Since founding the much-coveted swimwear label ViX back in 1998, Paula Hermanny has redefined the swim and resort wear industry.
After struggling to find a flattering swimsuit that hugged her body in all the right places, Hermanny decided to bring the beach culture of Brazil to America. And now, with a team of over 300, a state of the art manufacturing facility in Brasil and over 8 brick and mortar stores, it’s safe to say that her timeless, flattering and luxurious designs have taken the world by storm.
Keep scrolling to read Hermanny’s inspiring career advice and helpful swimwear tips.
A Q&A with ViX Mogul Paula Hermanny
What inspired you to create a swimwear line?
I grew up in Brazil, where the beach was part of my daily life. In the beachside town of Vitroria, where I grew up, the beach is where you meet your friends, socialize and spend all of your free time.
I came to the United States to study at San Diego State University and fell in love with the weather and the beach culture of Southern California. My biggest challenge was finding a swimsuit that I liked! Everything was saggy, loose and didn’t fit my body properly. That’s how I came up with the idea to start designing my own suits. I chose to make them in Brazil because it’s a country that understands the importance of fabric and fit.
What was the first step you took toward making this idea a reality?
Early on I started bringing suits from Brazil in my suitcase to sell to my friends. Shortly after I started designing them myself and found a factory in Brazil that would make them for me. The rest is history!
What were you doing before ViX Paula Hermanny?
I was living the So Cal beach life in La Jolla, where I still live. When I wasn’t at the beach I was studying at SDSU.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced since launching the brand?
When I first launched the brand, I had immediate success and there was a high demand for my suits. I learned the hard way how important on-time delivery is in the US retail industry, which is very different to Brazil. Logistics and operations were a big challenge for me at the beginning.
What do you think is the secret to your success?
I design suits that I think are sexy, sophisticated, fashion-forward and most importantly, I’d personally would wear. This means that there are sometimes trends I have to sit out, because I simply would never wear them personally. I believe that my customers understand that about our brand.
How involved are you in the day-to-day business?
I am deeply involved in design, and meet with my team of designers in Brazil daily to work on upcoming collections. This is what I enjoy the most.
What are your top three tips for someone who is looking to start their own business?
- Always listen to your gut and your heart. The few times I agreed to something I wasn’t completely sold on, I regrated it in the end.
- Love what you do, it should not feel like work.
- Protect your brand and always make sure it’s represented in the best light.
We know Gigi Hadid is a fan of the line. Who else wears your brand or who would you love to see wearing your designs?
We’ve had so many beautiful and charming women wear our suits, it’s hard to narrow down to the best. To name a few, Gisele Bundchen, Pippa and Kate Middleton, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Kate Hudson, Sienna Miller, Jessica Alba, Iza Goulart (see above), Charlize Theron and Miranda Kerr.
Where and how do you get your inspiration for each season?
Most often it has been from my travels. Recent collections have been inspired by Turkey, East Asia and the South of France. I am also inspired by books, music, art and nature. I look for beauty in my surroundings and often it sparks creativity.
What is your favourite piece from your latest range?
Our Resort ’17 collection, launching this October, introduces a new bikini style – The Piercing Bikini – this is what I’ve been wearing all summer. But my all-time favorites are the Paula Bikini, Lucy Bikini and any Detail Bikini.
What trends do you foresee in 2016/17?
The rich jewel colours that have been seen on the runways are translated into my Resort ’17 collection. There are beautiful burgundies, blush, imperial blue – it’s very elegant.
What is your advice on finding the right swimsuit style for your body shape?
The most important thing for any woman to look for in swim is comfort. If she feels comfortable that will translate into confidence and beauty. You don’t have to look like a swimsuit model to wear our suits. Our BIA bikini is our best seller and just celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary. Women love the adjustable fit of our BIA bikini.
How do you see the brand evolving over the next few years?
Our Resortwear and ready to wear expands each season and more and more customers are coming to us for their complete vacation look – from their suit, to their cover-up, to what they wear out to dinner. We will continue to build our lifestyle brand by opening boutiques in the US, currently we only have stores in Brazil and Mexico.
First thing I do in the morning: Meditate.
Last thing I do at night: Kiss my kids.
If I could only wear one swimsuit style for the rest of your life, I would choose: A classic ViX triangle bikini.
Most people probably don’t know this about me, but: I love to eat and I love to cook. I don’t believe in depriving yourself, I eat as much as I want but I make sure I use fresh, organic and natural ingredients whenever possible.
If I were a fruit or vegetable I’d be: It would have to be tropical, a coconut?
If sugar were a superfood, my diet would consist of: I keep a gluten-free and low-sugar diet, but I do love chocolate and dessert! I have some great gluten free dessert recipes and never feel I am missing outs.
I never leave home without: Living in sunny California, this would have to be my sunglasses and sunblock.
I’m inspired by: My Spanish grandmother is my first muse, she was a great artist and always perfectly dressed.
My favourite emoji is: My teen daughter told me not to use emojis anymore because it’s “not cool”.