Exclusive Interview with Emerging Swimwear Brand Lyme Shop

After taking a short break in March to regroup and reset, I am so excited to be back and ready to share with you everything I have been working on! I connected with a fellow entrepreneur through the networking platform GirlBoss, who put me in contact with Padma, one of the founder's of Lyme Shop. Lyme shop sells swimwear embracing diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability. In my personal opinion, Lyme shop raises the bar in the sustainable swimwear realm and is doing more than most swimwear brands. From using innovative fabrications, to ethical sourcing, to recycled liners and hangtags. Lyme Shop instantly intrigued me and I was so happy when Padma agreed to do an interview as I naturally had loads of questions.

I'll keep it short and sweet because I believe Padma's responses are unconventionally raw and transparent, and I want you all to read and take it all in! In many ways working on this particular post has been nothing short of inspirational to me. There are times when I feel doubtful about the planet's future and how our current way of living will effect future generations. Sometime's I think people just don't care enough to make the changes that are required. But then I meet likeminded people and the world doesn't feel so big. I realize I am not alone, and that connecting with people is so important (as introverted as I am). I encourage you to always speak your truth, make your dreams reality, and just go for it - no matter how outside of the box it may be. I truly believe that we all have a purpose on this planet and to be able to find and embrace it is the ultimate achievement.

Q: When and how was Lyme-Shop launched? How big was the team?

A: Lyme-Shop was officially launched in July of 2020 – Prior to our official launch we had been working on the details of the business for roughly a year, ensuring we clearly defined and built upon what we wanted our brand to truly stand for. The name “Lyme” has a funny yet simple story behind it. My partner and I were out for lunch and while waiting for our food, he just mentioned the word lime (we had been on and off thinking of business names for about 1 month) and I thought lime what? And he said for the business. In our Caribbean culture the word lime stands for hanging out, chilling and all in all a good time with loved ones. I instantly fell in love with it as I really wanted something catchy, true to our roots, and short! We made a quick swap of the I for a Y and got LYME. At the time of launch and up to today, I can say that the team is just between myself and my partner! We hope to grow Lyme-Shop large enough one day and expand our Lyme-Fam!!

Q: Can you speak to the creation of the products and if you came across any road blocks

when trying to produce sustainably?

A: While creating our first collection it was tricky sourcing a manufacturer that could and would meet our needs as being a small startup business. I reached out to many suppliers across the world ranging from Indonesia, Australia, Bali, Brazil, and the United States – Many manufacturers had high volumes that we could not support or did not have the option for sustainable fabric or the ability to produce reversible styles. There were some manufacturers that would provide sustainable fabrics however, I would then have questions regarding their ethical standard of workplace and wages and some of the answers received were not acceptable to me or either raised an eyebrow. Other roadblocks faced were flat out not receiving responses, receiving limited information but push to sample product and manufacturers not working in sustainable ways but providing sustainable fabrics.

Q: I see your manufacturer was a part of the Fashion Revolution #whomademyclothes

movement. How did you go about selecting your production site in Brazil? How closely

do you work with your manufacturer?

A: Yes, the team that I work with in Brazil are awesome! They are a beautiful group of strong women who are highly skilled in manufacturing swimwear and genuinely care about the impact that they make. The biggest reason that I selected this manufacturer was due to their option of biodegradable material – They were the only supplier that offered this type of fabric and I also liked that the complete fabric (CO2control) was also manufactured out of Brazil. Many of the other manufacturers I connected with primarily carried Lyrca and Carvico which are great fabrics for other reasons, but I liked that CO2control solved the end cycle problem rather than repurposing plastic that would eventually reenter our ecosystem.

Other reasons that I selected the manufacturing site in Brazil was their ethical beliefs and

standard of workplace, empowering women by running a fully operated women’s manufacturing site and lastly, they are a PETA approved supplier which is a great bonus that makes them stand out even more amongst other suppliers. With respect to our work relationship, I would say we work closely together when exploring new collections, we bounce ideas back and forth and they are always great with supplying alternatives if my ideas cannot be done in a certain way!

Q: Lyme-Shop uses different fabrications when compared to other sustainable swimwear

brands who typically just go for a recycled poly. Why did you choose CO2 fabric?

A: CO2control provides a solution for the end of lifespan for the garment. Recycled poly fabrics are solutions to repurpose existing waste which we can all agree that there is TONS of plastic waste out there so, good on all the companies who see the value in repurposing already available waste, this now gives it new useable life. I applaud all brands that are exploring advanced fabrics such as recycled poly or biodegradable fabrics – They both solve different issues and I was more drawn into the solution for the end cycle that way we do not have microfibers reentering our ecosystems. There is amazing development in the textile industry, and I believe this will only continue to grow and blossom as consumers start becoming more conscious of their impact on the environment and how that goes beyond household recycling/compost processes. Technology is constantly developing, and the needs of consumers are shifting gears therefore that will only lead to more advancement in the textile industry which I am excited to learn more about.

Q: Why is sustainability important to you?

A: Sustainability must start being important to each of us – I cannot say I am perfect. Being a 90s baby and going through majority of my life accustom to disposable options such as water

bottles, plastic cutlery, foam plates, plastic containers, the list can go on! It is a change and a

shift that has to take place, many of us are poor at living sustainably as it was never a thing I

want to say – We are simply brought up without the knowledge and concern until the discussion of climate change and pollution started blowing up and information started becoming more accessible via internet. Over the past 15 years I have grown up recycling products, sorting compost, and separating garbage but little did I know that there is A LOT more that had to be done to really start making a change and I cannot say I was aware until probably 3 years ago truly. I am a HUGE fashion lover, have always been and can remember days of just shopping all the trends and trying to find the best deals to stretch my dollar and keep on top of trends but when I started digging deeper into the fashion industry and the impacts it has, I was simply speechless. All these years of supporting brands that cause great harm to our environment and our communities, but this is due to a lack of knowledge which I should have thought to research more at an earlier stage. If I were better informed earlier, I would have made many changes and most likely live the way I live currently which is not aimlessly shopping and understanding better what companies I am putting my dollars into and what in turn that supports.

Q: Sustainability is important to me continued:

A: 1. The world needs our support, the world needs our actions to change to continue. The solution is not a new planet (Mars), it is caring for the one we have inhabited for many years.

2. Sustainability is creative! The textile industry is ever changing and evolving daily! We are so much more advanced than what we were when synthetic fabrics were the answer. We are now learning better ways to manufacture and produce trendy, fashionable, and responsible clothing. Sustainability does not have to be boring, and if we can achieve the same look without jeopardizing our planet then why wouldn’t we?

3. Sustainability and Ethics go hand in hand – I have had my time of supporting brands

unconsciously that are of poor ethical and environmental standards. I will no longer support

these brands. In my eyes sustainability and ethics go hand in hand – I believe everyone should have a fair and safe working environment and strongly believe in equal and fair wages.

Q: Transparency is something I believe to be important for all brands, sustainable or not, to

disclose more info on their product life cycle. I appreciate how Lyme Shop covers

multiple aspects from the compostable hygiene stickers, cotton packaging, to recycling

water throughout the production process. Where is an area you would like to improve

upon for future collections?

A: This is an awesome question and I appreciate you thoroughly going through our product overview and gathering these details. Details are incredibly important to me and as

transparency is important to you, it is to me as well. As an entrepreneur, what I work on will always be a work in progress and most likely never hit a level of perfection as this is constantly changing and my expectations are always shifting. There is always room for improvement and as stated on our site, we still have improvement to be done even as simple as down to our hang tags – currently 3 out of 4 of our hang tags for our first collection is made of recycled paper however, there is still one that was not and that is something we need to change and plan to ensure is done for our second collection. I would also like to explore bringing in new fabrics that can be used that are also biodegradable but compiled in a different format or from different technology outside of Amni Eco Soul. Currently CO2control fabric can degrade within 3-5 years which is amazing, but I would love to

explore new fabrics that have lesser duration for decomposing once in landfills.

Q: Any plans for the future that you can share?

A: For the future I have a lot of plans! We are still very fresh and new to consumers, but I am working presently on a new collection which I hope to launch by June of 2021 and targeting a third launch by September 2021 for our women’s swimwear. For a longer term, I am hopeful that we can expand into athleisure wear for woman and possibly men’s swimwear as well. On a very long-term basis, I would like to team up with a non-profit organization and donate proceeds towards a great cause or build a non-profit to which we can collect a portion of the sales from Lyme-Shop and start building a fund to create affordable and sustainable tiny homes from biodegradable materials for our community at risk such as previously incarcerated women. This is a subject that holds a spot in my heart, and I would love to be able to help a community that may be dealt a bad deal and trying to adapt to society with a “tainted” record. It can be extremely difficult for those to get their life moving and most likely end up falling back into the system due to lack of resources to help. Outside of these, I would also like to grow Lyme-Shop greatly and be able to provide employment opportunities to my community and perhaps even worldwide! I am a big dreamer.

Q: I love how swim styles can be worn different ways or are reversible, what made you

want to create styles like this?

A: Thank you! I wanted our swimwear to be fun, fashionable, durable, comfortable, but also take the reuse and sustainability factor to another level. By making each piece reversible, it gives you the ability to get more looks in one, get more out of your dollar, reduce unnecessary shopping which in turn leads to reduced garment disposal, and less space taken up in suitcases for travel. I really want our swimwear to be more than just swimwear – I want it to serve a purpose and be a solution not just another cute bikini.

Q: I see inclusivity is embedded into your brand identity from the very beginning. What kind

of woman do you envision wearing your swimsuits? And how do they make her feel?

A: Inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability are our 3 pillars that we go back to when making

decisions in our brand. These are incredibly important and will always have the spotlight shined across it. What kind of woman do I envision wearing my swimsuits? The answer is simple, it is you – And me, and the woman at my 9-5 job, along with my neighbor, the Instagram influencer, and truly all women of all sizes, shapes, colours, preferences, backgrounds and so much more. I want woman to feel at home, to feel comfortable, sexy, stylish, and fierce. As said on our site, swimwear is just a garment that is ultimately shapeless – Without a beautiful body, it is truly nothing amazing – YOU are what makes it, not the other way around.

Q: Why should customers choose Lyme Shop swimwear?

This is a hard question for me as I have never been a “sales” person. I will be the first to come

out and say our brand may not be for you and that is OK – We are not for everyone but, we are for some – We are for the women that stand and align to the importance of diversity,

sustainability, and inclusion. We are for the women that want to be a part of a fun journey and

get to know us on a more personal level – I interact with each person we come across on our

social media directly and I am no one special because I have a brand, I am just like anyone out there and love making connections. If I have to say anything more on this, I will say we are a brand for those that want to see a part of themselves reflected. We see beauty in all, I do not recruit models or partner with influencers based on a checklist for their appearance, we think diversity is beautiful and those that agree, we are for you.

Q: Any advice to other entrepreneurs working towards a sustainable brand?

Yes, I would say read articles! Read, read, read, and learn. There is so much information on the internet and figures that you will come across will blow your mind. That has been one of the most interesting parts of my journey so far, all the information that I have come across and

thinking that just 3 years ago I had not a clue – Because I was not reading, or in search of this

information. It is important to understand the impacts that the way the world has been has on

our environment – In order to make changes, we need to understand what is wrong and why

Outside of that, I would say really focus on the details – A lot of the pollution and waste stems of simple things that can be overlooked such as packaging – We may come up with a great

sustainable product to sell but how about the other components of that product?

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