• Hand-painted designs | Crafted by Colombian artisans

Voyage MIA Interview with Sol Y Mar's Founders

The following is a repost from a Voyage MIA article featuring an interview with our founders, Emily and Nicole. 


Today we'd like to introduce you to Emily Clower and Nicole Cisneros.

Emily and Nicole, can you briefly walk us through your story- how you started and how you got to where you are today.

Emily: I've always had a love for fashion, art, and sewing. In high school, my dream was to open a swimwear store where I would hand sew everything. However, I decided to push that aside and focus on another "more dependable" passion- working in healthcare. Even though I absolutely love being a nurse, studying design, patterns, and aesthetics has always been a second passion of mine. I guess you could say that I was always itching for a way to express my creativity in my daily life.

Nicole and I started Sol y Mar Beachwear after a trip to Colombia where we were in awe of the natural beauty and the artisanal artwork. We wanted to pay homage to the rich colors, the biodiversity, and the culture by creating beautiful pieces that take you on a journey without even having to buy a plane ticket.

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?

Nicole: It has not been a smooth road at all. There are some things that just seem to happen for us, but most of it has been a struggle. I'd say that some of our biggest struggles are with time management. Because we just started this company, Emily and I are both in school and work day jobs in addition to having Sol y Mar. We literally have to work 20 hours a day sometimes in order to fit everything in, and that does wonders on our stress level.

So let's switch gears a bit and go into the Sol y Mar Beachwear story. Tell us more about the business.

Nicole: We specialize in eco-friendly, original, Colombian handmade swimwear. Our patterns are designed by an artist, and all of our suits are handmade in Colombia. We try to decrease our carbon footprint by using biodegradable mailers that decompose within six months as opposed to hundreds of years. We are currently working on adding more sustainable fabrics to our collection-that is something that we'd like to incorporate into our collection by next year.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were just starting out?

Emily: I think the most important thing is to just get started - you learn and adapt as you go, but you'll never get anywhere if you don't start. I don't think there is ever a moment when you'll feel 100% ready and prepared for anything that is really worth doing.

However, with that being said, there are a few things that we probably would've done differently if we had to start over. I'd have to say that starting off with a lot more inventory would have made our lives so much easier. It is hard to gauge how much you're going to sell and how long it'll take to make those sales when you're first starting off. 

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