BIKINI ENTREPRENEUR RIDES UNIQUE WAVE OF SUCCESS
9 June 2017, Written by Yasmin Bonnell & Paris Faint
WHEN Karina Irby (pictured left) launched Moana Bikini in 2011 on a shoestring, the Gold Coast beach-lover made it her mission to create an icon around one of her favourite fashions.
Irby fell in love with the cheeky style of Brazilian-cut bikinis while on a holiday in Hawaii, and so decided to bring a few back to Australia and test the market's waters.
She knew she was onto a winner when the first collection sold out almost instantly.
Since then, Irby has perfected numerous seamless and reversible designs for her own Moana Bikini brand which have skyrocketed in popularity around the world.
Last year Irby entered at number 16 on the esteemed Gold Coast 40 Under 40 list, and in the past year her success has since continued to build.
Most recently she was blown away at the quantity of stock she sold from her most recent collection Island Time.
"We quadrupled our quantities which was extremely nerve racking for me hoping that we'd actually sell them, they are selling and I hope they keep selling out," she says.
Irby says the strong relationship with her manufacturer is one of the reasons she's kept on top of such high demand.
"He genuinely likes what Moana does and that we're not all about money," she says."He's actually dropped a lot of other businesses that he was manufacturing for so that he can keep up with the demand from Moana."
Not only has she created an icon, Irby has also amassed an army of social media followers she calls her 'Moana Babes'.
More than half a million people follow Moana Bikini on Instagram and Facebook alone.
Off the back of Island Time, Irby is excited to be launching another collection in November this year, this time looking to capture the curvy market.
"We're just in the process of coming up with sizes 16 plus so hopefully we're going to be catering for a whole new market soon," she says.
From a one women operation, Moana Bikini now employs eight people which Irby says is not only good for business but also for herself personally.
"I love that Moana has grown to a point where I've been able to hire up to eight team members, its great not just for the business but we've grown to a point where we're like a big family," she says.
"Because we've got such an amazing family behind the brand, that's really pushed our customer service and our sales."
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Author: Yasmin Bonnell & Paris Faint