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A new start-up is changing the swimwear industry—and consumers' bottom lines—with one suit.
"Our suits can be worn up to 10 different ways, providing support for an active and versatile lifestyle," The B. Side founder and designer Tiffany Tibbot told CNBC.
The 25-year-old Tibbot started her career on Juicy Couture's development team, focusing on the company's sports line.
As an athlete herself, Tibbot was eventually inspired to create her own swimwear brand. She wanted to offer millennials, not just style, but functionality too. So she launched The B. Side, offering what she calls, transitional swimwear.
"I wanted a piece that would transition with my lifestyle; leisure to sport, strapless and tanning to fully supported and surfing," said Tibbot.
The key to the company's B. Suit: Its reversible bikini straps are made out of a coated nylon/spandex blend material. "It offers this grip functionality that is great for moving the swimsuit around in different ways," said Tibbot.
B. Suits are sold directly to consumers through the company's website. Swimsuit tops run for $68 and bottoms are $48.
"Women care a lot about what they look like in their bathing suit," Deborah Jackson, founder and CEO of Plum Alley, points out. She said her concern is the start-up's ability to get women to buy their swimwear online.
Tibbot said B. Side has targeted this issue by developing a "find your fit" feature. Users plug in their measurements, preferred fit and intended use. Based on that information, the website suggests a style and "also which way to wear it," she told CNBC. And according to the founder, every woman who has bought a B. Side suit, has kept it. There have been no returns to date.
Alicia Syrett, board member of New York Angels, wondered how the start-up would protect its design from others in the fashion space.
Tibbot said The B. Side holds noncompete and nondisclosure agreements with its manufacturers and suppliers. "We are in the process of filing for a provisional patent protecting our strap's utility, design and method," she added.
Since its launch in February 2014, the New York City-based start-up has raised $100,000 in funding from friends and family, and is currently pursuing its seed round.
The B. Side sold 100 B. Suits during its initial two-week preorder window last summer. According to Tibbot, the company has used that momentum to further develop its brand.
"We will continue to expand and grow to adhere to many different types of styles and trends in the market," said Tibbot. B. Side plans to unveil its adjustable monokini and one-piece suits in the coming months.
Clarification: B. Side is not yet offering customers the "find your fit" feature, but is instead developing it.
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