Demi Raquel Thomas is the CEO of La Chenille Bridal Bikini , a new luxury bridal swimwear lifestyle brand. The mission behind La Chenille Bridal Bikini is to offer beautiful, luxurious swimwear options designed to complement the amazing, tropical locations for its customer’s special day.  

Not afraid of risk and hard work, Demi decided to dive headfirst into the research of what it would take to introduce a new category into the fashion industry–bridal swimwear. It took grit and flexibility, being able to lead with compassion but also determination. But nothing launches without missteps, especially during a global pandemic. Therefore, here are Demi’s top five tips for unveiling a new fashion category or collection.

  1. Be Prepared for Shipping Delays 

Due to the pandemic, packages, especially those from overseas, will be delayed.  When we were days away from our promotional photoshoot, we had issues with receiving packages of finalized samples we needed for the models.  It was extremely nerve-racking because the photoshoot was booked in advance and canceling was not an option.  Luckily, we were able to use the original samples because we had a great pattern maker and seamstress.  However, moving forward, we now make sure to have as many samples as possible on hand well in advance of photoshoots or showings.  

2. There will always be extra fees so be prepared to stretch your budget. 

You can be the most prepared CEO, but there will always be an additional fee, somewhere, that you weren’t initially prepared for.  For example, if you are hosting a pop-up shop to debut your collection, you have the standard rental fees such as location and furniture, food and beverage, models, photographers and hair and makeup; but in the current global climate, you must also think about on-site Covid testing and having a backup plan if the location gets shutdown due to staff being​quarantined. One of the positive things that has come out of the Covid pandemic is being able to host events, such as fashion shows, virtually. If your tradeshow or fashion show does go virtual, be prepared to budget for a location fee if your event requires a large space and runway for models to showcase your collection. 

3. Be a Spectator First

If you have a product you are exhibiting at a tradeshow, it’s best to be a spectator first, this way you can get ideas and think through your strategy for success. There are many ways to get creative on a budget, saving money and time, so investigate and plan your tradeshow booth ahead of time.  Strategize about what will set your booth apart from the masses and draw spectators into your space. 

4. Make sure you stand out

Yes, we are one of the first luxury bridal swimwear brands; however, there will be others joining the category in the future.  What makes us stand out?  We have a patent pending removable bridal train for swimwear.  The fabric is water resistant so brides can wear it on the beach and not worry about it getting wet.  Also, our beach kit makes our company stand out, as it includes an array of special essentials for beach brides. We aren’t just launching a collection; we are building a brand.  It’s important to make your brand cohesive in design, packaging, and messaging.

5. Shine bright but don’t burn out 

Building a successful team with everyone working in the same direction and mindset takes time, hard work, and stress! In the fashion industry, you have to keep abreast of shifts and trends in the market. Stay focused and balanced. Create some quality time for yourself and integrate that into your personal schedule. It’s very difficult when you’re running a company and you must ​be all things, to all people. Taking time out for you is important so you can be the best version of yourself to you and others.     


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