Featured Interview: Laura Rosenbaum {Founder of Novel Swim}

{Founder of Novel Swim}

Interview by Angel Quintana
Photo Credit: Hailley Howard
Magazine: Issue #29

Photography by: Hailley Howard

Photography by: Hailley Howard

Laura Rosenbaum is an illustrator and designer based in Brooklyn, NY. She is known for her cheeky, feminine illustration style and has created illustrations for various clients in the fashion, editorial, and commercial arena worldwide. She is a regular contributor to The Lingerie Journal, and her work has been published in magazines such as Glamour and Nylon. Her art has been featured on various fashion and beauty blogs including, Urban Outfitters, Free People, Mod Cloth, Alice and Olivia, Natural Belle, NaturallyCurly. Other notable clients include KnollTextiles, the NYC Department of Education, Wild Ridge Plants, and Miss Jessie’s haircare. She has drawn for lingerie and apparel brands including Hipster G, Bella Petite, Aegean Apparel, Sugar Lily, Magazzini Del Sale (Milan), the ILS fashion show in Las Vegas, and more.

Rosenbaum has a master’s in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NY and a bachelor’s in Fine Art from Vassar. She is the owner and designer of Novel Swim, a surf inspired swimwear line focused on creating flattering, modern, feminine bathing suits for women who want to swim, surf, boogie, and stretch confidently. The line features her signature illustrated prints. You can learn more about Laura and Novel Swim at www.NovelSwim.com.

What first got you interested in fashion?
My grandmother worked at Saks Fifth Avenue in NY when I was a little girl. She'd always come home with something crazy, colorful, and bold. She was the type of woman that would wear head to toe leopard for a walk in the country. I'd spend hours peeling through her closets and trying things on. She taught me to have no fear and that it was ok to stand out and be different.

How did you come up with the concept of these suits? What inspired you?
I started surfing a couple of years ago and realized that none of my bikinis would stay on when I was trying to catch a wave. They would literally fly right off! I wanted silhouettes that were not only functional but also cute and fashion forward. I'd been designing prints and  consulting as an illustrator with swim and lingerie brands for years, so I was ready to step out and create my own line. My first print--our Piña Crown design--is a play on a traditional pineapple print with a Novel twist. It's also a nod to a pineapple painting my grandmother painted when she was my age.

How important is finding the right fit? Any tips?
Finding the right fit is everything! I like to follow the CCC's: Comfort, Confidence, and Coverage. When you're down to your skivvies on the beach, you want to feel comfortable with your outfit. You don't want to feel like your constantly adjusting. You also want to feel confident, look amazing, and make heads turn. I wanted our prints to be showstoppers, so I designed really bold, fun patterns. Finally, you want to have the level of coverage that works for you that will allow you to enjoy yourself in the water without being scared that your suit is going to peel off after one wave. We really focused our first line to meet that criteria. 

Photography by: Hailley Howard

Photography by: Hailley Howard

What made you decide to start your own company?
For years, I worked as the Marketing Manager at a prestigious design company in Manhattan. We worked with incredible CFDA fashion designers--Rodarte, SUNO, Proenza Schouler, and Maria Cornejo--and an immensely talented female Creative Director, Dorothy Cosonas. Our marketing team was really small, so it often felt like we were running our own boat. I was literally doing a thousand different things every week, which was exciting and challenging. I knew that if I could apply all the same hard work and drive into my own business, I could make something happen. So I planned for two years, created a solid plan, saved money, found investors, and made the plunge.

Do you have any advice for other women with aspirations to start their own business?
Yes! Our motto from the beginning has been "Get it, Girl." We really believe in going after it--whatever "it" may be. Never be afraid to ask for what you want. I always have to remind myself that asking for what you need isn't annoying. It's business! Don't apologize for needing answers immediately. Don't hesitate. Ask questions until you find an answer. Meet people. Hire an accountant! And most importantly, be kind.

What’s next for Novel Swim?
We are thrilled to say that we just launched our online shop, and we are working on making our ecommerce platform more robust. We also just finished a tour along the south west coast of California where we met some amazing boutique and shop owners. Now, we are continuing our tour on the east coast. We're also planning out our next collection and working on concepts for our next print. There are a lot of great micro projects in the works that we can't wait to share with everyone.

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