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UStory: Hanakini Swim
Love your body; own it, flaunt it, celebrate it!
Admittedly, that is easier said than done. But there is no reason why we cannot empower ourselves to love our bodies – curves, scars, and all. Not when more and more brands are stepping up to acknowledge and embrace women’s different colors, shapes, and sizes, and providing options for our different needs.
Options that hug every inch of our bodies well enough to give us a confidence boost, especially come time to dress down for the sun, sea, and sand. And we know just the brand that’s got your specific needs covered the next time you go out for a swim.
Hanakini Lifestyle Adventure Swimwear
Hanakini Swim was established in 2017. Owner, founder, and designer Melanie Gluck recalls how her small business was born out of her struggle to find the perfect swimwear to fit her body type during her first year in Hawaii.
“I never fit the standard model of the suits I liked, and my Latina hips rarely found a good bottom that complimented my shape.”
Melanie found herself buying bikinis in bulk from China just to find the right fit for her body, but without much luck. Since the items were non-returnable, she ended up flipping them and selling them on third-party platforms or to friends.
She realized how big of a market swimwear is and wasted no time in being a part of it.
Unfiltered, Unedited, Unapologetic
Body positivity springs to mind at the very mention of the Hanakini brand. According to Melanie, they seek to highlight ALL women from all walks of life. They do not alter their models’ appearance, nor do they edit out scars and stretch marks.
Their brand aims to create and share a space of love and inclusivity and that starts in how they present their products and the real women who wear them.
“I myself would always buy things online that looked so cute on the stock model only to find it looked nothing the same on me when it arrived.”
By staying true to their models and customers’ expectations, Melanie shares how their return ratio is less than 1%.
“Our hunnies can find the perfect fit by referencing our size chart. As well, every stock model sizing is in the description.”
Growing an Online Bikini Store
Melanie feels that her brand is still a toddler, but looking at Hanakini’s growing assortment of products, and how their logo has evolved over time – she knows that they have come a long way.
“I had never really intended on growing an online bikini store, it all just sort of happened and the next thing I knew, it went from a hobby to an LLC business.”
Her entrepreneurial journey is not without its fair share of ups, downs, and unpredictability. Despite it all, she is determined to keep going. Her secret?“I believe you have to be passionate about a product to be a start-up company, it needs emotional and unconditional love.” -Melanie Gluck, Founder Click To Tweet
Another challenge in running her own business is how creatively lonely it can be. She must make tough decisions from financials to sales orders to marketing. But every sale makes it all worth it. “Every sale is like my first,” she adds.
The Creative Process
What Hanakini has achieved in just a few years is no easy feat. When other brands are still figuring out how to cater to women’s varying swimwear preferences, they have kicked off a quality and inclusive line that is focused on promoting self-love and confidence, no matter your size or shape.
Melanie says they have not completely nailed it yet and they are always looking for ways to improve their process. For now, she makes it a point to evaluate each body type during the planning phases.
When asked how she makes sure that there is a fit for every body type,
“First, I decide on colors and prints, always using a cool and warm tone for different skin types. Then I match styles to the color collection by making sure we have a little of something for everyone – cheeky and covered, supported tops and tanning tops, etc. The goal is always to seek balance.”
From Poly Mailers to Custom Boxes
Melanie is a huge fan of subscription boxes and how they remind her of receiving special gifts. This inspired her to create the same experience for Hanakini Swim’s customers.
But more than providing a memorable unboxing experience, she wants to emphasize that Hanakini is an eco-conscious and ethical company, which further encouraged her to choose an eco-friendly packaging option.
Being a brand close to the ocean, it was imperative for her to have as little to no plastic in their business model as possible, from production all the way to shipping.
“I hated that we were using poly mailers for the longest time, but it was the most economical in the beginning stages. After our first year, I was finally able to invest in a custom, recyclable shipping format.”
For Hanakini’s first set of custom boxes, Melanie wanted their design to “be the brand, the feeling of tropical Hawaii.” Such was the inspiration for their signature Monstera leaf and jungle green color on their custom boxes.
The UPrinting Experience
Melanie shares how UPrinting’s online design tool, with its capability to give her a rotating view of the boxes’ print, color, and logo, was the most helpful aspect in creating her custom mailers.
“I could not have created this vision without the live view of the box. The design tool allowed me to create exactly what I had in mind.”
Delighted for her positive review, we asked how the mailer boxes helped take Hanakini’s branding efforts to the next level.
“Overall, the boxes felt professional, unique, and collective for our brand image. It’s a box that no one else will have and, again, feels like a gift from us to her.”
Melanie adds how their customers feel more connected to the brand because of their new material. Not only did Hanakini made the right switch to eco-friendly packaging, but it enabled them to send the Aloha of Hanakini well beyond their swimsuits.
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