Moshe Laniado got into the swimsuit business to earn a little beer money.
Eight years later, Laniado is the founder of Swimsuits for All, a company that focuses on swimwear for women of all different sizes. He discussed his company’s unique marketing campaign and business growth on the 40th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.
A native of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Laniado grew up alongside a family-run swimsuit business operated by his mother. She noticed when her son began selling samples from his own prospective swimsuit business on eBay.
“At the time, I was just out of school and it was a summertime job. I thought, why not, it could fuel my drinking for the next few weeks,” he said. “I discovered that a bunch of swimsuits she had in her business actually sold at a profit.”
While searching for more stable employment, Laniado continued selling his mother’s extra inventory online. After two weeks, he received more than 2,000 orders.
“I was like, what happened?” Laniado said. “It must have been cruise season.”
With that early success, Laniado put his other employment plans on hold and focused on bringing his family business into the online space. The early returns were positive, but it wasn’t long before Laniado’s company began to plateau.
“We realized there’s a real customer here, a curvy customer, who is underserved and is ignored and deserved the full experience just like any other woman out there,” he said. “At that point we made a fundamental decision to get rid of all the other categories and totally redo our business.”
The transformation didn’t take place overnight. Laniado talked about the challenges of hiring new staff and communicating the company’s new direction to consumers. Swimsuit for All also needed to hire a new technology partner, photographers and implement their new merchandising strategy.
The results were dramatic, with increased customer satisfaction matched only by Laniado’s passion for his company and its new direction.
“We’re not just selling textiles here,” he said. “This is not just a swimsuit, this is an emotive experience, this is life and swimsuits are an important part of life.”
But he’s still working on growing Swimsuits for All, in what has traditionally been considered a seasonal retail market.
“When you’re exposure is national and international, it’s a year-round business,” he said. “We even have a big Australia business, so their seasons are opposite.”
Navigating an evolving consumer market has seen Swimsuits for All build on their online foundation. Laniado plans to continue expanding with a range of sizes that provide more options for the “American woman” – a term Laniado believes should encompass a variety of ages and sizes – with their ideal swimsuit.
Part of that evolution has seen the company land in the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue with plus-size model Ashley Graham.
“If I had to estimate, with all the press reports and everything, we probably got 100 million eyeballs on this,” he said. “From there, we just kept going.”