In the entrepreneurial environment that is the city of Toronto, Natalie Ahardhi and Yegi Montazer founded NYT Bikini 2 years ago. Having had a background in business, both ladies were able to transfer their skills to their venture to successfully run NYT Bikini. I had the pleasure of learning more about Natalie and Yegi’s brand, and what efforts they put in place to amplify their brand.
*Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity*
Why did you decide to start NYT Bikini? What drew you to making bikinis?
We decided to start our swimwear line 2 years ago. Our drive derived from how we continuously faced the difficulty of finding high-quality, Toronto-based swimwear at an affordable price. Our inspiration and vision struck through traveling and visiting different places around the world. We wanted to create a line that we would love to wear ourselves and share with everyone. We both knew this would be an extremely fun project to start, and we were ready for the challenge.
What’s the story behind your brand’s name?
Our brand is called “NYT Bikini”; it stands for Not Your Type. “Not Your Type” is all about confidence. A lot of thought was put into developing our name, but we wanted it to be more than just a name. Our goal is to empower other women to feel unique and special, and our brand name is a reflection of that.
Our goal is to empower other women to feel unique and special
Tell us about the planning process that goes into putting out a new collection/product.
We start with choosing fabrics and styles we both think look good. Typically 15-20 different styles are initially chosen, which is later on narrowed down to the top pieces we feel are fit for our collection. The last step in the process is that we name our bikinis in accordance with the collection they will be a part of. We differ our collections based on seasons as we like for them to vary in themes.
What is the process behind your marketing? How do you choose your models?
About 90% of our marketing is through Instagram, and we post various ads when we throw events.
When we initially started, we attended many local events to network with and meet as many people as possible, many of which have been influencers with who we have worked. Three months into the business, we held a photoshoot to showcase our items, despite the difficulty in finding the perfect location to do so.
What has been the most challenging aspect of running NYT Bikini? The most rewarding?
The most rewarding aspect of running NYT Bikini is the feedback we get from our customers. The feeling when we see customers tagging us in photos wearing our items is unmatched.
The most challenging part is growing the business. We are currently a local Toronto business, but eventually, our goal is to expand to the global market and sell internationally.
What measures of sustainability does NYT Bikini have in place or plan to put into place?
We are trying to create a future collection made of recycled fabrics in an effort to become more environmentally friendly overall. We also hope to support and give back to our community by working with charities.
What do you want your customers to take away from your brand?
It is important for us that our customers know who is behind the brand they are purchasing from. We want to feel connected with them, and have them have a connection with us. Our pop-up events have been a great way for us to build relationships with our clientele; we meet everyone and have so much fun while doing so. We are very lucky and thankful that our job allows us to consistently meet such amazing people and gain strong connections.
What’s next for NYT Bikini?
We are hoping to host more events, pop-ups, and collaborations at the start of spring. Our main goal is to do another pop-up shop with a major retail store and bring swim week to Toronto. Recently, we have collaborated with another swimwear line to create custom high-end swimwear. This line will be launching at the end of March on our website.
Do you have any advice for students who want to start their own fashion brand?
The best advice would be to never wait for the perfect moment to start your brand; just do it right away. Network with people who have already established their line and ask questions to get familiar with their job. The hardest part is always starting, but once you get your foot in the door, you will realize there are so many opportunities to grow your brand. Social media has played a large part in our business as well. It’s important to be on top of it, post frequently, use hashtags and interact with your followers. It’s never too late to start, all you need is to believe in yourself and do everything it takes to grow your brand/business.
It’s never too late to start, all you need is to believe in yourself and do everything it takes to grow your brand/business
On behalf of RCFG and myself, we would like to thank NYT Bikini for taking the time to sit down with us and have this interview. The work that Natalie and Yegi have been doing is inspirational to many young entrepreneurs who want to start their own ventures. You can learn more about them from their Instagram and Website, and purchase your own swimwear from their online store.
– Sadaf Zavar