I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Hannah Marjon, 20, as she shared the challenges and experience of becoming her own boss with her swimwear line “Seven Swim.” Here is Hannah’s story:
Allie: When did you first have the idea that you wanted to own your own business? And more specifically, when did you know you wanted to make swimwear?
Hannah: I have wanted to start my own business for a long time now. I would always start businesses, like dog day cares and things like that, when I was younger. I started seriously playing with the idea of starting my own business around a year and a half ago. I have always known that I wanted an unconventional job; I just didn’t know what format that job would be in. Being my own boss seemed like a good start. The idea for swimwear came when I was reading an interview with Moana Bikini owner, Karina Irby. In the interview, she talked about when she decided to never work for someone other than herself ever again. I love fashion and growing up on the beach every weekend has given me a solid respect for the perfect bikini. I’m going to have other jobs in my life, and I’m a public relations major and I do want to pursue that still, but owning my own business was something I always wanted to do so I figured, why not do it now?
A: Where did the name Seven Swim come from? Does it have any significance to your life or to the company?
H: Once I had the concept to create my own swimwear line, I went through a few hundred possible name choices. Nothing stuck. I came up with some amazingly awful names. Seven is a word my boyfriend and I use. I can’t really explain how it started or exactly what it means to us because it represents a concept between us. However, I started saying “Seven Swim” to myself, and I sounded kind of nice. It stuck, and I kept it.
A: Can you tell me the process of making one of your swimsuits? From start to finish, how is it created? What materials do you use? How are they manufactured?
H: The night I decided to do this, for real, I sketched my designs. I decided to start with seven pieces because 3 tops 3 bottoms and a one piece seemed like a nice first collection. I hadn’t even decided to name it Seven at this point. I had never sketched a swimsuit before. I looked up what swimwear sketches should look like; what measurements to include, what figures to draw them on, everything. There would be a million and one different types of swimsuits I would create if I could, so for the first seven I had to boil them down to super minimalistic designs that would be the starting point for my line. I wanted these to be pieces that would go with pieces girls already had in case they didn’t want to be a full set or wanted to mix it up.
Next came finding a manufacturer. I can’t sew to save my life so finding someone who could was imperative. I knew most of the bikinis I ordered were manufactured in Thailand so I started there. I don’t know if a lot of these places don’t have websites or what but I could only find like 2 manufacturers in Thailand. I ended up widening my search to any country. I emailed about fifty manufacturers in the next two days. After about a week, I found my lovely manufacturers in Brazil. They use eco-friendly / bio degradable nylon.
Getting my first patterns and samples made was one of the more painful experiences I have ever been through. My manufacturer had to think I was crazy. They would send me a picture of a sample they had made, and I would send about fifteen completely disorganized emails back with notes.
Finally, we somehow got the patterns done so they sent me the samples. I cried out of happiness when I received them, and shot off another 20 emails with notes on things that needed tweaking on the samples. I placed my first order once they had redone the samples about 15 times.
The only time I have ever missed class in my college career was the week I was waiting for my 300 pieces of swimwear to arrive at my apartment from Brazil. Customs is the worst thing that has ever happened to this planet. I cried and cried and cried when they called me to say I needed to send more forms and more this and that to get the pieces through customs.
When they arrived, I literally just hugged the boxes which were disgusting after what they had been through. I almost hugged the courier.
A: Where did your idea for the styles of your swimwear come from? Are all of the designs original or was there someone helping in the design process?
H: All of the designs are original in the sense that I start to finish designed them, but they are obviously influenced by the big swimwear trends right now. The cheeky bottom, one piece, triangle top; they’re all super popular right now and I wanted to reflect that in my designs.
A: What were some of the challenges of starting your business? Were there any people that thought you wouldn’t be able to do it as a college student?
H: There are challenges literally every day. I work on Seven like it’s my full-time job. For some reason I kept thinking it was going to get easier or less hectic once I had received the suits from the manufacturer, but that was wrong. I have never emailed, been on social media, or had so many phone calls in my entire life put together as I have in the last 10 months.
I’m sure a lot of people still think I can’t do this as a college student, but whatever, I’m doing it.
A: What were the proudest moments you’ve had with the business so far?
H: When people post in my suits!! I get so so excited every time someone who has bought a suit posts in it. That’s when I’m like, “Okay, this is all going to work out.”
A: Can you tell readers anything exciting that you are working on? Any future projects or promotions that you are looking forward to?
I just placed an order for a restock of the items I have sold out of and in new colors! I’m so excited to start getting some color in the collection. I also have already started sketching my next collection even though that won’t come out for about a year. It’s going to be super bomb though.
A: Any final thoughts?
H: I am so excited to see what the future of the brand will be because I feel like it’s changing every day. It’s my child.
Follow “Seven Swim” on Instagram and Facebook, or visit Hannah’s site Seven Swim to browse the “Fire Collection.” Pieces start at $40. Subscribe to the “Seven Swim” newsletter to find out when new products are in stock. Apply to be a Seven Babe online for discounts and ambassador perks.