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!
Adriana Valencia loves bikinis and she knows what she’s talking about! Luckily for the rest of us, she loves writing and shares her bikini wisdom with the world on her blog.
Adriana is more than just a gorgeous girl in bikinis though, she graduated with a Bachelor in public relations, two masters degrees and juggled her studies whilst working full time for the Discovery channel. In her spare time (does this girl live in 30 hour days?!) she is also a foster mum and volunteer at an animal shelter. Oh, and she recently got engaged, in a bikini of course! (Congrats!)
We caught up with her for a mini interview to share her knowledge from one bikini obsessed lady to all of you!
Adriana, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am from Caracas, Venezuela. I am currently living in Orlando, FL and travel to Miami to see my family. I am a vegetarian so my favourite food is bean burritos or pizza. I am also a volunteer and foster mom at the animal shelter!
How many bikinis/swimsuits do you own?
Over 250...no lie…
What makes you love swimwear so much?
I feel confident in a bikini and I believe every girl should no matter body type. That's why I created my blog, to empower women to feel sexy and try new bikini styles.
What makes a great bikini?
The fit! If it doesn't fit you right, it won't look right.
What are your bikini pet hates?
I don't know how to say this in a less vulgar way but...camel toe is a NO GO
Cheeky or full coverage?
Cheeky all the way! Makes my butt appear bigger when it's really not.
Triangle or bandeau?
Triangle. It’s more comfortable for any beach/pool activities.
Print or plain?
Tough one...I am going to say print.
Matching or mix it up?
Matching. I HATE mixing up because to me it looks like you borrowed the bikini or you don't fit in the matching pair.
Make sure you follow Adriana on her Instagram, Facebook, blog and Youtube Channel (which has great videos showing you what the swimwear you buy online really looks like!).
A massive thank you to Adriana for taking the time to answer our questions and we look forward to seeing her in a Corallina Swim bikini very soon!
Welcome to Corallina Swim's first ever blog. If you’re reading this then you must be just as excited about the launch of our swimwear as I am! Don’t worry, there’s not much longer to wait…
My name is Cara Brown and I’m the owner and designer of Corallina Swim. I looooveeee bikinis (and dogs) so I decided to start a swimwear company that I had everything I was looking for. I got so fed up of buying bikinis for ridiculous prices and then having to pay the same price for shipping so I wanted to find out if I could do it cheaper, whilst still creating a product that is high quality, comfortable and pretty. Turns out, it is possible!
I started sketching a few of my ideas in summer 2017 and then, through the wonders of the internet, found the very talanted Geetanjali (@geetanjali.b) who took my sketches and drew them up online so producers could see the designs. She also transformed my prints from drawings on paper into fun and bright designs that could be printed.
I spent a long time choosing the right fabric for my swimwear. It had to be able to stand up to the elements and not stretch or lose its colour. I found the perfect fit in Italy with Jersey Lomellina, who create a high quality fabric which has an extra soft feel to it which makes it stand apart from other fabrics.
Finding my production factory was the hardest job, it took me about 6 months of searching. I looked close to home, in Europe. Starting in the UK and then moving my way to eastern Europe and then I finally found a factory just half an hour from my home in Italy! They understood my product and saw my vision.
For a while it all seemed smooth sailing… I had received my first prototypes and the swatches of my prints. I had even found another factory to produce the unique plaits you can find on Corallina bikinis. And then, disaster struck. My fabric printing factory was shutting down! Right in the middle of my production which meant I had to find another factory… ASAP! Luckily, I had another factory in mind and they were very happy to pick up my production and the show was on the road again.
The last 12 months have been the biggest learning curve of my life. I came out of school with no degree in art or design. I had chosen to focus on science and languages and I never imagined that one day I would be starting my own swimwear line. I spent hours and hours researching online to find the right people to bring my ideas to life. The most important thing I learnt is that when you don’t know, really just ask! The world is full of people with the most amazing knowledge to share.
I hope that giving you an insight to my Corallina world has made you excited to see my bikini collection. If you would like to follow the bikinis as they go from sketches to being on all you gorgeous girls then check out my Instagram, twitter and Facebook page: @CorallinaSwim
Until next time! xxx