Bikini Adventures

Name: Bec Mangan
Position: Founder and Marketing Director
Location: Sydney, Australia

Bikini Adventures was created to connect women to a selection of boutique, sustainable and durable swimwear brands in one location, empowering women to easily find functional and stylish swimwear, fit for their next adventure.

What products/services do you offer?

  • We sell surf swimwear that is practical, stylish, sustainable and durable
  • We curate ocean travel adventures (surfing, snorkeling, swimming, sailing etc) from around the world to inspire new travel adventures
  • In future, we want to host our own retreats at some of the beautiful places we’ve been and curate boutique retreats / hotels with our own booking system

Why did you start your business and how long have you been running it?

  • We started our business (2 sisters) because we struggled to find practical swimwear that stayed on for our active ocean life, yet was stylish enough to provide us with the confidence to believe we had a worthy place in the surf among a male dominated line up.
  • There were many beautiful resort-style swimwear to choose from, however we would settle for surfing in t-shirts or singlets. To look stylish in the surf often meant wearing impractical swimwear that would fall to our ankles as soon as we dived under a wave!
  • The main surf brands exist but are not sustainable and are very mainstream. We wanted to shop for sustainable, durable, practical and flattering swimwear in one location. It didn’t exist, so we created it!
  • Bikini Adventures ran as a travel blog for 4 years, building up a small following but we launched our online store in November 2019, so 4 months!

What struggles do you think most businesses face in your industry and what would you say they need to do to overcome them?

Lack of eCommerce and marketing experience. Some entrepreneurs and fashion designers are amazing creatives but navigating the online marketing world can be confusing and overwhelming. Find yourself a great team of web designers, developers and marketing help. It won’t happen overnight, but Fiverr and Upwork are great places to start.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?

We only started in November and while the first few sales were from friends and family, our biggest accomplishment was selling to the first random! Selling to an unknown person solidified that our message, website and advertising was working! Having positive customer reviews on top of that is so rewarding!

What has been your biggest ‘fail’ so far?

Probably being fearful of investing. It’s our own savings going into the business which can be really scary. It takes alot to shift the mindset and we’re working through that.

What do you love most about your business?

  • Our business represents us so it’s authentic. We are passionate about what we do. Because we are passionate, it makes doing business much easier and very enjoyable.
  • We love how we can work remotely from anywhere in the world with low overheads.

What do you find most challenging?

We have a few!

  • Working with developers who are slow to respond or lack attention to detail. It means we are constantly repeating ourselves even for the most basic updates.
  • Finding the right team to help us continually optimise and increase conversions, and average order value.
  • As we are wholesalers, buying the right stock that will sell well is difficult to predict, especially with no buying experience!
  • Getting across Facebook Advertising Guidelines! Advertising swimwear is not easy as Facebook can often reject ads due to “too much skin showing”. However, with swimwear, skin is naturally showing! Some ads are approved, only to be rejected later and we see some approved swimwear ads that are more revealing or sexually explicit, which really leaves us scratching our heads!

How do you promote your business (please include as many details as you can)?

  • Our audience is mainly on social media. We have found through testing, that Instagram Stories is actually a big driver of traffic and purchases and is cheaper per click too.
  • We have our own email database that we regularly send emails too, promoting products and adventures
  • Google Ads and working on starting Google Shopping Ads too
  • We also promote our brand through local surf/snorkel and swim meet ups, to empower women to participate in water activities, connect women with other like minded adventurers and promote a healthy lifestyle fostered by the ocean

What business skills do you have (eg. graphic design, customer service)?

  • We are both marketers so we have brand and digital marketing skills including website design best practice, HTML coding, wordpress CMS skills, email marketing and social media marketing

What software did you/your designer use to create your website (eg. WordPress, Wix)?

  • WordPress and Woocommerce for scalability reasons. In future we want to house retreats on our site with our own white label booking system.
  • These are also really easy to use and we had more experience with this software than other software

What are some of your favourite business tools and apps?

  • We have the Google Analytics App so we can look at site traffic on the go, especially the ‘Real time traffic’. This is especially interesting after launching a campaign.
  • We use the Mailchimp App to create and review email campaigns
  • We are a tiny company of two so love using the Google suite for shared documents. Makes sharing and collaborating much more efficient.
  • We also use Plann to curate our instagram feed and store our hashtags

What do you like about your website and what’s not working for you?

  • We love the design and the imagery
  • It went live with not much eCommerce conversion optimisation so we are currently finalising phase 2 of launch. It’s been incredibly slow and painful!
  • There are a few nuances that we probably only notice that we’re currently ironing out with developers

What lessons have you learnt during your time as an entrepreneur?

  • It takes such hard work and you have to wear so many hats, it can be overwhelming!
  • Take it one hour at a time and work on the urgent tasks first
  • Delegate the tasks you don’t like or aren’t good at and focus on tasks that play to your strengths

What key tips for success in business would you like to share with others?

The hardest part is starting so just start! Test and Learn. You’re not going to get it right from Day 1. And there will be peaks and troughs, but you just have to keep going.

If you’re starting alongside a full time job, work on your business a little every day. The effort will add up.

What is the one thing that you want everyone to take away from this post?

Honesty and transparency!

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