DIVE RIGHT IN.
LAUNCH OF THE YEAR.
Supermodel-turned-entrepreneur Candice Swanepoel found herself with an instant hit on her hands when she launched her luxurious, eco-friendly swim line, Tropic of C. With bikinis selling faster than she can make them, the budding mogul has had to buckle down and learn on the fly to keep up with the demands of her growing business.
BY CHARLES MANNING
What inspired you to launch Tropic of C?
It was a childhood dream of mine. When I was 7, I used to take my mom’s leftover fabric—she was an aerobics
teacher—and make my own little bikinis. Growing up in the sun in South Africa, I always loved it. And when I got into modeling, I became kind of “the swimsuit girl,” and all through those years I would pay close attention to the fit and color and how they made me feel. That’s how I started brainstorming Tropic of C. The hardest thing for me was just to take the initiative to start it and feel confident that I could do it.
What finally pushed you over the edge?
I have a great South African manager who helped me, because one of the hardest parts is just figuring out where to start. People think it’s easy to start a business, but it’s really not. It’s all this legal stuff, branding…and literally every name is taken, even my own! I took a million meetings and some never went anywhere, but I still learned something from every one of them. It was during my pregnancy that I was actually able to focus on making it happen. Daniela [Manfredi, Swanepoel’s business partner and Tropic of C’s assistant designer]
flew to Brazil to meet me, and we got along straight away and started talking about what the brand could look like. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year. That seems really fast.
Yeah, I mean, we’re pretty on it. Daniela comes from a swim background, so she kind of knew what parts we needed to put together. She’s the one who goes to the factories and brings back fabrics for me to see, and we put it all together. Then you have the whole back end of the websites and the photo shoots, and that’s the part I really love—organizing the shoots and the look of the brand online and on Instagram.
And you’re based in New York now, correct?
I was trying to maintain a beach life in Miami, but I need to be in the office regularly, so I’m back in New York for a while. Sometimes I hate New York, but I always end up missing it and coming back.
What do you think sets Tropic of C apart from other swim brands?
I put a lot of energy into working on the shapes and making sure every suit is very specific and well-done. I take pride in the fabrics. They’re not just worn twice and look terrible, but they are pieces you can keep season after season. I have a weird thing with some of my clothes; they’ve been with me through important parts of my life and it’s almost like they have a soul. I’m attached to them. They bring me back to special times in my life and I hang on to them, as long as they are good quality. I feel like that is what Tropic of C is—it’s a brand you can rely on for good fit and good quality. Most of the styles look quite simple, but the reaction from people when they put them on is quite different.
What are some of your most popular styles?
There’s one called “Vibe,” which is a crop top with a higher-waisted bottom, that sells all the time. We have the classic string, which I love to wear every day. I love to use earthy colors, and I like to make color stories, so everything looks beautiful together.
How much do you let the numbers guide your
I have to pay attention to the numbers, but we have a business partner who has helped us get started because we’ve grown almost too quickly. At times it’s been a little bit overwhelming, but that’s a great problem to have. At times, we’ve underestimated the orders and run out of fabric, so we plan in advance
and order larger quantities.
Your fabrics are quite special—lots of recycled eco-
fabrics—so quantities must be somewhat limited to
Exactly. There has been a definite learning curve for me, but that’s good. I really would like for the brand to grow and maybe one day do clothing as well. We’ll see!
Given the demands of your modeling career, how involved are you with Tropic of C on a daily basis?
It’s every day. Thank God for Internet programs. We have all the online Dropboxes, because I like to sign off on everything. The team is learning what I like and what my aesthetic is, but there’s a lot of back and forth. And whenever I have time off I’m here [at the studio]; we’re busy designing the next collection.
And where are you selling?
We’re direct-to-consumer, but we’re also on Goop and Moda Operandi to raise brand awareness. We’ve also started doing pop-ups, so people can be closer to the brand. We offer things like free returns, so people can try on the suits and not be afraid that they might not work.
What’s the busiest time of year for the brand?
With swim, there’s an annual schedule. That’s one of the parts that freaks me out the most. I mean, I could just say whatever and sell when I want, but there are times when people are thinking about vacation and
certain times that sell better, like around spring break and before certain holidays.
Have you ever won anything before?
Maybe I won like “Most Photogenic” when I was a kid or something, but I’ve never won anything that mattered.
How does it feel to be celebrated in this way?
It’s been really satisfying for me to see people enjoying the brand so much. As models, our work is based on how we look, and it’s great to be celebrated for that, but all of us are so much more than that. I’m really happy to
be recognized for something other than what I look like. And this brand is like my other baby. I’m so proud of it. And there’s so much going on in my daily life. I’ve fought so hard for my career from a really young age, had my babies, and I started this business in the middle of it all. It’s been a crazy couple of years, but the success has made it worth all the struggle.
Candice’s swim line, Tropic of C dropped it Spring collection. In it we can find new prints, as the mama africa print aka leopard print avalaible for the C one piece, vibe bottom, equator top and bottom and praia top and bottom. New tops as ilha and praia and new colors as poppy, hibiscus or ultramarine.
You can shop it now here.
Remember that Tropic of C ships worldwide.
The blog Travel + Leisure made a post about the 6 brands that, according to them, will be everywhere this Summer.
Here is what they say about Tropic of C.
Tropic of C
Tropic of C is the brainchild of seasoned swimsuit model Candice Swanepoel. Her line delivers minimal styles in flattering silhouettes. If anyone knows what the perfect swimsuit feels like, it’s Swanepoel, so don’t sleep on Tropic of C’s the C collection.
Tropic of C has debuted the Pre Fall collection in Moda Operandi with 25 pieces. The Trunkshow ends in 11 days from now.
Tropic of C
Who better to design swimsuits than Candice Swanepoel, someone who’s spent 16 years modeling them herself? Wise to the most flattering fits—namely, a high-cut leg and scoop-neck—her swimwear exemplifies thoughtful, ethical design (she uses eco-friendly materials and packaging). New additions to her repertoire include leopard and a fresh take on the early ‘00s-era tankini. Meet Candice here.
Access the full collection, secure your size & skip the waitlist: only in Trunkshow.
The 25 pieces included are the next ones. Take in count Candice wears the XS.
Curve Low Rise Bikini Bottom 80,00 US$
Curve Printed Bikini Bottom 80,00 US$
The C Bikini Top 80,00 US$
The C One Piece Swimsuit 150,00 US$
The C Printed One Piece Swimsuit 150,00 US$
Praia Adjustble Bikini Bottom 65,00 US$
Praia Adjustble Bikini Top 65,00 US$
Praia Adjustble Bikini Bottom 65,00 US$
Praia Adjustble Bikini Top 65,00 US$
Equator Printed Bikini Top 80,00 US$
Equator Printed Bikini Bottom 80,00 US$
Vibe Printed Bikini Bottom 80,00 US$
Vibe High Rise Bikini Bottom 80,00 US$
Vibe Sleeveless Bikini Top 80,00 US$
Luna Bikini Bottom 80,00 US$
Ilha Triangle Bikini Top 80,00 US$
Curve Low Rise Bikini Bottom 80,00 US$
South Pacific Bikini Bottom 80,00 US$
South Pacific Bikini Top 90,00 US$
Scorpio Racerback One Piece 160,00 US$
Vibe Textured Bikini Bottom 80,00 US$
Coco Printed Bikini Top 90,00 US$
Coco Underwire Bikini Top 90,00 US$
Contour Racerback One Piece 170,00 US$
During her press day for Tropic of C Candice did interviews for promote her line which are getting slowly. This interview comes from the website Fashionista
The mother of two, who quietly launched Tropic of C earlier this year, calls the brand her “third baby.”
As Instagram and the influencers that dominate it continue to assert their selling power within the fashion industry, certain social media-driven market trends have emerged. Not only are consistently traveling influencers launching clothing brands in droves (with swimwear among the most popular categories), the far-flung sponsored vacation has proven to be an increasingly lucrative marketing program for retailers looking to build their online audiences and push seasonal products.
In many of these cases, the personality behind the brand is leveraging their social capital as a built-in customer base and crafting the label’s vision on both their personal aesthetic and the commentary they receive daily from their followers. However, certain big names on social media are industry veterans who have decades of multifaceted experience to draw upon when finally venturing out into the world of entrepreneurship. Candice Swanepoel, who’s been a fashion fixture for 15 years primarily thanks to her work as a longtime Victoria’s Secret Angel model, falls into the latter camp, and in 2018, she decided to take the plunge (pun intended) on starting a swim company of her own, called Tropic of C.
“It’s been [in the works] for a couple of years; I was waiting for the right moment,” Swanepoel explains at a recent press preview for her resort collection in New York. “It took me a while to find a team because you end up working very closely for a long time — I took a lot of meetings. And when Victoria’s Secret stopped swim, I just went for it.”
Unlike many of the trend-driven, Instagram-friendly styles of swimwear that have dominated your social media feeds for several summers, Tropic of C launched with a tightly edited selection of classic silhouettes in a variety of muted and neutral colors. The form-fitting bodysuit styles — like the brand’s eponymous signature one-piece suit, “The C” — are meant to be styled with clothing, like high-waisted jeans or a maxi skirt, when the wearer isn’t lounging by the pool or spending the day at the beach. “When I’m on holiday or I’m packing, to be able to just throw a skirt on with a swimsuit is really nice — you can still feel chic and elegant,” Swanepoel says.
The Resort 2019 collection just made its online debut, and Swanepoel notes that she’s made a serious effort to source the best fabrics (including Italian knits and durable, eco-friendly regenerated nylon) from the company’s inception. “I really focus on the quality of the suits; I didn’t want to create something and just throw it out there,” she says. “It’s all stuff that I want to wear. I tend to stick to a certain aesthetic that I like and that I think looks good on the body. A lot of the pieces are high-cut — the necklines are very flattering — and there’s a little bit of ballet inspiration, as well.” Prices range from $80 for a top to $180 for a statement one-piece, with most separates designed to be mixed and matched.
The emphasis on fabrication played a big role in how the suits eventually were fit — though, somewhat unsurprisingly, Swanepoel served as the main fit model. (“It’s the control freak in me,” she laughs.) “I know there’s different bodies out there, but if the fabric is quality enough and has a good stretch, it can mold to many different shapes.” She and her team tested out each style before they were sent into production in order to make sure the fabrics attached to the body, ensuring that they’d stay put through a day of activity. “Even though you don’t see a lot of structure with padding or cups — that’s why I’m so crazy about the fabric — [the top] still holds you in.”
In the months since Swanepoel started Tropic of C, she’s relied on direct feedback from customers via social media to learn what customers want most from her — and has enjoyed having shoppers engage with her products with more than simply an Instagram like. Though the 30-year-old model has plugged dozens of designers’ goods on her social media feeds over the years, promoting her own creations is completely different territory.
“This is like my third baby, so it’s really easy for me to be enthusiastic and tell you everything about it,” Swanepoel explains of posting her Tropic of C wares to her 12.7 million Instagram followers. “Sometimes when I’m selling someone else’s product, I don’t know the back-end, but obviously that’s part of my job. I love that I can do it in my way and have it be so me. As a model, you have to be a chameleon, and it’s nice to be in control of the art direction and involved in every aspect of the business.”
During her time as a Victoria’s Secret Angel and the face of countless luxury brands including Tom Ford, Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, Versace and more, Swanepoel has observed (and interacted with) almost every behind-the-scenes gig the industry has to offer, from technical designers to casting agents to the all-important creative directors. It’s from this first-hand experience on set, on location and in designer fittings that she gathered the skill set necessary to start a company of her own and became infatuated with the idea of trying out other areas of the fashion business. “I love the creative aspect, the art direction, dreaming up the shoots — the story of the girl, the coloring, the editing, the whole photography side,” she says. “I really get to use that as a creative outlet.”
Aside from juggling a new venture with parenting her two young sons, she’s been thrown in the deep end when it comes to the nitty-gritty of entrepreneurship. “I’ve been forced to learn the whole business side, which has really gotten me out of my comfort zone — budgeting, booking, accounting,” she recalls. “I’m bombarded with invoices daily, from manufacturing, from distribution, all of that.” Tropic of C plans to stick to the regular swim calendar when it comes to new releases, and is keeping its network of retail partners small for now, with Goop and Moda Operandi on board for wholesale retail in addition to her own e-commerce site.
Swanepoel insists that Tropic of C is growing quickly, and though she’s anxious to see where the new project takes her, she’s abiding by the “slow and steady” mantra when it comes to expansion in the early stages. “I’ve been very specific about keeping it small and keeping it mine,” Swanepoel asserts. “I didn’t work for 15 years to build a brand to just give it to someone else.”
You can shop the new collection now in the website.
The website FashionWeekDaily has a new post about Candice talking about her swim line, Tropic Of C.
CANDICE SWANEPOEL IS MAKING THE SWIMSUIT INDUSTRY A GREENER AND MORE ETHICAL PLACE
written by Charles Manning
November 1, 2018
Candice Swanepoel knows a thing or twenty about the swimsuit industry, so it makes sense that her first major foray into the business world would be in the form of a swimsuit line. But Tropic of C isn’t some celebrity vanity project. The Daily caught up with Candice to find out what makes her swim line so wonderfully different.
You launched your swimwear brand, Tropic of C, earlier this year and now you’re getting ready to launch your second collection. What has changed in that time?
The first collection I stuck with a lot of one-pieces because I wanted to differentiate from other swim brands and because I’m known for bikinis, I wanted to just start off with something a little bit more fashion. And then for the resort collection, obviously we get a lot of direct feedback through Instagram — what people are liking — so we kept some of the silhouettes that people were loving and just changed up the colors. So resort is all those desert-y nudes and earthy colors and then Spring gets a little bit more colorful. We recently started doing knits too, which I’m excited about. They have good stretch but they’re just a different take on swim.
You also seem to be working really hard to make your brand as ecologically responsible and ethical as possible. Was that always the plan or is it something that has evolved over time?
In general, with everything I do, I like to try my best to be as ethical as possible. Obviously it’s hard to be 100 percent, especially in the swim industry because it’s not known as an ethical industry. I started with the packaging because nowadays, with Instagram and everything, we get sent a lot of clothing and opening bags and bags of plastic — things wrapped twice over — it’s upsetting. So I started with the packaging which is 100 percent eco [100 percent recycled paper hang tags, ‘tree-free’ stone paper packaging, and biodegradable plastic garment bags]. Then someone told me about this brand that creates [eco-friendly] fabrics. We started researching which ones are good and then they started sending us a bunch and the quality was amazing.
In the first collection, everything that was black and white was made from this Econyl bi-elastic techno fabric, which they make from old fishing nets so you’re not producing more [petroleum-based synthetic materials]. And this season, they made us this suede fabric that’s got a different feeling. It’s really delicious, actually.
These feel incredible. And they don’t feel like swimsuits, especially these knit pieces.
The knit it not made of the same fabric. That’s why I’m very careful not to say that our brand is fully eco. We are trying out best as a company, but swim is difficult. But we’re going to get there one day.
Why is swim particularly difficult?
Because of the fabrics. Because of the nylon. The fabrics you need for swimming, for it to dry quickly and for it to work as a swimsuit are all synthetic. But at least we’re trying hard not to produce more [synthetics]. Right now we’re using about 70 percent recycled materials and still researching. A lot of the fabrics actually work better than new fabrics we sourced so it’s not like we are giving anything up.
That’s interesting. Are these recycled materials more expensive?
No, it’s not more expensive. It’s just about doing more research. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I definitely want to be proud of my brand and for it to grow in a way that I can feel good about.
Where do you think your love and concern for the environment comes from?
Growing up [in South Africa] with such an extreme level of nature, seeing these amazing creatures and just the smells and everything, I think that definitely played a big part. I can’t wait to go back to South Africa, actually. I’m going in December. I’m taking my boys. They’re going see like lions and everything for the first time!
Where do you see your brand 10 years from now?
It’s hard to say. I would love to make it into a lifestyle brand and constitute to incorporate new elements and learn new things. I’ve already learned so much just being on the back end of the business.
Do you want to become a mogul or transition into acting or anything like that?
I mean, obviously, if you wanted to, you could probably keep modeling for the next 30 years or more.
I don’t know about that.
I have probably another 10 years in me if I take care of myself.
It’s a more demanding job than a lot of people realize.
Funnily enough, I’m actually quite a shy person. Obviously, my job requires me to do a lot of out-there things, but it’s definitely a sort of persona that I put on to help me kind of come out of my shell. I don’t know if I would go into TV or anything like that. I just wanted to have a brand and a creative outlet and make nice things that people enjoy and feel good in.
On Wednesday July 11th Candice took to her Instagram Stories to congratulate Joan Smalls but also to use for the first time the ask feature that Instagram recently set up for all the users to interact with their followers.
In the same set of stories she revealed to a fan who asked what was she working on she’s working on the resort collection of Tropic of C!
1st question: What’s your fave hair product?
CANDICE: Sleeping with oil in your hair helps hydrate. My favorites are Arian oil and coconut oil.
2nd question: During your pregnancy did you feel ok to work out? lm pregnant, thats why Im asking.
CANDICE: The first 3 months I exercised but nothing too strenuous. My first pregnancy I didn’t work out at all because I was
a bit nervous first time round, with Ariel I was preparing for the vs show but I stuck to light exercise. There are no rules, if you always exercised then continue as normal but if you don’t it’s probably not a great idea to start in
the first 3 months of your pregnancy. Listen to your body.
3rd question: Is there anything new you are working on? -monicalozkova
CANDICE: Resort collection of Tropic of C! You’re going to love it!
4th question: What would you suggest for someone who wants to start eating healthy and getting fit?
CANDICE: Research healthy recipes on Pinterest, there are so many healthy delicious snacks and meals that are easy to prepare. I love to go to the farmers market and fill my fridge with beautiful fresh produce, it will inspire you to keep your fridge clean and your body clean too.
5th question: What’s the meaning behind name “ariel”?
CANDICE: Ariel (name) — Wikipedia
https://en.m.wikipedia.org > wiki > Ariel…
Ariel is a given name from Biblical Hebrew ‘nmx Ariel that literally means “lion of God”. The female form is n‘mnx (transliterated as Ariela, Ariella, or the American modernized Arielle). In modern Hebrew, Ariel is primarily used as a male name.
Meaning: Lion of God
Region of origin: Ancient Israel
Alternative spelling: Ariel, Ariella, Arielle
Pronunciation: /’aerial/; Hebrew; Spanish
—Lion of God——
6th question: Vamos comer caranguejo essa semana Q?! Rs
ENGLISH: Let’s eat crab this week Q ?! LOL
CANDICE: Vamos! Kkk
ENGLISH: Let’s go!
7th question: What do you say to men who think you post revealing instagrams for attention?
8th question: In which language do to talk to your sons?
CANDICE: Portuguese and English.
9th question: Seu parto normal foi em casa, todavia havia alguma UTI móvel ou equipe em alerta p alguma intercorréncia?
ENGLISH: Your normal delivery was at home, but were there any mobile ICUs or staff on alert for any intercurrences?
CANDICE: Eu néo planejei pra fazer parto em casa. Eu fiquei perdida no tempo tentando aguentar os contragées e nasceu antes que eu esperava. Meu gravidez foi saudével e meu filho também entéo não precisava ir pro hospital depois. Foi muito intenso mas muito maravilhoso.
ENGLISH: I didn’t plan to give birth at home.. I was lost in time trying to handle the contractions and was born before I expected. My pregnancy was healthy and my son also did not need to go to the hospital later. It was very intense but very wonderful.
10th question: What perfume do you wear ?
CANDICE: During my pregnancy and when my babies are little I use a little jasmine oil,as I think they are still very sensitive to smell.
11th question: What makes you the sad the most about this world?
—Cruelty to children and
—The destruction of the
—Starvation and poverty.
—Lack of compassion amongst human kind.
W Magazine released a interview with Candice days after she received Ariel in her home in Brazil. In the interview she talks about Tropic Of C and thinking about designing clothes for pregnant women.
It’s been a busy few months for Candice Swanepoel, to say the least. On Tuesday, she welcomed her second child, just a few weeks after launching her new eco-friendly swimwear line, Tropic of C. “It’s my third baby!” Swanepoel laughed as she looked back on the two-year process of creating the line. (Of course, Baby One is the supermodel’s 20-month-old son, Anacan, and Baby Two is the new son, whom she gave birth to at home.)
As Swanepoel has starred in numerous swim shoots throughout her career, it would seem that launching a swimsuit line would be an easy child—if we’re keeping up the metaphor—to care for. “I’ve always been drawn to fashion, but [through] modeling you really get the inside scoop,” she said. “I also get to see what works and what doesn’t firsthand, from colors and skin tones to stitch and stretch. As models, we learn to interpret and understand many different styles, and the history of fashion, as things always repeat.”
For her debut collection, Swanepoel decided to focus on silhouettes she loved from the ’80s and ’90s, the heydey of the supermodel. The line’s signature is a high-cut leg, which is a personal favorite of Swanepoel’s. “I think the hips are one of the sexiest parts of a woman’s body, so I like to accentuate that,” she explained. The collection’s muted tones are also a nod to the ’90s, but the working mom noted that “the earth is our color palette,” and that she’s very inspired by all nature has to offer.
In addition to offering chic swimwear with a smart fit in earthy hues, sustainability is a huge part of what Swanepoel aims to promote with Tropic of C. She firmly believes that “being sustainable should be the norm,” and her swimsuits are created, in part, from regenerated nylon fiber, a substance that is fabricated from fishing nets and nylon waste. “Packaging of product is another area where we can push for a more sustainable approach,” she added. “I’m always receiving gifts or purchases wrapped in plastic 10 times. We were very conscious not to do that.”
Though she managed to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and pose nude while pregnant, Swanepoel may not have been wearing her own line in the later months leading up to her son’s birth. “I wore them in the beginning of my pregnancy, but when my belly got too big I had to go with some simple triangle bikinis, as they are easy to adjust as you grow,” she said. “I would like to, in the future, design something specificity for pregnant women. After this pregnancy, I have some ideas!”
Here, Candice Swanepoel shares her favorite destinations, beach must-haves, and how she styles her swim from day to night.
Pool vs. beach:
Favorite vacation destination:
Brazil, Mexico, Seychelles, and Bora Bora.
Speakers, sunscreen, and conditioner.
Favorite beach vacation memory:
I have so many! There is something special about sunrise or sunset swims, or swimming in the rain.
Favorite swimsuit inspiration:
Bo Derek in Tarzan.
How would you style swim for a fun night out:
I love one pieces for this reason—you can go from the beach straight to happy hour! Depending on the place or occasion, [I would wear] either denim shorts and earrings to accessorize or, if it’s fancier, a chic skirt, slick ponytail, and red lip.
Any swimsuit style you would never wear:
Never say never.
What are you reading this summer:
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.
What is your essential summer playlist?