#MotivationMonday Girlboss Edition: Eileen Bell from Bare Society
C+L: How did you come up with the name of your business?
BS: I used to cover-up my body at the beach. I wasn't embarrassed about my weight, but I was always concerned about my breasts falling out of my top. I would keep a shirt on or simply have my arms crossed so it wasn't obvious that my bathing suit didn't fit. By going "bare," I am encouraging woman to shed their cover ups and stop hiding behind bikinis that lack coverage and support. By creating a bikini designed with their body type in mind, it gives them the courage to bare their true self to the word without feeling self-conscious.
C+L: What was the light bulb moment that made you start your business?
BS: Winter break, senior year. I was with my best friend in Boston and we were talking about spring break. I was discouraged about the fact that I wouldn't be able to find a bikini that would fit, yet again, so I mentioned having someone sew a custom bikini for me. She looked at me and said, "Why don't you do it?" I quickly replied, a little puzzled, "Do what?" She replied, "You know other girls have the same problem and so do your sisters- why don't you get some made?" For whatever reason, her encouragement stuck with me the entire break and the first week I returned to school I went and pitched my idea (to make swimsuits for full-busted women) to the Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship department and he offered to be my adviser on the spot.
C+L: Your bathing suits were recently featured in Vogue! What was that like?
BS: Still surreal. When I first read the email, I immediately cried. However, moments later, I was in disbelief and thought it must be spam. After a thorough Google and LinkedIn search, I realized it was indeed a real email. To be in such an iconic magazine is truly a dream come true. It made me take a moment to reflect on how far I've come, something I do not do too often. It is all about celebrating your little wins and I could not be more grateful for my moment in Vogue.
C+L: What are some ways you put yourself in a positive mindset to achieve your business goals?
BS: What keeps me motivated are my customers. Hearing their stories and receiving messages from them in their new suits is all the motivation I need. They picked the colors this seasons and they are the force behind the brand. Recently, I was having a tough day and I opened my email to find a sweet message from a customer. She told me about her past fitting room tears and how this was the first time in her life that she felt comfortable in a bikini. I shed a tear reading her email. Aside from customers, I make it a point to disconnect from social media and my computer for a few hours each day. I workout, get fresh air, eat pretty clean, pet some dogs and I'm a happy camper.
C+L: Have you ever doubted yourself at any point of your business, and if so, how did you overcome that doubt?
BS: YES. It is impossible not to. I was so nervous to reach out to boutiques, but they ended up being the reason I have a second season. I started with small following on social media and limited press so my brand wasn't getting the exposure it needed. However, once I got into boutiques, it sold so well within the first 48 hours that they were ordering more. Every purchase order continued to get larger and larger. Before I knew it, I was selling out of styles and sizes and it was back to production I went.
C+L: If you could give a short piece of advice for someone looking to start a business, what would it be?
BS: Don't let fear paralyze you. I did for the longest time, but the second I broke that barrier, I started to see results. If it is your passion, follow it. I studied finance and went into a field fresh out of college I knew nothing about. We are all beginners at some stage in life. It all comes down to how bad you want it and how much you're willing to work for it.
C+L: What are your future plans for Bare Society?
BS: A one-piece is coming in the near future! I'm also continuing to build wholesale accounts and a larger online presence.
C+L: What is your favorite Chloe + Lois piece?
BS: I love the Moon and Star Stud Earrings.