If you’re an active woman this scenario is all too familiar: You’re wearing your favorite bikini while swimming, surfing, or jumping in on a friendly game of beach volleyball and your wardrobe malfunctions. It’s awkward, but even more so, annoying because the last thing you want to deal with as an athlete is fidget with a piece of clothing while being active.
Christy Woodrow, an avid surfer and travel blogger for the travel site Ordinary Traveler, found herself in this predicament all too often — constantly having to try different bikinis because most would not stay put while riding waves. After becoming fed up with the absorbant cost of continuously buying new swimwear, Woodrow decided she would design her own.
The blogger launched a campaign on Kickstarter with fellow Ordinary Traveler, Scott Calafiore, setting a goal of $15,000 to support the production of a line of sports bikinis made sustainably here in the United States. We caught up with Woodrow to find out more about OT Surf and the inspiration behind this eco swimwear line.
Culture-ist Mag: What inspired you to start OT Surf?
Ordinary Traveler: Scott and I have been avid surfers since we moved to San Diego six years ago and we spend a lot of time in the water without a wetsuit. I found myself constantly buying bikinis that claimed to stay on in the water and grew tired of spending thousands of dollars on pieces that never lived up to these claims.
I was disappointed that most swimwear companies were focused on perfecting men’s products and ignoring what active women really needed in a bikini, so I came up with a design that I knew would work well. Last May, we set out to make a sports bikini that would stay put.
Culture-ist Mag: Who do you envision as the typical OT customer?
Ordinary Traveler: We think our bikinis are a great fit for any female, but we have specifically designed it for surfers, wake boarders, water skiers, swimmers, beach volleyball players, travelers and any type of active woman that wants to feel sexy and secure.
We also think this bikini is great for active moms since young children have the tendency to pull at your bikini while learning to swim or playing in the water.
Culture-ist Mag: You went from travel blogger to clothing designer — tell us more…
Ordinary Traveler: It all happened so fast, I didn’t even see it coming. One day we were happily travel blogging our way through life and the next we were designing a bikini. That is literally how it felt. I thought, “How hard can it be?” and soon discovered it wasn’t going to be an easy task. But we were determined. I think when you have a passion for a project and a personal interest in seeing it through, it helps during those trying times when you just want to give up and go back to taking the easy and comfortable route.
Culture-ist Mag: Why was going local so important? What are the constraints on sourcing local production? What materials are used in making the bikinis & tees?
Ordinary Traveler: One of our main goals is to reduce our impact on the environment as much as possible. By sourcing materials in the USA and using local vendors, we are able to reduce our carbon footprint by limiting the energy consumed for shipping.
Another reason we chose to manufacture in the United States is because there are stricter standards for pollution controls and labor practices. Local production also allows us to closely monitor the consistency and quality of our products.
Production in the United States costs more money and is not always easy to find considering a lot of companies have moved their production overseas. It makes it a little more difficult to source production locally, but we hope more companies will see the value in doing so, which will create more jobs in the industry.
We use a nylon/spandex combination in our bikinis which provides a quick drying effect and the perfect amount of stretch to allow the bikini to hug your body. Our t-shirts are made with 100 percent recycled materials which is made up of 65 percent recycled cotton and 35 percent recycled soda bottle fiber.
The hardest part in sourcing materials was finding baby unicorns to sprinkle magic dust and make it all come together.
Culture-ist Mag: Kickstarter seems to be the crowdfunding source of choice for young entrepreneurs. Can you tell us a little about your experience working with Kickstarter as a launching pad for OT Surf?
Ordinary Traveler: I think Kickstarter is a great way to give people the opportunity to become a fundamental part of a new idea or startup company. We love involving our community in decisions such as color choices for our bikini line and possibly even new designs. I like that we are also able to offer limited edition pieces that will only be made available to the people who pre-order on Kickstarter. It gives people more of a voice, rather than just buying a product.
More About the Designers and Their Kickstarter Project:
Christy and Scott run the popular travel blog, Ordinary Traveler and they just launched a new innovative sports bikini line called OT Surf. They are trying to raise $15,000 by April 2, 2012 by pre-selling bikinis and t-shirts. If they reach their goal of $15,000, then they will go into production and start shipping bikinis! Click here to pre-order now. And remember, what makes Kickstarter so cool is that it runs on the all-or-nothing funding approach, so if you pre-order a bikini now and they don’t reach their $15,000 goal, you will be refunded 100 percent of your money!