Founder and CEO of BIKYNI Jude Al-Khalil Is Changing the Swimwear Game
Jude Al-Khalil is a hard-working woman who has dedicated her creative mind and entrepreneurial skills to creating her own brand, BIKYNI. With previous experience in growing brands, she knew the steps that needed to be taken to make BIKYNI exactly what she envisioned. Read her interview below and learn about all of the reasons Jude Al-Khalil is a bonafide MISSBISH.
Confidence is one of the most important traits a woman can have. How does BIKYNI make women feel confident and beautiful?
Buying a swimsuit is not only a frustrating process but one that creates a lot of anxiety for women. It’s a very personal and emotional experience - most women find swimsuit shopping more intimidating than shopping for jeans or lingerie. The vision for BIKYNI was driven by my desire to reinvent the swimwear shopping experience. This starts with our suits. We source fabric from Italy and sew our suits at one of the most experienced factories in LA, allowing us to monitor and perfect the construction and fit. A high-quality suit can make all the difference in helping a woman feel more confident.
We’ve paired our product with a smart digital shopping experience that makes it easy to find the right BIKYNI. We offer free shipping and returns, so you can try on your suit at home, when you feel like it, using your own mirrors and lighting. Our fit guide provides the information you need to help you choose the right suit on the first try, and our mix and match provides the flexibility of finding a suit that works best for your body type. The ease of our shopping experience helps women feel comfortable and confident when trying on a BIKYNI.
You could say the retail world is oversaturated with swimsuits that are just never quite "perfect." What makes BIKYNI different?
Our BIKYNIs are designer quality equivalent - we use Italian fabric and make all our suits in Los Angeles - but because of our direct to consumer model we’re able to keep our price under $100 USD per suit.
Our aesthetic sets us apart as well. We’re committed to minimalist designs and clean lines - we’ve modernized the classics to create timeless pieces that will become your swim closet staples. We stay simple where we can – minimal hardware and seamless construction – but are thoughtful with the details, like versatile styles and adjustability. Each style is offered in a variety of colors for easy mix and match.
You've previously helped grow the brand Reformation and have tons of experience when it comes to e-commerce and finance. How do these experiences carry over into what you're doing today?
My finance background has been incredibly helpful with everything from fundraising to building relationships with vendors. You gain credibility when you walk into a meeting with a factory owner and can demonstrate you’re comfortable with numbers. It’s also made us super focused as a company on analyzing any initiative we spend resources on.
Reformation does a great job sharing its brand story, especially digitally. It’s a powerful way to connect with your customers and building that relationship is something I’ve applied to BIKYNI.
Tell us about what your wonderful fit-guide has to offer...
We also know that every woman’s body is different, so our pieces will fit everyone differently. To design our fit guide, we used feedback from over 4,000 women to understand what information they needed when making a decision on a swimsuit. Our fit guide presents this in an intuitive, straightforward way and includes information like the amount of support, adjustability and coverage that a suit provides. We include different information for tops, bottoms and one pieces since the dimensions women care about vary for each of these categories. We also show side-by-side images of each suit so that a shopper can visually compare them as well.
Our customer service is an extension of our fit guide and my team and I are available to personally guide customers towards finding the right suit.
“Building a brand should be a careful process and you see so many companies trying to do it too quickly. For now, we’re focused on perfecting the BIKYNI and making sure we deliver on our first promise, before we take on other categories.”
What has the experience of creating this brand been like for you?
It’s been the most exciting and scary experience. You’re constantly juggling emotions and tackling new challenges. But, it’s also been incredibly rewarding, especially when I hear directly from customers who’ve reached out to thank me and the team for bringing a new element to the stagnant swimwear market.
All of your swimsuit styles are diverse, fun, and different. What's your personal favorite style that BIKYNI offers?
I love The Long Line, one of our new styles for spring. It’s really simple and elegant - it’s an easy pullover without any fussy ties or clasps. It’s great for a day out in the sun or under your favorite tee and can double as a top on a hot summer night.
Are you a beach, lake, or pool kind of girl?
I’ll take the beach any day!
What's on your playlist when you're soaking up the sun in a BIKYNI?
It would include everything from The Beatles to Devendra Banhart, The Preatures, and The Talking Heads.
You've previously said that you see BIKYNI eventually growing into a lifestyle brand. What new pieces can we expect to see if this happens?
My ultimate vision is for BIKYNI to be the place where a woman comes for everything she needs for the beach. We intend to expand into other categories like towels and cover-ups down the line. But, building a brand should be a careful process and you see so many companies trying to do it too quickly. For now, we’re focused on perfecting the BIKYNI and making sure we deliver on our first promise, before we take on other categories.
What's the most valuable thing you've learned since starting your brand?
You have to move fast. At any startup, things will inevitably go wrong and it’s how you respond that will set you apart. In those instances, you need to accept a situation and move on. Being able to evolve has allowed us to provide the best possible product and service to our customers.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
I love that MISSBISH creates intelligent content targeted at inspiring women. Your platform is refreshing and I’m honored that BIKYNI is now a part of it.
Photos by: Christina Choi