How to Start a Swimwear Line

Posted On May 9, 2022

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So you’ve decided to start your own swimwear brand, but you’re not sure what your first steps should be?

A swimsuit line could be an exciting adventure like other clothing line businesses. It’s a way to show off your creativity in the form of stunning swimwear collections.

However, while this fashion niche is lucrative, it is competitive and requires building brand recognition and putting your best foot forward.

This article covers everything you need to figure out when starting your own swimwear brand. You’ll discover practical tips on sourcing fabrics, finding the best swimwear manufacturers, and creating a successful swimwear brand.

Models preparing for a runway fashion show

Why should you start a swimwear line?


From bikinis to bathing suits to one-pieces, the variety of swimwear in demand from fashionistas and water sports professionals is unlimited. Recent studies show that the swimwear market will reach $28,148 million by 2024, from $18,454 million in 2017.

Launching a swimwear line can be profitable if your design appeals to your target market. This fashion niche is also beginner-friendly and starting costs around $13,700 and an average gross margin of 40%.


5 factors to consider before you contact a manufacturer

So you’ve got some beautiful designs ready to go? You mustn’t leave any stone unturned before releasing your product into the market.

Check out these top things to get in order before jumping into the swimwear industry:

Get your tech packs ready

Thanks to e-commerce and technology, the cost of starting a fashion brand has reduced drastically. As such, having a tech pack to leverage the power of technology is essential for your own label.

Here are some things to include in your tech pack:


  • 3D Printing: You can create actual products from digital designs using 3D printing. This method leads to less textile wastage than traditional design.


  • Novel fabrics and material innovation: Instead of synthetic and biodegradable materials, fashion companies use novelty fabric to produce eco-friendly materials.


  • Fashion applications and mobile commerce: Large and smaller brands take advantage of digital marketplaces like Etsy and social media by putting their products, creating online shops, and building a following.


  • Blockchain: This is another useful tech pack changing how businesses create a database. It makes it easier for all parties to exchange data and documents securely. You can also give all your products a unique ID that makes it easy to track each item using this technology.


  • Design tools: Besides sketching on paper, find a reliable design software that lets you incorporate your logos, fabrics, and artwork into your illustrations.

Research consumer trends

With an estimate of 1.5 trillion in the U.S. in 2020, the fashion industry is a behemoth covering many types of clothes and accessories. Before starting a fashion business, research provides valuable insights to make confident, informed decisions to power your marketing campaigns. You will discover the top players in your niche, competitors, and target market.

Research on the swimwear industry will help you determine critical factors about your target customer, such as shopping triggers, spending forecasts, marketing channels, and product diversity.

Stay up to date with relevant trends

You need to ensure your swimwear line is trend relevant. When creating your sketches, check fashion magazines for inspiration on what consumers buy. This research is crucial because editors usually put articles together based on a specific trend.

If your designs are way off from the current trend, it could reduce your chances of getting featured.

Besides, customers follow fashion news, so your product won’t fit in if your designs don’t align with the current products on the market. Even if you aim to stand out from other new brands on the market, your swimwear label should still be trend-relevant. However, you can put a unique touch that sets your swimwear line apart from others.

Find out your audience

One of the bedrock of success for a clothing label is finding your target audience as a fashion startup.

Audience research helps you analyse the market. Is it large enough to support your fashion business? How many people are in this group? You also need to identify your audience’s needs. What are they looking for in their swimwear? Insights gathered from research lets you make vital business decisions and accelerate your growth.

Even post-launch, target audience research allows you to find more customers efficiently and make them rave about your product. For instance, if you design floral bikinis for ladies, you may pinpoint beachgoers as your customers. This target consumer is the starting point for creating marketing materials and outreach initiatives to drive sales.

But as a fashion startup, you might not have the marketing budget to advertise to all beachgoers across the country. By digging deep into consumer research, you could find that your designs appeal to ladies of a specific age group, who have a particular set of design criteria, love stuff made from recycled materials, or shop in a certain way.

With well-thought-out market research, you will be able to:

  • Develop designs that your audience needs.

  • Set the personality for your brand to grab your audience’s attention.

  • Align your marketing efforts with their needs

  • Know where and how to reach your target market, e.g. where to place your ads.

 Create a market strategy 

The next step is to build a marketing strategy depending on your market size. This process starts with working on the objectives of your e-commerce.

Write your goals and plans down in a document and the steps to follow. By doing this, you can always check the information when needed.  

The next essential factor is to choose the type of e-commerce store you want. There are many options to choose from, including Shopify and WordPress. A web programmer can help you customise your store based on your expectations and objectives as a brand.

Ensure your website is set up and has a presence on social media. Showcase some of your design sketches on social media to generate buzz. But keep the actual designs you will produce for secrecy reasons.

Once your products are ready, you’ll be able to display them on your online store and start selling.

What are the first steps to starting a swimwear brand?

Understand your motivations to help you get grounded in yourself and your idea. Do you want to cater to trends? Have you noticed a gap in the market that you want to fill? Why do you want to create this swimwear line? 

Next, make a business and marketing plan. It’s advisable to be agile and be ready to shift if something isn’t working.

You’ll analyse what the industry looks like, identify where your strengths and opportunities are, and clarify your ideas about how to start building your business. 

  • Have a look at what’s trending and refine your business/designs

  • Figure out your brand identity

  • Carry out fabric and factory research

  • Create production materials

  • Plan your financing for growth

  • Decide your sales channels

  • Create your pricing structure

  • Cover all the legal and accounting stuff 

  • Create marketing materials and a marketing plan

  • Start selling

  • Improve your brand and product

Streamline the manufacturing process

Getting a good and reliable relationship with your manufacturer will make your business run more smoothly. You want your business partners to be responsive, experienced, reliable, and skilled.

Swimwear manufacturing is different from other clothing styles. So, ensure they are experts in swimwear production. 

Choosing the best swimwear fabrics for your label

Next is the fun part–sourcing for fabrics. Swimwear requires specialised fabrics. The rule of thumb is a minimum content of 18-22% elastane or lycra. The remaining part could be either polyester, polyamide, or nylon.

There are various other variations depending on the cost, chlorine resistance level, and shape retention wanted by the manufacturer. Some labels also use sustainable swimsuit materials. 

Look out for these features when shopping fabrics for a swimwear line:

  • 4-Way Stretch: Swimsuits stretch across the body, so you must stretch each fabric as you shop for your collection.

  • Resilience/Recovery: A good quality swimwear should “bounce” back after you stretch it.

  • In-House Fabrics: Some manufacturers will develop custom fabric lines for their clients. For instance, they might have a super stretch material for extra comfort or a special colourfast material.

Product sourcing best practices:


Start with counter sourcing:  Shop your favourite stores and buy the material you like. This approach will help you get the exact material you want and avoid industry jargon and technical details. The major things to check are the quality and the fit. 

Ask the Sales Reps: Store reps can be a valuable source of information. They know what they sell, what gets returned, and why customers are returning a product. Ask them what is selling.

They don’t have to know you’re launching your own swimwear line. Go like an everyday shopper and ask questions about the current products in your niche. You should also study your competitors. Buy their product and check the materials they’re using. 

Test it out: Try out the material to see the quality. Does it peel? Does it lose its stretch quickly? Does it fall apart after a few uses? The best way to determine if a material meets your requirement is to get a small piece of it and try it yourself. 

Contact a fabric mill: Contact a mill to make it for you once you’ve confirmed the material you will be using. Ensure the grade and quality they produce for you is what you requested. 

    Define your niche


    Your research and passion will guide you in choosing the right niche and discovering your target customer. Let’s say you want to specialise in triangle top bikinis for plus-size women with decorative trims or fine art. You might start with research and choose a price point.

    Next, identify your competitors in that niche and study your target customers. Create a bio and your background story. What inspired you to create your collection? Why is your brand unique? What problem does your swimwear solve?

    Clearly defined period and production quantity

    Before committing to any manufacturer, consider their lead times, payment terms, and sample prices. It’s also essential to clarify their minimum order per collection, style, and colour. You also want to know their manufacturing process. This should include sample development and bulk production of approved samples produced in larger numbers.  

    Know your brand’s goals and the questions to ask

    When it comes to swimwear manufacturing, you have to know what you want. Do you want to choose a limited collection or create a mass-produced collection? Know exactly what you’re making and who you’re making it for.

    Make a shortlist of manufacturers based on these factors: 

    • Domestic or international

    One key aspect is whether you want to make your swimsuit line in the Australia or use overseas manufacturers.

    Though swimwear manufactured overseas can help you save costs, the long-distance relationship will require a stricter quality control process. You should also consider the shipping and duty fees you will account for if you go for international manufacturing partners.

    • Minimum order quality

    What is the manufacturer’s MOQ? Does it align with your production goals and budget? Keep expectations and quantities clear. And be prepared for negotiations and budget tweaks.

    • Manufacturer experience and expertise

    The best option is a manufacturer that specialises in swimwear. They should also have the capacity to produce the quantity you want.

    • Fabric handling

    Do things like their needle type, stitch type, machinery type, and thread tension meet your requirements? Do a bit of research or consult experts that may help you identify if the manufacturer is up to your standard.

      How do I sell my swimwear?

      Selling swimwear and scaling your brand requires effort and careful planning. Decide what type of business model for your products – brick and mortal, commerce, or both. If you plan to have a physical store, ensure you find a high-traffic area. You want as much exposure for your own designs as possible.

      Though the rent, utilities, and employees needed to run a physical store will be higher than an online store, you will satisfy customers that like to feel, touch, and see the product before buying.

      If you want to sell your products online, choose the platforms where you will promote your products. Besides your website and social media pages, you can take advantage of eCommerce platforms such as Amazon, Etsy, and more.

      You can also combine an online and physical store after considering the costs.

      How do you get a swimwear manufacturer?

      Successful fashion entrepreneurs have an ace up their sleeve–a list of handpicked clothing design manufacturers. They typically compile this list over years of trial and error, and they guard it jealously from competitors. This is because manufacturers are the cornerstones of getting your swimwear designs from ideation to production and sales. Engaging the services of the right partners from the onset gives you access to expert-level manufacturing, quicker turn-around times, lower capital investment, and, of course, increased profit margins.

      How do find swimwear manufacturers for your swimwear label? The internet is your best bet when looking for bikini manufacturers. Another option is visiting trade shows and fairs where you can meet manufacturers and exchange contacts for further meetings. These events are also great for scouting material suppliers.


      Every famous brand has its own origin story. A clothing line dominating the departmental stores may have started as a small business run out of a fashion enthusiast’s living room. Starting your own brand is an exciting way to showcase your design skills while having fun creating something unique. So get the ball rolling and make your swimwear brand lucrative by leveraging online marketing, eCommerce, and a well-thought-out business strategy.





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