Brittany Johnson is a bonafide entrepreneur. While growing up in Kingston, and attending the St Andrew High School for girls, she was selling candies, and making tie-dye shirts and selling them to her friends for $200 a piece. She knew that she would eventually have her own business but wasn’t quite sure what it would be.
One day, in her early twenties, she decided to make a dress, using a sewing machine that was laying around the house. “On a whim, I went to the fabric store and chose a fabric that I liked. Mind you, at this time I knew nothing about fabric types or textures…Nothing! I went home and used a dress that I already had as a pattern and remade it in the fabric that I had just bought,” she said.
She received rave reviews about the dress and was now bent on honing her skills. She made more dresses, skirts, and pants, before transitioning into swimwear.
She decided to focus solely on swimwear three years ago by launching Miakalani Swim, and Johnson has no regrets. “Miakalani Swim has evolved to the point where my clients can identify a Miakalani Swim piece,” she told BUZZ.
With its detailed cuts, bright colours, and bold prints, Miakalani Swim is designed to make a woman feel confident and secure. “All my pieces are lined with a four-way stretch material, stretched and curves perfectly with the spandex and keeps the goodies from printing when the swimsuit gets wet,” she said.
Customers can choose from a wide range of designs from conservative to sexy.
‘I love what I do and I only see Miakalani Swim growing and becoming a household name internationally’.—Johnson
Full time job
The 29-year-old businesswoman said Miakalani Swim is her full-time job, and her dedication to the collection has been rewarded with extensive growth. “I plan to start using the services of a manufacturer to assist in production of my designs as the demand has grown. Also, within the next few months, I will be adding new products to reach a wider target market. I plan to expand to other markets such as men’s beach and resort wear, more mature women and a ‘mommy and me’ line,” she said.
From its aesthetically pleasing website, customers can place their orders and have their swimwear delivered locally or internationally. For local clients, physical space is provided in Kingston for them to see and try on pieces before making a purchase. The cost of each piece range from US $60 to US $120.
Loves what she does
But the success Johnson is now experiencing came with its fair share of challenges, and more lessons. “I’ve learnt that good customer service is paramount when running a business. When your body is spent you cannot do your job efficiently. Take a break from time to time to unwind,” she said.
But Johnson shared that she has thoroughly enjoyed the process. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love what I do and I only see Miakalani Swim growing and becoming a household name internationally,” she said.
That’s why she’s encouraging other budding entrepreneurs with great ideas, to take the leap. “Dive in and don’t look back. There will be a lot of trial and error, but don’t let that deter you. And find a good mentor, someone who can offer advice and support when you may need it,” she said.