IT’S NO SECRET that bikini season can be daunting, exasperating, depressing, and all-around awful. But Aida Takyrbasheva and her line of ultra-glamorous, daring, sexy, and edgy bathing suits for fashionistas — Skinny Bikini — is all about enhancing your assets to make you feel as wonderful on the outside as you feel inside. And don’t worry, you won’t need to starve yourself to fit into their suits. Skinny Bikini promotes a healthy lifestyle – not a hungry one. These celebrity-favorite bikinis (worn by the likes of Joanna Krupa and Ashley Greene) are the brainchild of CEO and designer Aida Takyrbasheva. Takyrbasheva, who counts her mother and grandmother as her first fashion icons, graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with degrees in International Business and Marketing, which have surely helped her on the road to making Skinny Bikini a global brand. Because Skinny Bikini is manufactured in Los Angeles (where she resides), Takyrbasheva is hands-on in every step of the process, from conception to creation. Takyrbasheva spoke to Lady Clever about what it takes to make it in the bikini business and her future plans for Skinny Bikini.
What inspired you to create Skinny Bikini?
For years I have been in search of a perfect bikini that would not only enhance my figure, offer incredible comfort and support target areas, but also be an expression of my individuality, high-fashion taste, and sensual style. Traveling from a young age has evoked feelings of love and appreciation for a diverse palette of colors, designs, culture, and multifaceted people. In addition, being raised by such powerful, strong, inspiring women, like my grandmothers and mother, allowed me to develop an immense appreciation for beauty, the art of fashion and expressing a personal sense of femininity and uniqueness from the inside out.
It is with this dream in mind that I have become so passionate about designing my very own line of swimwear – Skinny Bikini (SB).
Why did you choose the word “skinny” as part of the title of your company? The word means different thing to different people, how does it affect your brand and why did you feel like it was fitting for your brand?
There is no deep or hidden meaning behind the name Skinny Bikini. It’s meant to be catchy, easy to remember, and has a great ring to it. Every woman wants to feel beautiful confident, fit, and sometimes skinny when she’s wearing a bikini, so it made sense to me. We don’t promote a “skinny” lifestyle by any means — instead we always post content on our blog and social platforms that promote a healthy lifestyle, like workout tips, clean-eating recipes, and motivational quotes to nourish your your beauty from the inside out.
How would you describe yourself as a designer?
Innovative, fearless, original. I have this immense hunger for excellence, which explains my insatiable appetite for success. I am hardly 100% satisfied with my work, which keeps me motivated to work harder and constantly innovate. Striving for the best keeps me hungry and brings out my competitive side, which propels me to think differently and results with original and creative designs.
How do you balance your creative and design duties with the business side of your company? Does one side tend to overtake the other?
Isn’t that the million-dollar question! Ha! It’s a constant struggle you encounter as an entrepreneur, the dilemma of wearing many hats as a CEO, designer, marketing executive, and anything else you need to be. It definitely becomes tricky. I have a partner that helps with the business side of the company, while I focus more on day-to-day operations and the overall vision of the brand. I’m a creative type and truly enjoy getting my hands dirty in every step of the process, which includes: fabric picking, sketching, draping, design, manufacturing, and sales. I also enjoy all of the behind-the-scenes work on photo shoots and fashion shows. As much as I love to be involved, I also know when to step back and delegate work to partners, employees or even outsource other services. I think they key is to identify areas of expertise and focus on them. Staying focused on your strengths will help downplay your weaknesses.
Have you found it difficult to balance your personal and professional life?
One of the things people dream about when owning their own business to make their own schedule, what they don’t realize is with freedom comes more responsibility. So yes, I’m able to travel and work on-the-go however that also means that I don’t work 9-5, instead I work 24/7. The caveat is, that I absolutely, unequivocally, and passionately LOVE what I do so it never feels like a job. This way I’m truly able to combine my passion and business and I feel truly blessed.
Is Skinny Bikini your first entrepreneurial endeavor?
Skinny Bikini is my proudest first-born baby (as I like to call it) and it is definitely my pride and joy! After graduating from UNLV, I knew that I was ready to spread my wings and start my own business. SB allowed me to jump in feet-first and learn to be fearless. Starting my own business gave me confidence, allowed me to create a strong social platform where I’m able to inspire others, create beautiful and unique swimwear, give back to the community and encourage other women to take a leap of faith and go for their dreams without being restricted by boundaries that are typical to any start-up business such as funding, resources, staff, and distribution.
What has been your biggest challenge starting and running Skinny Bikini?
I think you may be surprised to hear that my biggest challenge is more of a personal one – it’s the challenge to constantly innovate, grow and be unique. The fashion industry is without doubt the most competitive trade in the business. This creates a lot of pressure to always stay ahead of the trends and come up with unique pieces that will be unique, classic, extraordinary and stylish.
What has been Skinny Bikini’s biggest success to date?
The most rewarding part of the SB journey is when I receive comments and letters from customers and fans complimenting our pieces. I also love seeing celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Ashley Greene, Joanna Krupa, Ashley Madekwe and other Hollywood stars wear our bikinis with confidence and pride. Also, one of the most memorable days in 2014 was our Style Fashion Week runway show during LAFW. It was the first fashion show that we had on such a big scale and we truly rocked it!
What are your goals for Skinny Bikini?
One of our big plans for 2015 is to expand into the fitness community by launching a collection that is designed for the yoga lover, surf babe, and sports junkie – the woman that loves to be fashionably fit and take her workout to the beach.
I want our SB customer to feel fearless, adventurous and carefree when wearing our pieces.
What is one piece of advice you wish you had been given as a woman starting her own business?
My parents, have always told me that I can and will have anything I want as long as I’m willing to work for it, and they were right.
What is one piece of advice you would give to women starting their own business?
One of my favorite quotes by Paula Abdul “No is the beginning of a negotiation.” That quote truly struck a cord with me, because I believe that anything is possible given enough hard work, perseverance, faith in yourself and the right support. By support I mean your friends and family. Surround yourself with cheerleaders instead of downers and you will reach heights that you didn’t know were possible.
If there is one thing I want women to take away from my experience, it’s this : Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because you will make them (PLENTY of them), so embrace your failures and use them as motivation. Don’t strive for perfection — instead, strive for excellence. As women, we have enough responsibilities to juggle and the pressure to succeed at everything; making sure that you always give your best will be enough. Don’t be afraid of other women or let them make you feel insecure, we are not here to compete but to help each other grow and encourage one another. There is enough hatred and hardship that we have to encounter and, trust me, the pie is big enough for everyone to share if you do your part.
Definitely words to remember. You can check out all of Skinny Bikini’s styles at www.skinnybikini.com and keep up-to-date with their latest styles by following them on their Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr.