Launched in 2021, New York-based Saintt Swimwear is part of a crop of young labels who defied the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic and went public with their designs. The brainchild of Corine Duvalsaint, a healthcare systems tech analyst, Saintt Swimwear exudes a certain sense of glamour with rich and deep hues and ready to wear details like puff sleeves, and ruching.
We talked to Corine about the process of creating her brand, and how she envisions its growth. Check out the exchange below.
Snobette: What was the desire behind the creation of Saintt Swimwear?
Corine Duvalsaint: “I knew fashion was always something I wanted to pursue in some form. Saintt Swimwear specifically stemmed from my love of traveling and exploring new cities and cultures. Finding the perfect swimwear was always a challenge whenever I was preparing for a trip. It was difficult to find pieces that were unique, timeless, a great fit, high quality, with an elevated look without breaking the bank – and I saw that as an opportunity to create.”
Snobette: Where does the name come from?
Corine Duvalsaint: “The name comes from my last name, Duvalsaint. When I was first thinking about launching my own brand, I always knew that I wanted my name to be incorporated into it. Everything created under Saintt Swimwear is designed by me with intention, so it’s very personal.”
Snobette: Was your background in healthcare system technology helped in the process in any way?
Corine Duvalsaint: “Working extensively with computer systems made me test the usability of retail platforms a lot. Before deciding on Shopify, I tested various other platforms on several phones, laptops, desktops to make sure the consumer would have a good web experience.
Snobette: As an entrepreneur what was the most rewarding and the most challenging about the swimwear creation process?
Corine Duvalsaint: “The most rewarding part is the feedback I get from customers and followers. Seeing people who don’t know me trust in my product and love it, seeing people wear my designs while feeling and looking beautiful in them – that for me, brings me the most joy.”
“The biggest challenge was probably not having any formal background whatsoever in fashion design, business, or entrepreneurship. I really felt like I was starting from scratch, with just a sketchbook and a vision. The journey has been a ‘learn as I go’ experience and I’m grateful I was able to seek guidance from other entrepreneurs and designers in the industry. I am so grateful for these Fashion Startup Strategy talks on Clubhouse!”
Snobette: You attended the Fashion Startup Strategy room on Clubhouse. Tell us more about those talks?
Corine Duvalsaint: “Every week, as soon as I received the notifications, I would drop everything and log on to Clubhouse to listen to the conversations. Those talks were so helpful, listening to other entrepreneurs questions whether they were in womenswear or streetwear, the advice was all relevant.”
“I took notes and to think that this was available to me on a free social media platform was amazing. Yes there is google but there’s also a lot of broad, and sometimes conflicting information about the specifics of launching a brand on there. These Clubhouse rooms were about what’s happening in the industry right now with people who are actively working in it. Another thing I also learned is that there is not really a right or wrong answer. When I finally spoke in the room, I would get asked specifics about myself, my goals, my brand, my budget, It was not about cookie cutter answers and I am so grateful for that.”
Snobette: From a design perspective, Saintt pieces look like they can be worn as tops and bodysuits. Is that intentional?
Corine Duvalsaint: “Yes, this is intentional. For this first launch I created swimwear that was more along the lines of resort wear and multifunctional. A swimsuit that can be worn to the beach, pool, or even on a yacht. When matched with bottoms you have an outfit that’s appropriate look to step out in.”
Snobette: Do you have a dream client for Saintt and if so who would you want to see in what piece?
Corine Duvalsaint: “I would love to see Tracee Ellis Ross in our Melina or Solène swimsuit. She is someone I look up to, she embodies this successful woman who wears whatever she wants, she travels and is literally doing her. She is one of my muses.
Snobette:Do you plan on following the fashion calendar and creating every season? If not, How do you plan to launch after this collection?
Corine Duvalsaint: “At first, I did feel the pressure to create something new for every season. Shortly after launching, I remember having that anxiety-ridden feeling and thinking, “Ok, what’s next?”. I was looking at brands around me and every few months ,to every year another line was launching. I quickly learned not to compare Saintt Swimwear to other labels, because creating every season is not a model that fits with the brand. I also think that making so many styles, is an easy way to fall into creating pieces that are more focused on what’s trending and what will sell fast…and that’s not what we’re about.”
“Currently we are focusing on growing and nurturing our customer base and not rushing to have a set date for our next launch. In the future we hope to expand to have a greater range of swimsuit styles and we plan to incorporate resort wear as well.”
Snobette:A s we look ahead to 2022 what are three things you are looking forward to?
Corine Duvalsaint: “Definitely, traveling, celebrating turning 30 years old, and creating new friendships!”