By Kari Hamanaka
Gigi Caruso and her mother Tina Caruso wanted to create a line of swimsuits that did more than just look good. Caruso, the daughter of real estate developer Rick Caruso, started the line out of personal frustrations. Active in water sports having grown up with three older brothers and often traveling to tropical locales, Gigi wanted a well-designed suit that would last through her activities.
Tina brought her expertise as a former swimsuit model and also designer behind girls’ line 5 Angels to Gigi C, which was in development for about a year.
The Los Angeles-based direct-to-consumer brand sells through its online shop and is also relying heavily on influencers to help grow its customer base with a particular focus on using Instagram as a way to reach people. As it stands now, Gigi said there are no plans to build out a wholesale business.
The company has so far worked with models such as Anna Herrin, Scarlett Leithold and Kyra Santoro — who are active on Instagram — to help show the line’s range to both sporty and fashionable prospective customers. “The girl [who wears Gigi C] is sophisticated but can be a little bit sexy and knows how to work it. She can also be a little bit sporty,” Gigi said of the black-and-white collection that features details such as cutout designs, choker accents and off-the-shoulder styles.
Another swimsuit line, backed by Tustin, Calif.-based swimwear powerhouse Raj Manufacturing, also recently launched with a heavy focus on marketing via social media and microinfluencers. The line, called Vyb, was developed by a group of Millennials.
Gigi C’s swimsuits are made from European fabrics and then manufactured in Alhambra, Calif. A one-piece suit retails from $200 to $225, with bottoms in the range of $75 to $130 and tops priced at $95 to $140.
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