Elinor Alm is the co-founder and designer of Bequia Beach Bums, a easy to wear swimwear line made up of simple styles but playful prints for your next adventure. Their debut collection is limited edition with only 50 pieces of each swim short print sold in beach boutiques in Bequia but fear not, they have an exclusive limited number available online. We found out how Elinor started the brand and what her top picks are for you to get your hands on this summer.
House of Coco: What was the inspiration for Bequia Beach Bums?
Elinor: I’ve always loved travelling, and have lived across the world from Stockholm to Taipei, Shanghai to London, Chile to Australia. If given a choice between material things or experiences, I would go for experiences every time. But in an ideal world I wouldn’t have to choose! I hunt for original souvenirs whilst out exploring the world. I advocate artisan and high quality instead of fast fashion. When I arrived to little Bequia, I loved the place but found myself leaving empty-handed. It was there the concept of Beach Bums was born.
HoC: How did you meet Bengt, the owner of Bequia Beach Hotel, and how did the decision to launch a swimwear beach line evolve?
Elinor: I actually met Bengt the first time in Bequia, my boyfriend invited me on holiday and to meet his dad. After a few more visits to his hotel; Bequia Beach Hotel, I recognised a gap in the market to capture the essence of a small lush Caribbean island & it’s story in an exclusive collection of beachwear. With my knowledge in textiles and product development, I proposed to Bengt to create our very own unique beachwear brand; serving as a lasting memory for guests to take home and with them on their next adventure. Bengt loved the idea of synergies of a beachwear brand and today Beach Bums helps to attract guests to the island and hotel.
HoC: How did you go about designing the line?
Elinor: As a designer, you take inspiration from different times and places. Due to my background in product development I am confident in the design process and have production contacts in China from living there. I begun to sketch my collected ideas, from patterns to practical solutions and material choices. I decided very early in the process that the collection should be smart, conscious and with good quality and finest workmanship. All patterns are inspired by the lushness and laid back life in Bequia, available in limited quantities of up to 50 pieces. My goal has always been to have the collection produced in Bequia, unfortunately the experience and capabilities cannot yet be compared with China. Despite this, Beach Bums will proudly present an artisan collection together with a local learning centre in Bequia late 2019. The best part of being the entrepreneur and a designer is to continually evolve the brand.
HoC: What do you think are some of the challenges of running an independent fashion business in 2019?
Elinor: Challenges of today are also the opportunities. The world is your playground and the competition is tough. To be your own boss forces you to work hard and believe in yourself – something that is not easy to manage every single day. It’s about hard work and a little bit of luck. Being an independent woman is all about surrounding yourself self with other strong, powerful women and men. You can do a lot by yourself but you need a core group that can fuel you with good energy.
HoC: We love your use of older and diverse models in your campaign, how important is diversity and representation for your brand?
Elinor: It’s very important! Central to the core of the brand’s identity is representation by real beach bums – people that enjoy life to its fullest! Borders between different cultures and ages are increasingly blurring. I love the idea of confident people who don’t feel like they have to fit into a certain personas as a result of societies’ expectations. If you’re a silver fox but want to wear the same on-trend shirt as your grandson – well go ahead! Live life to its fullest!
HoC: With the summer approaching, what do you think is the key piece House of Coco readers should be snapping up from your collection?
Elinor: For men – the Hawaiian Shirt! It’s been so trendy for years know and still on fire. Hawaiian shirts are for all ages and not only for a holiday or the tropics, pair your loud shirt with a pair of chinos and white sneakers and you’re are perfectly ready to take on the city. For the ladies – our reversible bikinis that gives great support and multiple options to style.
HoC: What piece of advice would you give to our readers who want to set up their own brand or business?
Elinor: Seek knowledge. There is so much information to collect just online and amongst friends and acquaintances. Enforce your strong attributes and actively keep your knowledge fresh to stay ahead of your competitors in those chosen fields – be the best! For your weaknesses – seek external help. If you are simply worthless in WordPress – hire someone external and focus on what you are good at instead.
Be persistent! Never quit! Even if you had a bad day and doubt you’ll succeed.
Always be kind and helpful to others, surround yourself with positive and fearless people.
Add value to your product to better your competitors and exceed expectations to retain your clients. And importantly, remember to take time off for yourself to stay motivated and refuel in between all the work & effort.
HoC: What was the best piece of advice you were given in setting up your own business?
Elinor: Accomplish at least one thing every day that will take your business forwards.
Don’t try to please everyone and don’t excuse yourself.
Know your numbers, because in the end it’s a business not a hobby.
Don’t be afraid to fail.