Fashion

Peixoto swimwear founder holds monthly Beach workouts with fans

CrossFit trainer Callienne Elterman tosses a weighted sandbag with Peixoto founder Mauricio Exquenazi at the Peixoto Fit Series workout Saturday, June 11.
CrossFit trainer Callienne Elterman tosses a weighted sandbag with Peixoto founder Mauricio Exquenazi at the Peixoto Fit Series workout Saturday, June 11. sasmith@miamiherald.com

It was a bright, sweaty morning on Miami Beach. Six early-risers gathered on the sand at 8:30 a.m. for a free workout hosted by Peixoto (pronounced pay-show-toh), a Miami-based swimwear company.

On the second Saturday of each month, Peixoto founder Mauricio Esquenazi can be found working out in the sand with “fans” of the brand.

“We don’t want to talk to our fans,” Esquenazi, 31, said June 11. “We want to engage with them.”

The series was born when Esquenazi and Peixoto’s social media strategist Kirstin Barton were thinking of ways to reach their customer base. Barton said Peixoto’s buyers are mostly active women who want to stay fit, so they thought offering workouts led by women trainers would result in a stronger connection with customers.

“People really appreciate when you want to offer them something and do something with them,” said Barton, 28.

The decision to hold workouts on the beach was made to harmonize the swimwear with the fit series.

“It’s a much more organic connection between the swimsuit lines and us saying ‘come work out with us.’” said Barton. “It just brings it all together.”

Esquenazi wanted to stress that he doesn’t just design his suits just for thin, athletic women, but for those who want to look “sexy, but not trashy.”

“The swimsuits are made for everybody and every body type,” Esquenazi said. “But it’s how you feel in Peixoto that’s going to translate into how you look.”

He also wanted to impart the feeling of a good workout to those who would appreciate it — so the series is open for men to attend, too.

“We just don’t recommend that the men wear Peixoto,” Barton said. “Especially the cheeky bottoms.”

To show the versatility of his swimwear, Esquenazi gave a free swimsuit to a woman at each session who posted on social media using #PeixotoFitSeries. Most of the women in attendance wore pieces they bought from the Peixoto line, including fitness instructor Callienne Elterman, who led a CrossFit workout that combined aerobics and equipment like sandbags and resistance cords.

Barton met Elterman at CrossFit Wynwood, where she instructs fitness classes and asked her to lead one of the Fit Series workouts.

“I’ve been looking to pair with a fitwear company, so it’s honestly perfect timing,” said Elterman, 31.

The other four women in attendance heard about the FitSeries through Barton at their book club.

As a way of staying social and fit at the same time, Kristina Toth, who works in field marketing for Publix, said the fit series was a win-win.

“It’s another way to get together and work out,” said Toth, 29. “It’s like killing two birds with one stone.”

The diversity of workouts included in the fit series was also a plus for attendees, such as Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Stacy Turansky.

“The concept of the Fit Series is cool because you get to experience different workout styles and different instructors from different studios,” said Turansky, 30.

Doctor of audiology Jillian Gerstenberger, 31, agreed.

“It’s kind of like Crossfit,” she said about the series. “It gets you out of your routine.”

For Lindsy Caballero, a 27-year-old Airbus communications specialist, attending the fit series was a way for her to support Esquenazi and his brand, which he developed in 2011.

The Colombian-born designer founded Peixoto while working as an account executive at Rabinovici and Associates, a marketing company with offices in Miami. But it was fashion, rather than marketing, that called to him.

“I’ve always been passionate about the apparel industry,” Esquenazi said. “I was fascinated by the change of seasons and it’s always new, it’s always changing.”

Inspired by conversations with friends and family about the difficulty of finding a well-priced swimsuit that also fit well, Esquenazi created a small collection of bikinis and one-pieces. At his first trade show the aspiring designer secured five clients.

He said he decided on his way back from the show in Orlando to embrace the fashion world fully.

“I told my mom that, I think if I want to pursue this I need to quit my job.”

Esquenazi put together a budget and, after two weeks, did just that.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, which I think is very normal when you’re starting out on your own, especially,” Esquenazi said.

Five years later, Peixoto and Little Peixoto, Esquenazi’s youth line, can be found at more than 170 online or brick-and-mortar stores across the globe.

Just like he wants his line to expand, so does he want the number of people attending the workouts to grow.

“We want to spread the word about the Fit Series so every time we do it it gets bigger and we can open it up for more people,” he said.

If you go

▪ What: Peixoto Fit Series

▪ Where: InterContinental Miami hotel pool, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami

▪ When: July 9, 9:30 a.m.

Enter a swimsuit giveaway by taking a photo at the event and tagging it #PeixotoFitSeries.

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