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Meet our Founder

Posted by Molly Stone on

Read this interview with Voyage ATL here

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Stone.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Molly. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Currently, I am the Founder & CEO of Black Pearl Swimwear. This is a completely different industry than where I began my career. I worked retail in high school and during breaks and summers off of college, but I started my first real career after I graduated with a BA in International Relations in business development for a global language services company. We sold translation services and it was a young, fast-growth company that had a really entrepreneurial spirit, so I was given a lot of responsibility and ownership for my book of business at a really young age. It was an incredible opportunity for me to learn about sales, customer experience and really seeing full-cycle how a business is run. I really believe this first career gave me the tools and confidence that I still use today in running my own business even though now I sell swimsuits instead of language services. The core principals of quality product, excellent client service and efficient business processes are still there. I became passionate about women’s swimwear after I had my second child and I struggled to find swimwear that felt comfortable, allowed me to move around without fear of coverage issues and still looked chic. I also felt that while a lot of online shopping experiences had improved, buying swimsuits offline and online was still a disappointing and uncomfortable experience. Instead of waiting for someone else to make it better, I decided to dive in (sorry I love puns!) and make the change I wanted to see.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Building a business is never easy or without struggle so I absolutely have had challenges all along the way. The first was finding a manufacturer to bring my vision to life. I kissed many manufacturing frogs that either didn’t have the capabilities they said they did or did not follow through on what we had agreed upon. I did finally find a wonderful manufacturing partner, but it took me about two years before I brought a collection to market. Having a product-based business and being self-funded, the other biggest hurdle is cashflow. You have to invest in inventory and then use the revenue from sales to keep the business going. This forces me to be extremely discerning in my spending and is a much slower growth trajectory than companies that take outside investment, but I feel confident it is forcing me to create a sustainable business model that will stand the test of time.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Black Pearl creates swimwear focused on performance, comfort and style with a fun, uplifting shopping experience. Our first collection launched last year and primarily sells through www.blackpearlswimwear.com so we can offer competitive pricing in a direct to consumer model. We have also collaborated with boutiques, presented at industry events and The Market at Macy’s in select locations to connect with clients off-line. Black Pearl has been featured with Styled Seattle on KING5 Morning Show, BuzzFeed, Authority Magazine and USA Weekly. Women choose to swim with us for the following reasons:

1. We fit test each swimsuit on at least five real women (not-models) in varying shapes and sizes to make sure it’s comfortable and stylish for a diverse range of women’s bodies before we cut and sew in Los Angeles. Many of those women are featured on our site in un-retouched photos so you can see how the suit looks and fits in real life.

2. Each suit is made with a double layer of our super soft, ultra chlorine and sunblock/oil resistant fabric that gently hugs curves, never rides up or lets you down.

3. Our designs are the perfect blend of performance, comfort and style. We use clever design techniques to lift and support and provide additional coverage so our clients feel comfortable and confident whether lounging poolside with a tasty cocktail, chasing kiddos down the beach or making waves paddle boarding. Our swimsuits are made for real life adventures!

What were you like growing up?
I am the youngest of 3 siblings and was the family comedienne. I fell in love with reading early on and have not slowed down. I never fell in love with any particular sport or hobby and instead found myself trying a lot of different activities over the years including dance, track and a brief stint in softball (one season) but was let go when the coach said I was more interested in chasing butterflies in the outfield. I did well in school but often found myself in trouble for challenging authority and ended up leaving for college early, completing my first two years of college and earning my high school diploma at the same time so that I graduated with my BA 2 years ahead of schedule.

Pricing:

  • Swimsuits ranging from $45 to $99

Contact Info:


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