Business Crush: Whitney Andressen of Bikini Thief Steals the Show
Fresh off of her amazing showing in this year’s Sports Illustrated SwimSuit issue, we caught up with Whitney Andressen of Bikini Thief to ask her a couple of questions about her business, how she dreamed it up and who inspired her along the way;
A cute maternity swimwear line is such a great idea! Who inspired to you to develop it?
I myself have never been pregnant but i have 2 beautiful nephews and SEVERAL of my close friends on Martha’s Vineyard (where i grew up) have babies. The Vineyard harbors an amazing community of women who are strong, empowered, beautiful and whom I've always seen celebrate pregnancy as this incredibly beautiful time, which it is! I wish all pregnant women could feel beautiful and sexy when pregnant.
When I was 7 months pregnant, my little sister got married on the beach in Key West FL. I dreaded going bath-suit shopping – even more than I usually do. So, I wore my old string bikinis, which while they worked, because I could tie them differently, I didn’t feel very attractive in them! What were you hoping your maternity wear could help us preggers do differently?
Most of my friends wore their own bikinis throughout their pregnancy too because cute maternity wear is so hard to find. I wanted to create comfortable, functional maternity tankinis that were still flattering and were sexy in the details. For instance, St. Barts is sophisticated in its color and prints, but i love the sweetheart neckline that shows off amazing cleavage. I mean, why not!? And the fun color and prints are flirty, get you noticed walking down the beach, but really comfortable too. So I guess I tried to find the balance between comfort and style in a market that is finally coming into its own. I don’t think our mothers had half the choices women of my generation have. I want to help take it a step further. I want to design Maternity Bikinis next! But with Tankinis you can brown your belly or cover it up - whatever you’re feeling that day.
Where do you look for design/fashion inspiration? How did that impact what you ultimately developed?
As far as my desire to do a maternity collection my upbringing has been my inspiration. I have had the most amazing female rolemodels in my mother, my older sister, and the women who I have watched become young mothers on Marthas Vineyard.
For fashion inspiration, New York inspires me everyday. Its everywhere you look on the streets, in windows, museums, stages, subways, everywhere. For this collection I combined that with the inspiration I received in my travels to beaches around the world like Thailand, Greece, Costa Rica, etc.
And since this was my first collection, there was a lifetime of inspiration that I just poured into doing whatever I wanted, definitely didn’t follow what was trendy or "colors" of the season. I just had FUN!
And when we talk inspiration, we have to talk your business crush… Is there a business that you have a little crush on? How have they shaped what you've done with Bikini Thief?
I've always loved Letarte swimwear. It was started by 2 sisters, Michelle and Lisa who lived in Hawaii at the time. Besides the obvious island parallel, they just have a great Bohemian, surfer girl style and colors that i have always loved. And I love that 2 sisters started it together and built it from the ground up! In addition when they were still relatively small (maybe 2nd year in business when they were still a little company) they got one of their suits selected for the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition – every swim designers dream! When I was dreaming of starting my company, I always thought, if they can do it, I can do it too. And actually we were just featured in Sports Illustrated, (not the cover) but in the magazine and on the website, and we have only been in business for a year, so they helped inspire my drive for that.
For more on Bikini Thief – check out member Jess Zaino’s blog on Glamour Magazine’s Young & Posh Blogger Network or to shop Bikini Thief’s sultry line of swimwear, check our their site at www.bikinithief.com
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