Seven collections, one fitness program and close to half a million followers later, vivacious and down-to-earth Karina Irby is one of the most influential figures on Gold Coast’s fashion designer scene – not to mention her strong national and global presence within the world of swimwear. Just as determined and dedicated to her mission of sending a body positive message to all women, Karina had a chat with Readcity about her long journey to small business success.
“First and foremost, I just love bikinis. I have always lived, travelled to and wanted to be, at the beach. Bikinis are my favourite item of clothing. Throughout my teenage years, I always had a huge interest in cheekier-cut swimwear, and especially those with bold, unique designs. Unfortunately, there weren’t many brands producing the styles I wanted, or my friends wanted, or at least not in Australia at that point in time. I would be endlessly hunting, either online or in retail outlets, trying to find the perfect cut bikini with the perfect pattern.”
“It wasn’t until a holiday in Hawaii where I started to see a few more brands heading in the direction I was interested in. One thing led to another and I began wholesaling for a Hawaiian company that attempted to satisfy the growing demand for cheekier cut, eye-catching swimwear. This only lasted for a short period of time as I began to grow confidence in the designs that I had in my head and desired more and more control of the business model. The company I was wholesaling for actually wanted me to become their exclusive Australian distributor, but I felt, more and more, that I wanted total control of the design, marketing and sales process.”
Moana began as a way to create swimwear that I personally, wanted to wear, but wasn’t being manufactured by the major brands in the industry. However since it began, seven years ago, it has become so much more than that; it’s a lifestyle choice for females now and the brand embodies so many positive, empowering values.
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