Business Monday

Startup Spotlight

IN THE SWIM: KK Swimwear owner and designer Natalia Garcia, seated left, with three little fashionistas, Arianna Mejia, 3, left, Garcia's daughter Kassandra Garcia, 4, and Daila  Beasley, 2, modeling her collection at her Hialeah Gardens headquarters.
IN THE SWIM: KK Swimwear owner and designer Natalia Garcia, seated left, with three little fashionistas, Arianna Mejia, 3, left, Garcia's daughter Kassandra Garcia, 4, and Daila Beasley, 2, modeling her collection at her Hialeah Gardens headquarters. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

KK Swimwear

Headquarters: Hialeah Gardens

Concept: Where little girls meet fashion.

Story: Designer Natalia Garcia believes that every little girl should feel beautiful inside and out. The mission of her young company, KK Swimwear, is to promote self esteem while teaching little girls that inner beauty is what really matters. Her fun designs for girls’ swimsuits come in lots of colors and patterns and can be mixed and matched, and she incorporates her Latin heritage, her South Florida roots and her love for fashion and themes into every design.

KK Swimwear was inspired by Garcia's 3-year-old daughter, Kassandra, who loves to dance, sing and play dress up, qualities that help define the vibrant collection. KK Swimwear began creating swimwear in 2012 and beachwear in 2013. Garcia’s 2015 collection, for sizes 3-6 months to 14/16, consists of 40 styles, including one-piece swimsuits, bikinis, tankinis and boy shorts.

Launched: 2012

Website: www.kkswimwear.com

Management team: Natalia Garcia/owner, CEO and co-designer; Flora Gonzalez, operations manager; Gianna Garcia, co-designer.

Number of employees: Three

Financing: “I started the concept with $1,000 and now we have over 50 designs available online,” Garcia said. “We would like to keep this a family-owned and operated business so we don't plan on seeking investors at this point.”

Recent milestones reached: More than 40 little fashionistas modeling KK Swimwear designs. Moved from home to small office and now operating in a larger warehouse/office. Started with only five designs and have now over 50 designs, not including custom orders, in sizes from 3 months to 16. Held three local fashion shows, plus participated in shows for charities. “I have also created mommy-and-me designs for my collection,” Garcia said. “I started off by selling locally to family and friends, then referrals. We now are selling orders all over the U.S.”

Biggest startup challenge: Going from personally making clothes to filling weekly orders and looking for the right manufacturer. “A manufacturer that keeps your designs just as you envisioned is hard to find,” she said. “I was able to find someone locally.”

Next step: KK Swimwear now sells through the website Etsy and Facebook, but retail stores are next as Garcia works to build up the brand.

Strategy for next step: Garcia is talking to boutiques, attending trade shows and contacting buyers locally and internationally.

Nancy Dahlberg

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