Instagram is flooded with emerging swimwear labels, whereby only very few of them manage to create a unique brand and separate themselves from the masses – Sommer Swim is one of the successful ones.
Founded in by German ex-model Anna-Maria Sommer, Sommer Swim’s minimalistic, luxe pieces have been spotted on several celebrities, including Victoria’s secret models and have been featured in Vogue Germany and other nameworthy magazines.
I have interviewed Anna to find out about the hype behind her brand and how she made it happen.
When and why did you decide to start your own swimwear brand Sommer Swim (here)?
I didn’t immediately set out to start a swimwear label, I guess it more just progressed to that. I was playing around with designing some suits but in the first year it was more of a hobby and I didn’t take it too seriously. In the second year I felt a little more comfortable and rather than designing what I thought other people wanted to wear I came up with suits I wanted to wear myself and I was a little surprised and also flattered that this was when things really started to take off.
What was the hardest part about starting up your own company?
The hardest thing about starting your own company is all of the unknowns. You have an idea and so many obstacles to overcome before you can even get close to it. I guess living in Bali was also big factor to contend with. Even though the island gives us so much it’s also trying and really tests your perseverance and will power at times. The biggest bit of advice I would say it just keep going until you find a solution.
“The hardest thing about starting your own company is all of the unknowns. Just keep going until you find a solution.”
Describe the perfect bikini in 3 words
Luxurious, simplistic and timeless.
You have moved to Bali- how come?
Bali kind of just happened for me. Like so many people in Bali I started by holidaying here and the holidays gradually got longer and longer and before I know it I was calling Bali home. Bali is a great place for creativity and start-ups as there is so much potential and you can create something with minimal cost upfront. While Bali has been home base for many years, in more recent times we’ve started to expand and are now spending a lot of time in Europe over summer and we are also excited about a potential South African Sommer Swim venture in the near future. Its great having this change in location because we draw inspiration from the places we are visiting, keep up to dates with global trends as they emerge and also have access to so many talented photographers and models in different locations.
Sommer Swim is influenced by the chic European summer lifestyle and the swimwear is made out of Italian fabric. Do you think the creation of this unique niche has accounted to Sommer Swim’s success?
We import the highest quality Italian fabrics and we really pride ourselves on the quality of our product. I think the difference can be seen and felt by our customers when they receive their products and we have a lot of feedback to that effect. For us – teaming that high quality while also essentially creating this lifestyle that we know is so appealing such as the European summer works for us. We want to transport our customers to those places they are travelling to or dream of being simply by wearing our bikinis – because our products are luxe and we really want to ensure women feel celebrated and beautiful.
Let’s talk about social media. You work a lot with Instagram influencers and your @sommer.swim account (here) is absolutely killing it. What role did Instagram play in the growth of your business?
Instagram changed the way companies like ours do business. A huge portion of our sales are generated through Instagram so that means you need to understand the platform and also use it to your full advantage. Knowing the role of bloggers and being smart about how you use them is also key. Often people see pages with a huge amount of following and think it’s a great idea to invest in a paid post but doing research on things such as ratio of male and female followers and also the engagement generated is also important. You want to be collaborating with social media influencers (and I hate using that term) that have a solid following of females who genuinely have an interest in the products they promote.
“Instagram changed the way companies do business. A huge portion of our sales are generated through Instagram so that means you need to understand the platform and also use it to your full advantage.”
What would be your top tips to anyone out there wanting to start up their own brand?
Obviously having a go is a huge one. But I would also say hold off on launching any products until its something you are 100% happy with yourself and can back. Quality is something people desire and its something they are willing to pay for. For instance – we often have 20-30 versions of samples made before we come to the final products. It’s the small things like making sure the bikini fits perfectly and every piece is in place that ultimately give our customers confidence in us and want to purchase more of our products. We want your business but more importantly we want to make a product so good that you can’t help but to be a repeat customer.
“Hold off on launching any products until its something you are 100% happy with yourself and can back- we want to make a product so good that you can’t help but to be a repeat customer.”
I am wearing the Gisele Top (size S, here)
and the Rocha Bottoms (size M, here)
in the colour Malta
Sommer Swim ☼