Meagan Scott was working out of her parents garage in January 2011, trying to formulate the concept behind a brand that would embody the very best times of her life—those times, that is, when she was in her bikini. Scott, who jokes that it feels like she’s been working with her bikini brand Boys + Arrows for decades, grew up soaking up the sun in her native Ventura County, California, and jet setting across the globe to tropical locales.
With its strong roots at the beach, the brand’s sales grew significantly from 2011 to this year, and is now working its way up to a more intricate distribution plan while still monitoring its growth closely and keeping a firm grip on where the product sits at retail, says Scott, who also has help with Boys + Arrow from her sister Samantha.
“As I’ve watched the company evolve, I’ve noticed Meg treats the bathing suits as she does everything else in her life—with respect and a demand for perfection,” says Samantha. “As an up and coming brand, she didn’t pick the least expensive fabric or hire an inexperienced pattern maker to cut back on costs. Oh no, that is not how my sister rolls. She ordered designer fabric from Italy, hired only the best, and didn’t skimp out on any detail for the sake of saving a buck or two. These bathing suits are a representation of who my sister is: dependable, daring, and one of a kind!”
We caught up with Meagan Scott to learn more about this unique brand and take a closer look at the suits:
Discuss what the thought process was behind creating Boys+Arrows, and what’s the philosophy around the brand?
When I decided to develop the Boys+Arrows brand I had a few very simple things in mind. The perfect fitting bikini and creating a following or better yet, a gang of gals who had similar interests as I do which include soaking up the sun, large bodies of water, hopping on an airplane in a moments notice and causing a whole lot of harmless trouble. Just living for the moment and never looking back with loads of confidence and always ready for the next fearless journey. I was always the only girl in a pack of dudes who did this very thing I speak of. I wanted to encourage girls to take the initiative to live their lives in this way. What better way to start than creating a swimwear brand.
What’s the story/meaning behind the name?
Hmmm, the name! Well it was about a year and a half of sleepless nights and rapid annoying thoughts of what name would explain what I was trying to do best. It's obviously a play on Bows and Arrows, which I found to be slightly too masculine for a women's swimwear line so clearly Boys+Arrows was the answer! Just a playful name about weaponry and chasing boys. Hobbies.
What do you think sets your product apart from the competition?
I mean I could go into the development of each piece, the top of the line materials, construction, and fit, but at the end of the day Boys+Arrows swimwear is set apart because each design is pure and original just hoping to put huge smiles on the consumers face when they are creating memories, staying out too late in a foreign land and sleeping in their Boys+Arrows bikini because why take it off! We are proud to be an all-American brand who's product resembles just that.
How has the new collection received by retailers?
It's been pretty amazing. Since my first sale it's been like wild fire spreading all across the world. And even more we have become a staple for most of our retailers with constant reorders and a strong demand for Boys+Arrows bikinis. I have a close relationship with most of my accounts and it’s awesome how excited they get with each collection we launch. 2013 is definitely our most pioneering season thus far.
What sort of retail accounts are you already in? Are you looking to expand and if so, what type of stores are you targeting?
We are definitely a specialty boutique brand. Higher end retailers are where we mostly sit and of course your staple swimwear shops. Also the classic Surf Shop with a strong women's section. After all that is where I first started buying my bikinis. Online retailers have become a huge market for us as well. In the future we of course plan to target department stores when the time is right.
Do you have international distribution?
We handle our international sales in house at the moment but have plans for distribution in the near future. Just trying to keep a handle on our growth and making sure we know exactly what is going on and where our products are sitting.
What was the most exciting meeting you had with a retailer at Swim Collective, and why?
To be honest for me it's all of my accounts who have been with me since the beginning who come to their appointments, give me a huge hug, and tell me how well they do with Boys+Arrows. I love to hear about how they sold out literally with not once piece needing to go on the sale rack and that they need to place a bigger order for next season. Those meetings are always the most exciting and rewarding.
What are you immediate goals for the brand in relation to sales and marketing over the next six to twelve months?
Well our sales from 2011 to 2012 grew about 8 times which was more then we could have ever hoped for. For the coming year we expect a good amount of growth but we also want to keep a tight grip on distribution and quality control. We are just going to keep doing what we have been doing and hope to continue to make a quality product that is made in America.
What do you think is the most crucial part about conveying your brand story properly to retailers? What suggestions do you have for retailers to better tell these stories in their stores?
Our retailers love our story. They know that I started in my garage (still here actually!) with no help sweating it out working two jobs until I was blessed enough to quit them both and have Boys+Arrows be my main focus. I'm pretty sure my retailers convey the Boys+Arrows story properly because most of them remember me walking right on in and shaking their hand. We have all grown together and have an enormous amount of love and support for each other.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the market these days? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge is definitely 100 percent cash flow! It's a nightmare and super scary. Which is why we are still in the garage. No complaints though, it is a pretty amazing set up in here. Biggest opportunity is of course our projected growth and expanding the line. We are still just a baby company and I can only imagine what is to come.
What have you learned in the process of launching your own brand that you wish you would have known when you started?
Man. I have learned that when people tell you no, they really mean yes! What I'm saying is if I had listened to all the “no's” and “I cant's” along the way I would have stopped before I started. There is nothing a little persistence can't conquer. Being a designer and founder of a brand is the furthest thing from easy or glamorous. It is hard and you can not do it unless you have extreme stamina and determination. But there is no amount of this you can really learn without actually setting forth and experiencing it for yourself. It has been a pretty amazing journey so far.