Interview with Philippa Brenninkmeyer, INDIGO SWIMWEAR

Slide introducing the interview with Philippa Brenninkmeyer of INDIGO SWIMWEAR

Can you tell us a little bit about your background/history that has led you to this point?

I grew up in a large family who is in the retail industry, so I guess you could say the fashion industry was somewhat inevitable. However, I always knew I wanted to do my own thing rather than join the family business. I always LOVED to travel and beaches were simply my favorite place to be. I always told myself one day I will live by the beach! (I was born in La Jolla, California but grew up in Germany).

After graduating college in London, I went back to Germany for a couple of years before deciding I was going to go on a solo mission to find myself. I know it sounds super cliché, but it worked. I packed my bags and left for Australia, because of course, the furthest place away from home always seems the best. And in this case, it was because it led me to where I am today.

Large feature image of a woman holding a yellow surfboard with an accent pineapple nearby

I traveled around Australia, New Zealand and Fiji for a few months all on my own. I saw amazing things, met cool people and made some friends for life. It all seemed so surreal, but I loved every minute of it. I began to realize that living the majority of my life in swimwear wasn’t so bad and that if only I had my own swimwear company I would never have to buy swimwear again! Everything I was experiencing during this adventure on my own influenced the brand that is now INDIGO.

Byron Bay was the place I ended up falling in love with and I stayed there for a few months longer than initially planned. It was here that I really began to develop the idea of INDIGO and what I wanted it to encompass. The eco-hippie beach town of Byron taught me a lot about issues in our environment and giving back to places and things we care about, and that’s when I knew I wanted to create a company with a purpose that gave back. So, it only seemed natural to me to give back to the oceans in which my swimwear was made to swim. And that's what I did!

Photos of INDIGO SWIMWEAR's newest swimwear collection, focusing on one pieces

Tell us about your product/brand and the inspiration behind it?

After deciding I wanted to give back to the oceans in which my swimwear was made to swim, I created INDIGO SWIMWEAR. It  is a 100% sustainable swimwear brand made from ECONYL fibers, which make up the regenerated nylon we use for all of our swimwear! Through every piece manufactured, we give back to the ROLE Foundation in Bali and through each piece sold, we give back to the Surfrider Foundation in California. I have also created a 100% eco-friendly customer experience through purely using eco-friendly, recycled and biodegradable shipping supplies.

How does sustainability play a role in your brand/product development? How important has this been to consumers?

Sustainability plays a 100% role in our brand and product development as that is what we are all about. Wherever possible we use either recycled, regenerated, eco-friendly, biodegradable, etc. products. I think our consumers appreciate and love that about the brand, so I would say it is very important to both us and them.

Lifestyle images of a woman in the trunk of her car with a surfboard propped up against it and a woman standing in the water holding a coconut drink with mountains jutting up behind her

What are your thoughts on the future role sustainability plays both professionally in business and in our everyday lifestyle choices, in regards to the future health of our planet?

I think sustainability already does, but it will even more-so play a role in all of our lives professionally and personally as the years go on. Waste management and especially waste in our oceans is a HUGE issue and we need to make those little everyday changes if we hope to see a change in the world in the long run.

It would be amazing to see businesses make those small changes in becoming more eco-friendly and sustainable. I can tell you from experience that it really is not that hard to make those changes. Pretty much everything we use in our everyday lives and in business can be sourced as an eco alternative instead.

Images of INDIGO SWIMWEAR's new line, primarily featuring two-piece, ruffle suits

In my everyday life, I am still slowly making those changes as well, but I have completely cut plastic water bottles out of my house and only use filtered water now and reusable bottles. I really try to buy and use as little plastic products as possible. Through running INIDGO, I have definitely learned to pay more attention to the small changes I can make in my life. For instance, if I am at the store and see an eco option, I always grab for that now instead of the alternative.

How does technology and innovation play a role in your business?

Technology is a large part of INDIGO as we are exclusively online at the moment. We also use a lot of technology in terms of marketing, communication, graphic design etc. so its definitely a large part of who we are!

Lifestyle photos of a woman and man in their swimsuits in front of a brick home and then of a women floating on the open water in a float that looks like a mermaid tail

What does wilderness mean to you?

Wilderness = Freedom.

Do you have a favorite item, it may be an heirloom handed down from a grandparent, friend or relative of some kind, that has great meaning to you?

My favorite item is my childhood teddy bear called Bearly. He still lives with me ☺

If you had to choose one place to live with only the basics available to you, where would it be and what would you take with you apart from the obvious survival gear?

I think I would live on a deserted Island in a treehouse; I’ve always thought that would be pretty neat. I think the things I would take with me would be my family and my close friends, my boyfriend, my three dogs, bikinis and sunscreen. Other than that, I’d be good with just the necessary survival gear and good food! I don’t think I need much more than good company, sunshine and delicious food!

Imagine that 25 years from now you are looking back on your life, what would be the legacy that you would hope for your brand to leave behind?

A brand that made a difference.

What message do you have for those starting their own business in regards to sustainability and innovation?

Do your research, don’t rush, be yourself and don’t try to copy other brands, and have fun with it!

Collage of beach and lifestyle images centered around surfing and pool days

Do you have a quote, saying or poem you find inspirational and what is it?

I always say the usual, “Everything happens for a reason.” But I truly believe that’s true. We live and we learn and everything that comes from that happens for a reason and leads up to our next step!

What brands do you admire?

I admire a lot of swimwear brands like Vitamin A ,as they are sustainable as well, L Space for how big they have made it, and obviously companies like Billabong, Roxy etc. as they are really at the top of the game.

How important do you think transparency and authenticity in brands is to consumers?

I think it is super important. Some people don’t care where their clothes come from or how they were made, but for people who do care, they should at least have the option to know the answer to their questions. So, being transparent and just putting it all out there is the best way to go in my opinion.

Final three images of INDIGO's newest swimsuit line, focused on two-piece suits

Can you tell us something about your product/brand/personal journey that might surprise us to know?

I started INDIGO all on my own and launched it all on my own within 8 months of the first thought!

What is your favorite animal and why?

Bears are my favorite. They are just so majestic and strong, yet cuddly and cute.

What is one thing you would be willing to or have already given up with the health of the planet in mind?

So, the big things that I have given up are plastic bottles and plastic straws. I have switched out other smaller things as well like cleaning supplies and laundry detergents etc. And as mentioned, when grocery shopping or shopping in general, I will try and reach for the eco option instead of the regular, stuff like that. Next is Tupperware, which I am switching out and then I really want to get those beeswax papers instead of using clingfilm and aluminum foil.