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Meet Pauline Le of Salt and Coco Swimwear in Downtown LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pauline Le.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I always knew that when I was young, I wanted to grow up and be in the fashion world. When I was in high school, my mom told me I needed to go out there and get a job, and so I landed a position at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) as the Front Desk Receptionist. Every day I would see these students walking through the door pursuing their dreams in becoming a fashion designer, brand manager, etc., and it really helped make me realize that THAT was exactly what I wanted to do. I decided to go the safe route and went on to college and graduated with a finance degree because I knew I wanted to own my own business (maybe even multiple) and would eventually figure out a way to create my own brand.

I worked at FIDM for about four and half years and my business partner Vivian was also a student at FIDM. She graduated with a degree in Fashion Design and at the time, our mutual friend connected us because she knew we both wanted to start our own brand. When I met with Vivian, we instantly clicked and realized that we were a perfect match for this partnership, because she specialized in design and product management and I specialized in marketing and operations. We started to meet a couple of times each week and eventually designed our first collection and decided to fly to Asia to find a factory. We spent a month in Asia, visited a bunch of factories in China, Vietnam, and Bali and decided to move forward with production in Bali because we fell in love with their way of production. They strongly promoted ethical manufacturing and the use of sustainable material, which opened our eyes and made us realize that we want to help the environment and start a fully sustainable brand. We now use all sustainable fabric made from recycled ocean plastic for our swimsuits and all repurposed material for our packaging. This is our story and we want to help set a good example for our world in hopes of promoting a more sustainable lifestyle.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Our journey has been far from smooth, but we definitely learned so much from every single experience and any successful business or brand definitely goes through their struggles and challenges to get to where they are today.

Some (if not, most) of the main struggles we dealt with were the process of production with the factory overseas and TIMING. Timing is so important, which is why we understand now that everything needs to be planned way ahead of time and deadlines are to be met. This is so that production can be done on time and things don’t get pushed back or else everything gets pushed back. We definitely played around with time and there were many delays with production on our first collection, which set us back almost six months from our launch date. We were beginners and we didn’t know that factories have their special holidays and take a month off of work in February, but we know now and know exactly how to plan for the production of our future collections!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Salt and Coco Swimwear – what should we know?
Salt and Coco Swimwear is a fully sustainable/eco-friendly brand that is produced in Bali and is made out of recycled ocean plastic. I am the co-founder and I specialize in marketing and operations, whereas my partner Vivian is the genius designer / creative director behind Salt and Coco.

First and foremost, we wanted to start a brand with a purpose, so we decided to commit to helping the environment by producing all of our swimsuits with sustainable material. We have so much love and respect for our planet (as everyone should), and we hope we can show the world with our pieces that you can be environmentally conscious and still look damn good in bikinis that are made out of repurposed material!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Consistency and patience. Having your own business is tough and if you aren’t consistent with your work, it can fall apart really fast. My mentor always told me to “trust the process,” and honestly, I never really understood what that phrase really meant until I was living in it, and now it makes so much sense. I am much more patient now and understand that there will be many failures and times of frustration, but every business goes through it and you just have to figure out how to work with it and grow from it.

Pricing:

  • Bikini set – $110
  • One piece – $90
  • Swim trunks – $65

Contact Info:

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