Feb 19, 2015

Women Entrepreneurs: An Interview with Liane Fitzgerald of Roy Swim

As a 20-something woman forging an untraditional path professionally, it's always great to learn about other young women who are following their dreams and thriving!

I met Liane Fitzgerald, a hot new swimwear designer from Martha's Vineyard who's also a 20-something woman, at a photoshoot recently and she agreed to an interview for the blog!

Roy Swim is a small handmade swimwear company based out of Martha's Vineyard and New York City.  All bikinis are designed and handmade by Liane FitzGerald. Check them out on Instagram @roybikini

Read on for the who, what, when, and why of Liane actualizing her dream, as well as a great spring break special!

Q: Why did you choose bikini design?

A: I grew up on the island of Martha's Vineyard, so summers as a kid were spent almost entirely in a bikini. I became a beachfront lifeguard as soon as I was old enough, and ten years later I still work at my favorite beach in the summer- but now as a beach supervisor.  When you spend forty hours a week in a bikini, observing other beach-goers in their bikinis, you start to pick up on what works and what doesn’t—what is comfortable and what is not, what fits and flatters and what doesn’t.  

Roy Swim 2015
I was an art major in college and have always loved sewing, but the inspiration to start making bikinis of my own came on a trip to Costa Rica the year after I graduated.  

I spent a month with my boyfriend in Playa Negra, where I met a lady who made custom color handmade bikinis with just a couple of machines and a very small space.  I decided that if she could do it in a rural area with such limited resources then I could at least try!  Being a self-taught seamstress, the learning curve has been huge, but through trial and error, online research and a little help from strangers I have developed a line of bikinis that I'm proud to call my own.    

Q: What do you think makes bikinis so special?

A: Bikinis are the way that we show our bodies and our personal style to the world.  

Roy Swim
I think almost everyone would agree that you feel more confident when you wear a bikini that is comfortable, fits well, and shows off your individuality.  

Q: Where do you get your design inspiration from?

A: I am obsessed with color.  I could spend hours in the garment district, mixing and matching spandex colors and patterns and never get tired of it! 

Roy Swim
Inspiration for my designs comes from all over the place- nature, my travels, people watching both on the beach and in the city.  Of course I look at other swimwear lines and get inspiration from swimwear trends, but I always try to put my own spin  on things to keep my suits unique. 

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: There is nothing better than selling a suit to someone who loves Roy bikinis as much as I do.  I absolutely love getting pictures of my customers looking amazing in their suits and projecting confidence and ease.  I want girls and women to feel awesome in their own skin!  

Its great to have repeat customers, because then I really know they love my suits.  I sell at a flea market on Martha's Vineyard in the summer and it's awesome to see the same girls come back year after year with new friends that want suits as well.  

Second to that, the best part about being the designer and manufacturer of my line is that there is so much room for experimentation and wait time between ideas and production is almost nonexistent!  I'm very impatient and want instant gratification when it comes to creating. 

Q: What is your favorite design of all the suits you have made so far? Why? 

A: I'm partial to the high waisted bottoms because they're the most unique of all my pieces.  In particular, I recently discovered how to weave the side straps in a really beautiful way. 

I'm actually having a spring break sale through February to celebrate the launch of my online store, and not only are all my bikinis 20% off, but I'm not charging custom order fees! I've made it super easy to select your own colors and prints for the pieces you love.  Check out my shop at www.royswim.com!

Q: What is the biggest thing you've learned since starting your business and what advice to you have for aspiring creatives? 

A: The biggest thing I've learned since starting my business is that if you don't believe in yourself and your product, you can't expect other people to.  Even if you know there are little kinks to work out in the beginning, you have to be confident and project that confidence when you deal with your customers.  

I think almost everyone starting a business has a little voice in the back of their head telling them they're not good enough, they're not ready, they don't have something unique to offer, they won't make it.  Don't listen to that voice!  The most important piece of advice I've been given is to "start before you're ready".  

Don't forget that you're your own worst critic- if you wait until everything is perfect and you feel 100% confident, you're never going to launch! 

Don't forget to check out the Spring Break Sale and get 20% off!
Valid through February 28.


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