Andie Swim

Swimwear is in demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

Andie Swim, the three-year-old, online-only, fit-focused swim brand has seen swimsuits sell out during the ongoing pandemic and year-to-date sales growth of 100 percent. And the brand just raised $6.5 million in a Series A round, led by CityRock Venture Partners and Trail Mix Ventures in order to fund growth.

“A lot of people think of swim as vacation- or travel-related, but it turns out you don’t need to go anywhere to need a swimsuit,” founder and chief executive officer Melanie Travis said. “But the volume we did during a pandemic really did take me by surprise.”

Travis wouldn’t specify revenue, but allowed sales are “north of the $20 million mark.” Average yearly growth since the brand launched in April 2017 is 400 percent, she said.

Oliver Libby, a partner at CityRock, said it’s “telling” that Andie Swim’s most popular styles have been eco-friendly, or made with recycled fibers.

“Andie Swim is 100 percent data-driven — measuring every aspect of its company and customer experience to provide unprecedented levels of personalization,” Libby said. “But it is human at its core, understanding the behavioral psychology around swimsuit shopping and consumer sentiment shifts.”

The new cash infusion will allow Andie Swim to hire more people — Travis is looking to double her current staff of 12 and just hired the brand’s first international marketing executive. It will also be expanding categories again, likely into women’s intimates. The brand already launched maternity and kids this summer. More investment in marketing is coming, including podcasts and TV, a platform that’s becoming more popular with direct-to-consumer brands.

“With TV, you can see exactly where your money is going,” Travis said.

Another surprise was turning profitable earlier this year, something Travis wasn’t expecting quite so soon. A big part of the underlying reason for that was a drop in pricing for advertising on Facebook, Travis said, stemming from the advertising boycott hundreds of brands participated in over the summer. “Facebook became a lot cheaper,” she added, which helped reduce marketing costs while driving sales at a time when women were apparently looking to get some sun.

At the start of the pandemic in March, Travis was not necessarily predicting her brand would be doing as well as it is.

“There were a couple of weeks when people got very quiet — consumers and investors. Everyone was terrified. And me, too, I was thinking, ‘Oh my god, what’s going to happen?’” Travis said. “But consumer confidence came back pretty quickly and likewise, investor confidence.”

She said by mid-April, she was again having talks with potential investors and traffic to her web site was picking up, eventually breaking records, and sales followed. 

But some plans did change. Andie Swim was looking into going into wholesale pre-pandemic and that has been pushed back indefinitely, Travis said. 

Considering the brand is selling well and is now profitable, Travis said this round of financing will be the last.

“We’re a good business growing quickly and profitable, so barring any unforeseen circumstances, and I know how that sounds with all that’s going on around us, but we should not have to raise anymore,” Travis said. “That’s the plan, at least.”

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