At 27 years of age Isabelle Baulu, who resides in St.James Barbados, is the designer behind the swimwear company Sea Reinas. Her mission is to put women of all ages and physiques in swimsuits which they can feel confident and comfortable in, while maintaining a minimal yet nostalgic edge. I spoke with Isabelle about the journey of starting up her own company which happened to be very intriguing. I also got the chance to style this photo shoot with her as the model, which was shot by celebrity photographer Alex Jackson. We all combined our ideas, included a little adventure of course and got fantastic results. Read below and be sure to check out Sea Reinas if you are ready for some serious beach fever.
SM: What inspired you to start your own company ?
IB: I was studying in Argentina and was just finishing up my internship at the UN. After I received my Master’s degree in Latin American development Economics, I realised my interest in fashion had grown and I knew that working for myself would not only sculpt my future, but fulfill my dream.
SM: What is the story behind the name?
IB: ‘Sirena’ is Spanish for Mermaid. As I’m fluent in four languages ‘Sea Reinas’ happens to be the result of my whimsical take on the origin word.
SM: Did you encounter any major hurdles while starting company?
IB: In 2012, I faced a huge obstacle, I was swindled in brazil which resulted in me losing everything that I had invested , at that point I had two options give up, or try again. The following year I made a fresh start in Colombia and now, in 2015 Sea Reinas has celebrated their third birthday.
SM: Where do you hope to take the company in the next five years?
IB: I hope to have five franchises in Sydney, Hong Kong ,Paris, New York and Barbados of course! It may not happen within five years but it is definitely something you have to positively think about, while owning a business.
SM: Describe a typical workday.
IB: In the morning I exercise, just to clear my mind, then I start working on emails and orders. Sea Reinas is also available in a small selection of boutiques across Barbados such as, Starfish Boutique and Butterfly Boutique, they are also available at boutiques in The Coral Reef Club and The Sandy Lane Hotel. I am usually back and forth between the boutiques or conversing with the stockist in Miami and Manhattan. My days are very active so I’m fuelled on lots of coffee.
SM: If you’re out of a size or colour, how can customers know when you’ll restock?
IB: I do a preview collection at Miami swim week, then I restock in November. I love to keep the designs current and limited, however over the next two years I plan to condense the brand, as I’m hoping to do three collections and a look book per year.
SM: Since you’re such a swimwear aficionado, do you have a favorite style?
IB: Yes, I do! I really like simple low back whole pieces and lingerie inspired silk kimonos or kaftans.
SM: What are your go-to beach essentials?
IB: Sea Reinas swim of course (laughs), a turkish towel,sunglasses, infused water and sunscreen.
SM: What advice would you give to someone who has just started their own company?
IB: Never give up on your dreams and always celebrate the little achievements to appreciate the big ones!
Photos by Alex Jackson.
Visit www.seareinas.com for more!