2020 has been the year none of us, except a few expert scientists perhaps, saw coming. Every single person on the planet has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are those who have had to face it everyday at work and at home and others who have been lucky enough to not come face to face with the virus but still very much feel it's effects every time they step out their front door.
There are of course some industries which have been hit harder than others in the pandemic. The travel industry has ground to a halt for over a year and I can't help but wonder how long it will take to ever get back to how it used to be. Both the summer and winter industries have been wiped out. Ski slopes in Europe are completely closed for the season and sunny holiday destinations like the BVI had to shut their borders for 8 months to keep the tourists, and the virus, away.
I think the only clothing market that is doing well this year is PPE! Otherwise the closure of high street stores has decimated this sector. Unfortunately, this is the category that Corallina Swim falls under. Bikinis are not high up many peoples priority lists in the middle of a pandemic. Except for mine of course. Every time I walk into my room aka my office, I see boxes of bikinis. I remember the day I brought home those boxes. I was so optimistic and enthusiastic about my product. I loved my bikinis and I was sure that so many of you would love them too. And you did! The first few years were slow, as to be expected with a start up business but the bikinis were going out to their new homes as well as to boutiques and shops in the BVI.
Then COVID came along and there was just no way to market a bikini to people stuck in their houses. I am lucky though that my bikinis do not come with a sell by date. That's one of the best things about my bikinis, they last for years! So, next year my bikinis will still be as perfect as this year. All I can do is cross my fingers and toes and hope that we will be allowed to holiday again soon and my bikinis will be just what people are looking for!
Following on from our previous article, "Why is Loving You so Hard to do", we're super excited to announce our new campaign #showmy. The idea behind the campaign is to give women the confidence to come forward and tell us about something you love about yourself which you get to show the world when you're wearing a bikini. It could be a physical feature, a goal, an achievement, something that makes you happy, something someone said to you, a motivation, a love... anything is your life that makes you happy.
We've picked some of our own to give you some ideas.
Starting with myself, Cara Brown:
By showing what you're proud of we want to encourage other women to be proud of themselves to give them more confidence.
So if you have something you're proud of and would like to share with us then post it using #showmy or send us an email or a message on social media!
Your picture doesn't have to be in Corallina Swim, just pick your favourite bikini shot and tell us what you're proud of.
Ever wondered what one of Britains fastest women on snow and on water have in common...or what they don't?! We caught up with Cara Brown, 5x British Alpine Ski Champion and owner of Corallina Swim and Maddy Anderson, member of the GB kitefoil team and one of GB’s star athletes aiming for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Maddy is also Corallina Swim’s first “athlete” and we can’t wait to see her repping Corallina Swim!
How did you get into Kitesurfing/skiing?
What big competitions have you got coming up?
What are some of your long and short term goals?
What do you get up to when you’re not training?
How many days a week do you train?
What different kinds of races do you do?
How many races do you compete in every season?
What are your best results to date?
How many Kites and boards/Skis and poles do you use in a year?
What does a typical training day look like?
What do you do for fitness for your sport?
Have you had any injuries?
What have you had to sacrifice for your sport?
What’s the best part of your sport?
What’s the worst part of your sport?
What does it feel like when you perform well at a race?
What’s the worst/toughest conditions you’ve trained in?
Favourite place to train/compete?
What would you do if you weren't a skier/kitesurfer?
Recently we attended the Kitesurfing Armada on Hayling Island in the UK. It was a brilliant event that brought together the best of kitesurfing in the UK. Despite the lack of wind over the weekend, with the sun shining it had a great vibe and the pros were still out showing their skills on the foils. For Corallina Swim it was also the first time that we presented our bikinis directly to the public and we got to hear your feedback, good and bad. We loved hearing that you thought our prints were brilliant and you loved the bright colours. We understand that one of the biggest negatives was the price of our bikinis but it was great to hear that those of you that ended up trying on our bikinis understood that the reason for the price was our great quality fabric and great fit. Having only two people across the weekend try on a bikini and not buy was a great success! Nevertheless, we are always trying to find ways to bring down the prices of our bikinis for you. Corallina Swim was built off a love of bikinis and our aim will always be to spread them as far as possible, to as many people as possible.
However, what I really wanted to talk about it this blog was not to do with our product but rather a reflection on what people thought of themselves when they saw the bikinis. If I had a dollar for every person who came to the stand and said “oh I could never wear that” then I could probably close up shop and retire right now. As someone who is always trying to find bikinis that flatter and fit all shapes and sizes it was so frustrating to hear women putting themselves down before they’d even touched a bikini! And ladies, listen to your partners, 50% of the bikinis that were sold were down to the partner telling you how amazing you looked when you were trying to convince yourself otherwise!
Now I don’t want you to think that I’m being naïve, I fully understand that all women have bits of their body they would rather not share, I do too! I also know that bikinis don’t give much coverage but how do you prove to somebody that every body is a bikini body when they won’t even put the bikini on their body!?
From the beginning of Corallina Swim, we have never used stereotypical models in our campaigns. The aim has been to use real girls who can give our customers a real sense of what they will look like in our swimwear. I can promise you that the only editing done on our models its changing brightness and contrast but we never ever edit their gorgeous bodies. Lots of girls came to the stand who were bigger and smaller than our models and convinced themselves, without trying on a bikini, that they would never look as good as the girls on the banner!
My feeling was that the following sentences have been engrained into our brains by society like they’re the “correct” things to say. Ladies would say “I could never fit in that”, “I would look awful in that”, “I’d be hanging out of that one” in the same way as we’re taught to say please and thank yous. Ladies, if we want to spread movements like “Me too” and equality then it has to start from a little self-love. So, when you go shopping next time, whether it be bikinis or winter jackets, I dare you to say “why don’t I give that a go” or “that colour would look great with my eyes” before you let you judge yourself so harshly.
And when you’re ready to show off your unique beautiful body, Corallina Swim will still be here to make you feel like the star you are!
We’d love to know what you think about this article, comment below, send us an email or message on social media!
With this blog we wanted to share some of our favourite organisations in the BVI that are doing amazing things to give back to the community. Whether they be helping rehome dogs or people or simply doing their part to make sure the island stays plastics free and beautiful we think they deserve a shout out! If you are visiting the islands then make sure you check them out and if you have your own favourite then let us know in the comments below!
Inspired by the BVI? Want to play your part? The best way to do this is to pay a visit to the islands! Check out our last blog to find your perfect charter company. Make sure to follow the above pages via the social media links to add tropical vibes to your feeds!
Did you get our most recent email from Corallina Swim about Horizon Yacht Charters? If you didn’t then you should be subscribing to our mailing list to keep up to date with all Corallina Swim and BVI news.
You might be wondering why you got an email from a bikini company about a yacht charter company in the British Virgin Islands. You’d be right to wonder... read on!
My family have had a yacht with Horizon Yacht Charters for more than 15 years and without Horizon, my bikini company, Corallina Swim wouldn’t exist.
When I was 7 years old my parents told me that we were going on holiday to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. I thought it sounded brilliant but of course I had no idea what the Caribbean even was! Turns out, it was a little corner of paradise just a plane ride away. My eyes couldn’t believe the colour of the water or the soft white sand I curled my toes in. Sailing in the BVI and waking up in a new bay on a different island every day was magical.
My dad had always been a keen sailor and it didn’t take him long to decide to realise his dream of owning a sailing boat in the Caribbean. As I was in school and my parents were both working, we knew the boat would only be used a few weeks of the year.
Owning a boat is a bit like owning a pet, it requires constant love and attention! We needed a company to look after our pride and joy when we couldn’t be there. My dad came across Horizon Yacht Charters a company run by passionate and hard-working sailors. It only took one phone call for my dad to know that this was the right company and he bought our first boat, named Hakuna Matata, with Horizon, back in 2002. 5 years later it was time for an upgrade and Hakuna Matata left to a new home in St Martin when we bought Hakuna Matata 2, again from Horizon Yacht Charters.
Hakuna Matata 2 was a wonderful boat and I have the most amazing childhood memories on it. We sailed it all over the Caribbean, exploring island after island, discovering all the jewels the British Virgin Islands has to offer. There were numerous times when we had dolphins dancing in the bow waves and we were even fortunate enough to spot whales on one occasion. My passion for the underwater world largely came from this boat and the treasures I discovered by jumping off the deck into the warm Caribbean Sea. Eagle rays, octopus, tropical fish, barracuda and even the odd shark or two! Hakuna Matata 2 reached retirement age so we said goodbye and along came Hakuna Matata 3 in 2017.
By this time, I had decided to start my bikini company with designs inspired by the beautiful BVI. Hakuna Matata 3 was the first place my gorgeous local BVI models tried on Corallina Swim designs and it’s officially Corallina Swim’s “BVI headquarters”.
16 years on and Horizon is still the same hard working and caring company. Their years of experience in the business insure an incredible attention to detail for your holiday if you are renting or for the management of your yacht if you're an owner. They have bases in the St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and the British Virgin Islands, where Hakuna Matata 3 lives!
Horizon gave me the opportunity to discover the world that brought Corallina Swim to life. If you are looking for a really unforgettable holiday, one you can treasure with friends and family forever, then head to Horizon Yacht Charters. Plus, if you book your holiday with Horizon and mention Corallina Swim, we’ll make sure you have a brand-new bikini for your holiday!
Cara Brown, (@caratheskier), owner and designer of Corallina Swim wearing Carval Top and Ginger Bottom in Hak Mat, stood on Hakuna Matata 3 in the BVI
You should recognise Erin from her gorgeous shots in our bikinis around the BVI but have you ever wondered what life is really like in the Caribbean?!
With a mum from St Thomas, USVI and a dad from Hamilton, Scotland you could say she international but her heart lies in the BVI where she was born nearly 23 years ago.
Her family business is the world famous Willy T, the best floating bar in world but despite it being a huge part of her life she's made her own way, studying in the States and creating her own career path!
When did your family move to the BVI?
My mum moved to Tortola when she was 12 (all the way from St. Thomas, USVI!) and my dad moved to Cooper Island in 1982.
What are you up to in life at the moment?
Right now I am on winter break sitting on a balcony in the Bahamas drinking a cold Corona. In life I am currently a senior (graduating in May!) studying Applied Psychology and Human Development with a concentration in Working with Special Needs at Boston College. As well as studying, I work at a school for 3-21 year olds with multiple, severe disabilities and plan to get my Masters in Severe Disabilities and work with children both with and without special needs.
What’s your best childhood memory growing up in the BVI?
This is definitely a difficult question, but if I had to choose just one I would have say that my best memory would have to be the adventures I had with friends at Nanny Cay (a marina on Tortola). No matter what, you could always find a group of us there causing mayhem. We used to build forts in the mangroves and Kayak through the little water ways, catch and eat fish, have clay fights, and swing into the water with our home made swing. Whatever you can think of we did it. We always found something new and fun to do in Nanny Cay. We used to snorkel the reef just off of the beach, jump off of the bridge, bike everywhere and fish under the bridge with our tiny hand reels. I feel really fortunate to have grown up not only in the BVI, but also in a generation where iPads and phones weren’t available or accessible. We just learned to explore and be adventurous on our own. I will always cherish my upbringing in the BVI.
What’s does a normal day in the BVI look like for you?
I don’t think there is such thing as a normal day in the BVI! Whenever I am home it's usually for vacation from school at the moment, so that means I try to cram in as much fun as I can. I am either doing a day trip to Jost Van Dyke, tanning on the beach, catching up with friends at lunch or crazy nights out, or helping my dad out at his bar, The Willy T. You can always find something fun to do and there is always someone to do it with.
What's the best thing about living on an island?
Having lived in a couple of cities, I think I have realized that one of the best things about living on an island is the ‘chill’ lifestyle. I rarely stress when I am at home because the lifestyle isn’t as fast paced and crazy as it is elsewhere. Likewise, because of the small population, the community that has been created is something that I am so proud to be a part of. No matter where you go you always bump into someone you know and someone is always available to help you when needed. It just feels like being a part of an extended family. Everyone loves one another, helps one another, and comes together in times of need.
What's the worst?
Things aren’t as easily accessible as they are in other parts of the world and it takes a little longer and is usually harder to get things that may be needed. Also because of the ‘chill’ lifestyle that I mentioned as a plus, sometimes service is a little slow and maybe even too relaxed. The small community also means that knowing the right people can benefit you, so when you don’t know the right people you may struggle a little.
Where's your favourite place in the BVI?
Everywhere! (haha). On a serious note I would have to say my favourite place in the BVI is the bridge on Anegada. My dad, brothers and I would go fishing there on family trips when I was really little, so every time I go back it's very nostalgic.
What's the best "locals" hangout?
It used to be The Cab before hurricane Irma hit. No matter what night it was you could always find someone you knew there having a drink. You could always rely on The Cab for a good night with good people. Since the hurricane, however, there hasn’t been a specific hangout spot. I think we’re still trying to figure that out!
Has the Willy T always been a part of your life?
Yes. My grandparents on my mother’s side actually started it in 1985 and eventually my dad began running it with them. However, 10 years later in 1995 that boat unfortunately sank. The second one was ‘born’ in 1996 just one month before I was born and was beached during Irma. Our newest boat was brought down around June from Louisiana and is incredible. Having just written this down I have come to realize that no matter happens, whether it be a hurricane or simply sinking, we will always find another Willy T and it will always be a part of our life.
If you had to guess, how many times do you think you’ve jumped off Willy T?
Well, my dad started throwing me off the Willy T when I was 6, so I’ve been jumping off of it for 16 years. Let’s say 500 times!
What does the Willy T mean to you?
Right now it means my tuition (haha!). But in all honesty it’s a pretty big part of my dad’s identity. Without the Willy T I truly have no idea what he would do and how it would impact him and his everyday life. I think my dad will keep the Willy T going until the day he dies (he will never retire!). To me the Willy T is a part of the family. Every single one of my family members who live in the BVI has, at some point in their life, worked on the Willy T for. We have had birthday parties on it, regattas ceremonies, and even gone on family trips there. It’s a pretty sweet spot to let your hair down and forget about everything.
Which is your favourite Corallina Bikini?
I absolutely love the Ginger top and bottoms. They fit so perfectly and I am more comfortable in them than I have been in many other bikinis (and trust me I have had a fair few bikinis in my lifetime). It’s hard to find the right one, so it was nice to finally find something that was comfortable and sexy.
Which is your favourite Corallina print?
I would have to say the Hak Mak print is my favourite. I think the print is gorgeous and really captures the Caribbean!
I'm sure many of you remember that before the launch of the first season we did an interview with A Little Bikini, aka Adriana Valencia aka bikini goddess!
So once our collection came out we sent A Little Bikini her favourite Corallina bikini. You can read what she thought about our bikinis on her website.
Adriana wears the Ginger top and Carval bottoms in Hak Mat, size S.
Welcome to Corallina Swim’s first season! I’m super excited that you’ve found your way to our website and I hope you enjoy discovering our bright prints and vibrant designs. I’ve written this blog to give you an insight into the inspiration behind this collection and what brought it all together.
When I started sketching bikini designs I had a good idea of the different styles I wanted to offer people. It was important for me to create a range of styles to suit everybody’s needs. In this first collection you’ll find three different ranges of booty coverage. Our Cooper bottom gives the most coverage for the more modest Corallina Crew member, our Guana and Ginger bottoms offer mid-coverage and if you’re feeling extra cheeky then our Carval bottom is the one for you.
The Cooper top is designed for going straight from the beach to the beach bar and works brilliantly as a crop top, super cute paired with high waisted shorts or a skirt. Of course, it’s also designed for swimming and comes with removable straps to make sure you’re comfortable underwater. It comes with padding and underwire and is specially designed for smaller busted ladies. The Guana top takes the classic triangle bikini and adds a Corallina twist with unique plaits across the back. The top is reversible but also padded! Our Carval and Ginger tops have no padding but they are designed to comfortably hug you so they won’t be going anywhere when you jump into water. They’re also both completely reversible. The Ginger top is the most comfortable sports bra you’ll ever own with some cheeky cut outs on either side. The Carval top ties in oversized bows around the neck and around your back but keep an eye out on our social media for all the way it can be worn (which are a lot!).
All our designs are named after islands in the British Virgin Islands. Cooper island sits on the south side of Sir Francis Drake channel which runs through the middle of the BVI. Its Manchioneel bay is a popular stop for boats and it’s sea turtle paradise! Guana Island is a private island and nature reserve and gets its name from it’s shape which looks like an iguana! (Check it out on google maps!) My favourite island is Ginger island. It’s uninhabited, mainly due to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get ashore except for through a narrow gap in the middle of a coral reef. If you have a spare $6million it’s up for sale… Finally, Carval rock, has some of the most amazing underwater life in the British Virgin Islands. If you head out south from it the first thing you'll hit is South America so it’s a great spot for big fish and shark spotting.
Each bikini style comes in two patterns. Our patterns are completely inspired by the BVI. The Hak Mat print is actually named after my sailing boat, Hakuna Matata, which sunk in the devastating hurricane Irma in September 2017. It’s nice to know that even though my boat can’t sail anymore then it still sailing through the waves on my bikinis. The Happy Hour print draws inspiration from sunset drinks on BVI beaches. Although it’s hard to believe, the blue in the Angelfish print is exactly the colour of the water surrounding Anegada, the BVI's northern most island, which is surrounded by an 18mile long coral reef. Lastly, the Caribee print encapsulates the BVI with bright sunshine and palm trees.
All the pieces in this collection are sold separately so you can mix and match sizes, styles and prints. As 3 of the designs are also reversible you can even mix different patterns. The reversed Sunshine yellow of angelfish looks great with Happy Hour, Hak Mat or Caribee and the Tropical pink of Happy Hour looks great with Angelfish and Hak Mat. With so many reversible designs and colours you can create your own unique look.
In our menu at the top of this page you’ll find all the information you need regarding sizing and fabric care. You can also find our exchange policy just in case your bikini doesn’t fit quite right. If you have any questions then please send me an email at email@example.com or message us on facebook, Instagram or twitter! Make sure you’re also following our social media to find out about exclusive deals, sales and competitions. We can’t wait to see you all in your new bikinis and we hope you love the collection as much as we do!
I think my reason for starting a bikini brand is a perfect example of how you never know just what life is going to throw at you. In summer 2017 I bought more bikinis than I could count on one hand and definitely spent more money than is normal to spend on such small pieces of fabric! Eventually my boyfriend at the time said to me, why don’t you just make your own? I can’t tell you exactly what my first thought was but it definitely wasn’t “excellent idea, I’ll get started”. But without realising it, a small lightbulb had been lit in my head and I started sketching out a few ideas. I had never sketched a bikini before in my life. Day by day more ideas formed but it took a few months before the inspiration for my collection came to me. By that point, in my head I was in too deep to back out so I started researching what I needed to do to bring my designs to life. Nearly a year later the magic is about to happen… My bikinis are on their way!
There were a few things I had in mind when I started my brand which I wanted to make happen. I wanted to create designs that would make women feel comfortable, I didn’t want anyone thinking “oh I don’t know if I could wear that”. So, I created a range of styles that I hope gives everyone a choice. I also wanted to make my swimwear affordable. I bought my own swimwear from either Instagram or high street shops. In shops I spent less than 20 euros and the swimwear only lasted a summer before it stretched or faded. At the other end of the scale I spent over 150 euros on bikinis on Instagram that were gorgeous and lasted a few years (most of the time) but I mean over 150 euros for a bikini?! So, I wanted to bridge the gap in the market by bringing high quality swimwear to the world without breaking the bank. I didn’t even know if this was possible… but it turns out it is! Now I look at swimwear online and see the crazy prices that some brands ask for their designs when I now know how little they cost to produce...
Growing up I was very fortunate to spend my childhood holidays sailing in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. I think it’s paradise on earth. It is such a beautiful place, the islands range from idyllic white sand beaches and palm trees to tropical forests with huge cliffs that the Atlantic waves crash against. The islands have an incredible underwater life due to their enclosed nature. There are thousands of coral reefs that are home to millions of fish and the deep water channel that runs between the islands is home to whales, dolphins and sharks. I wanted the share this wonderful place with the rest of the world and so I’ve tried to bring a piece of paradise into all the prints and designs in my first collection.
I’ve also kept the complete production of my swimwear based in Italy, which is where I call home. My production is done in a wonderful family run factory. The son runs the business side, the daughter is the seamstress and the Mum has so many years of experience in the swimwear industry. I’m really proud that my business is helping support other local businesses whilst keeping my carbon footprint low too!