Chuck Handy had a million-dollar idea: Inspired by his wife's complaints about the lack of plus-size swimwear, he'd start a company to fill that retail hole. He wanted it to be a family business. So he recruited his young son to occupy the vice president spot, his daughter to handle operations and his wife to chip in at nights when she wasn't teaching. Chuck, for his part, would act as both president and head of design.
And in 2010, SWIM by Chuck Handy was launched in Miami. But for all the buzz surrounding the company, the buyers never lined up and the millions never materialized. With their entire family life and fortune wrapped up in SWIM, the Handy's homegrown business was going under -- until The Profit's Marcus Lemonis tossed the clan a lifesaver, that is.
With years of experience leading sales for swimwear, Chuck believed he knew the industry well enough to take it on head first. What he hadn't prepared for, however, was the disconnect between his aesthetic point of view and that of SWIM's middle-aged female demographic. Chuck's designs, which he based off of visits to high-end retailers -- visits he billed as "research" -- just weren't a hit with customers. What's more, these patterns and styles were simply out of date since they were modeled on swimwear designs that were already on the market.
A design overhaul would've been a simple enough salvo for the fledgling brand, but as Marcus soon found out during an audit of the business, SWIM's finances were a mess. The company, run somewhat haphazardly by Chuck and son Charlie, had grossly underpriced its wholesale business and, as a result, was missing out on crucial profit and incurring debt. And with no operating profits to spur it on, the company's inventory, housed in a tiny Miami warehouse, was also sorely lacking.