There’s nothing particularly complicated in the story of how Los Angeles brand Bikyni came to be. It was as simple as founder Jude Al-Khalil wanting to make shopping for a swimsuit easier by offering well-fitting, well-made swim essentials.
“For me, it was nearly impossible to find a simple, well-fitting suit that I wanted to wear,” Al-Khalil said. “We’ve modernized the classic swimwear silhouettes with Bikyni and what we offer is what we think of as your swim closet staples. Each of our styles has an effortless appeal and I place a lot of focus on comfort when designing our suits.”
The direct-to-consumer online brand’s swimsuits are seamless, allowing wearers to bypass the typical digging in of other cuts. They’re minimalist with very little in the way of hardware and an emphasis on clean lines. Al-Khalil’s also been thoughtful in her focus on the right pieces, designing less than 15 products total since the brand’s spring 2015 launch.
The pricing for the suits, which are sewn in L.A. using Italian fabric, is relatively competitive with separates at $58 and $110 for a one-piece. A one-piece racer-back is among the company’s top sellers.
“I think the simplicity to our offering is why a lot of women in the market gravitate toward Bikyni,” Al-Khalil said. “It sounds strange, but I think it’s much harder to find a simple black, well-fitting bikini than you think. That’s where I saw the void and an opportunity we were trying to fill.”
Starting her own business was a big learning curve that forced Al-Khalil to learn on the fly. Luckily, her background gave her a leg up as an entrepreneur.
“I was at Reformation prior to Bikyni and I oversaw the launch of their online business as their chief operating officer,” she said. “So I never actually made a swimsuit [before Bikyni], but I understand how to build a brand online.”
Up next, like many digitally native peers, Bikyni is exploring retail. It’s done collaborations with Madewell in the past and has an airstream it’s using as a traveling summer pop-up on the West Coast.
“Retail is definitely at the top of our list,” Al-Khalil said. “We’re online first but have found that a lot of customers want to see and try on the swimsuits, so we’re experimenting with the right physical experience for swimwear because that in-store experience has historically caused a lot of anxiety for women. We’re trying to figure out how to approach that in the right way, and I think the airstream concept is interesting and we’ve gotten a good response from it.”