I’d thought about wearing a medical coat with a stethoscope around my neck, ready to cure people from their illnesses. It was actually stuck in my mind for so long I almost thought that I was sure of it, yet, as a particular song yields, almost was never really enough and still, it is and will never be.
When I realized that such a perspective was slowly draining me, I tried my best to stand tough. I convinced myself that this was just temporary, that I could think of a way out of this. “There’s still plenty of time,” I once convinced myself. However, my environment demonstrated the contrary: I felt like I was completely out of time.
I was there when my classmates were happily talking about that ‘dream course’ they wish to take in their ‘dream university.’ I was there when my family was suggesting the thought of using my ‘suitable’ speaking voice for broadcasting and voice acting purposes. I was there when my teacher was convincing me that Education suited me the best. That ‘Stand tough!’ aura I used to own back then, suddenly transformed into ‘I give up!’ state, slowly destroying my being. And now, I am here in this space where doubts and frustrations are filling my former enthusiastic self. I need help.
I know, at this point, some of you may never consider me ‘fatal’ because, as you’re reading this, you may judge that I still have the ability to transform my thoughts into words that can be read, so that ‘automatically’ falls into the aspect of complete sanity. No, because I will never tell everything to you in the first place if I still have the urge to stand like I used to, relative to my belief that speaking up through writing is the best way to attract help.
When you look at the photo of mine above, you may say that I was okay. That I was successful. That I was never losing myself. Yes, I was. But, think about what happened days after that was taken and the message of this passage you started reading minutes before, do you think I am still the same girl smiling in the photo? I hope I will be or better yet, improve if the world will permit me. But, now I’m sure – I’m not the same.
LIFE ADVICE YOU NEED TO HEAR WHILE YOURE STILL YOUNG
This blog is dedicated to all teens out there struggling in determining what they really want in their life or if you simply want a glow up. And since were still facing a pandemic, I think this is also a season where everyone is re-thinking about their lives. So, I hope these advices might help you.
Tip #1. TAKE RISK - since most of you are still young, I advice you to take your biggest risk. Whether it may be taking the course you want, a skill you want to acquire or just simply taking the risk to throw away your emotional baggage from your childhood. While you're still young, you have very little to lose. You dont have that much commitments and responsibilities. Because the older you get, the more responsibilities and obligations came. So when they are still not piling up, take the risk! As for me, the biggest risk I took when I was still a teenager is to CUT OFF TOXIC FAMILY TIES.
I may sound rude here but, yeah. I decided to throw away my emotional baggage from my traumatic childhood and cut off some of my family ties and it is completely okay! You dont have to be bothered by whatever they will say. Because at your age, you are already investing on your growth as a person. If you really want to grow, THERE IS NO PERFECT TIME FOR YOU TO TAKE RISK BUT NOW. Because in taking risk you are actually giving yourself a reward of getting something amazing or beyond what you expect you can have. As they say, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Keep in mind that the bigger the risk, the bigger possibility of FAILURE. But that is completely OKAY. Because just like what I said earlier, you are still young. You dont have so much to lose so, dont be afraid to take the risk and then fail. But after failing, learn from it and the more courage you have to take risk the greater the learning, reward or happiness. Ito na nga, how to take risk nga ba? And what are the risk that would actually help me to grow? #
2: VOICE LESSON - dont get me wrong, hindi ito vocalization para sa pagkanta. What I mean is, learn to listen to that VOICE INSIDE YOU. Listen to your heart, to your intuition and to your visions because it will be your GUIDE. Because I realize that as you go along your journey of your life and if you really want to be YOURSELF and be successful in achieving your goals, the only GUIDE that you should follow is your OWN VOICE.
It is okay to take and consider other people's advices but at the end of the day,you should never forget to listen to your own voice. Because that voice is what tells you what you truly want. How would you know that if it is your 'own' voice? Your own voice always comes from your HEART. The voice where YOU and GOD'S voice are one. Because I firmly believe that God knows your heart and that is where he reside. I like journaling because whenever I journal my thought every night and every morning, I feel a dual voice inside my head. Like, it contradicts what the other voice is telling. For example: If we have dreams or goals that puts us so much weight and pressure to the point that it makes you exhausted, STOP. Because it might be a dream or goal of someone else. I believe that your own dreams and goals may be frustrating most of the time, but that frustration has fueling feeling that will always tell you that 'This is the hard way to better so keep going'. Frustration in your own dreams will not make you feel exhausted because achieving a dream itself is a fulfilling feeling.
#3. TAKE ACTION - if you really want something to happen, take action. Dont just sit there and wait things to come your way. Make action or decisions that will take you to where you want to go in your life. Just like what I said in one of my novels that I am writing in wattpad, "There is no such thing as destiny or fate. Because YOU make your OWN life choices." For example, I cannot expect to be a published author if I dont write any novels right? The bottomline here is, if you are not moving forward you are actually moving backward. And it is a sad thing. Life is full of situations where you will be put in the line whether you take courage or just stay where you are. Because GROWING needs consistency in moving forward. So if you dont have to enough courage to take action, your life will always stay the same or worse you will continuously shrink down.
#4. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS - this means stretching your comfort zone. I watched an anime entitled "Black Clover" there is a captain there where he always tell his subordinates to surpass their limits right, here right now. Going out of our comfort zones are surely scary and uncomfortable. But you have to accept the fact that you cannot stay on the coast forever. You have to change, because the only thing that is constant in this world is change right? Go out of your comfort zones because LIMITS are just in the MIND. There are disabled people who are successful in their own careers. Because the lesson here is, if you hold back there will be no growth. Because GROWTH blooms in DISCOMFORT.
Last, #5. INVEST IN YOURSELF - especially now that you are still young, you should focus on investing on yourself more. Time is your bestfriend at this point of your life. You have so much time to discover things about yourself. I never regret buying and reading books that I never knew will help me later on in dealing life's challenges. You can use that time to read books, gain wisdom, or pick a new skill, improve your talent and learn from your experiences. Keep learning outside your home or your school. Because the real battlefield is OUTSIDE. What you learn in school will only help you in your career but your wisdom and experiences will help you in life or as a person. People who doesnt embrace growth will never succeed in their life. (This is a reflection blog from my 21st birthday last week. I hope you can feature this on your page and I hope it can help others as well. )