I came across Swim Classy, the New Jersey based Swimwear brand on Instagram, and I loved the way that they used real women as models. The designs of the bikini’s and one pieces are really good: modern, flattering and sexy without revealing too much. I started to wonder, who was behind this great brand?
Swim Classy is the brain child of CEO Milly G Carmona, a beautiful, warm, well spoken woman, who understands the importance of how women feel in their own skin. I love Milly’s confidence, her intelligence, and the way she is so real and genuine. She has a softness that makes you want to be her friend, and the persistence and strength of character that makes you look up to her.
I caught up with her two ask her a few questions about herself, and her answers really blew me out of the water. You can read the transcripts below.
The models in your campaigns are all real, beautiful women and the images are untouched. Why do you think that promoting a healthy body image is so important?
“I want to tell you a little story about when I was younger, about twelve or thirteen years old. I was like any girl, they don’t know who they are yet, they’re testing out new styles and they’re very very delicate. And I was the same. But the thing is, people around me they kept, like my family, my relatives, they would constantly, like every time they saw me, would say “Oh, you’re fat, you look big, you need to lose weight. Why don’t you go to the gym? Why do you eat so much?” You know, I’m a girl who likes to eat, I have an appetite. And eventually this stuff started getting into my head.
So I was very insecure as a girl. I felt I was just never good enough. I wasn’t pretty enough. I wanted to be a model and that dream got crushed as soon as people started saying that.
When I was in high school, about fourteen or fifteen years old, I was still really really self conscious about myself and my body, so I started to go to the gym all the time. I think I lost weight but not too much weight. But I was starting to be a little bit more happy within myself, to myself I mean.
Eventually I started to get into fashion, and that’s what really really boosted up my confidence, how I styled my clothes, that was what I loved the most. And it was what made me really happy.
And then eventually a few years later I gave birth. And let me tell you, I was confident by the time I was in college and then I gave birth, and I had a baby girl, and I couldn’t be any happier in myself and in my body! I was just so happy and proud of being a mother, and every time I looked in the mirror I was proud of those little scars on my stomach, those stretch marks that I gained from my pregnancy. And I became really happy with myself.
And that is why I think body image is so important: it’s not what people around you think about you, but it’s from within yourself. Don’t look in the mirror and try to look like the girls in the magazines, or compare yourself to other people. You should be your own role model and you should love yourself or the way you look.
The only thing that matters is what’s in your heart and that will shine through. Once you’re confident inside, then everyone will know how confident you are. And they’ll just see such a nice light coming from you, a radiance.
And that’s why I think it’s so important to just love yourself and just forget what everyone else thinks about you.
What advice do you have for women starting their own business?
OK. So, I don’t have a college degree. I was salutatorian at my high school and I thought that that meant everything. I thought that if I went to college, that I would eventually get a job in the future. But my freshman year of college I met someone and he really really influenced my life and I thought, you know what? I can do this. I just have to be persistent, persistent, persistent.
And I eventually did drop out of college. And that was the best decision I made in my life.
I’m not saying that everyone should drop out of college, I’m saying that you should pursue what you put your heart to. The moment that you know what you want to do with the rest of your life, it just clicks, and fortunately it clicked for me when I was a freshman at college. And that’s when I decided to pursue my dreams.
Education is really really important, not just education in the system, but also education spiritually, education of your mind, mentally, you just have to be emotionally intelligent as well as intelligent.
So I started studying marketing, I started studying business, fashion, which is what I love, and then with the right people and the right materials I did start Swim Classy. At first it was hard! I didn’t know how to begin, but I just kept moving forward, and I kept talking to people who knew more than me. The number one thing is to keep learning as much as you can about the craft that you want to do and in this case we’re talking about business. So I just keep learning as much as I can about business.
I saved up $1000 for investment, and I used that towards starting Swim Classy, that just got the ball rolling and after that I didn’t really have to invest any more. I also didn’t have a job while I started Swim Classy, I quit everything and I decided to just put my all into this business. And I keep working at it daily, I keep trying to push it and push it until it’s more and more successful. I keep thinking of new ideas, and eventually I started partnering up with other people, and they grew me.
So my number one tip for starting your own business is to be persistent, and to educate yourself in what business you want to do. And of course, have love for whatever you’re selling because if you don’t love it no one else will love it.
Believe in yourself and everyone else will believe in you.
Thank you, Milly, for this wonderful interview! I hope you find her as interesting and inspiring as I do.
You also might like the great blog on their website, which promotes the women who Swim Classy works with, and talks about health, body image and is such a wonderful supportive place.
You can shop Swim Classy HERE or follow on Instagram @swimclassy or use hashtag #swimclassy
Want more? Follow me on Instagram @hermioneflavia, or on Twitter @craven_wild.