An Australian bikini designer who had to rebrand her celebrity-endorsed company twice has revealed how the setbacks have only made her stronger, as she turns over $7million each year.
Rebecca Klodinsky was 24 years old when she launched IIXIIST, then called Frankie Swim, in December 2013 while working in retail full-time.
‘I had just deferred my university studies – a double degree in forensic psychology – and was in a stage of my life most young adults are familiar with,’ the now 31-year-old told FEMAIL.
Spending her high school years and early adulthood on Australia’s Gold Coast instilled in the brunette beauty a love of beach culture and propelled her into starting the label.
Rebecca noticed a gap in the women’s swim market pre-IIXIIST that saw young girls have to lay-buy bikinis in anticipation for summer because many of the ‘popular’ brands were expensive.
‘Then it hit me… there must have been thousands of other girls who were doing the same thing, and I wanted to change the way we shopped. IIXIIST was the first of its kind offering great swim at happy prices,’ she said.
She pooled together $2,000 worth of savings and invested it directly into creating a line of bikinis that were made using high quality materials, with prices starting from $48 for tops and bottoms.
It wasn’t long before celebrity stylists were messaging Rebecca asking if their clients could try the swimwear, with the likes of Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, Kris Jenner, Rihanna and Gabrielle Union offering their support.
‘They’re all organic relationships and the celebs or the stylists request pieces from us directly, which is definitely a stamp of approval,’ she said.
‘In the Instagram age the power of celebrity has the ability to slingshot your brand to stardom overnight, not to mention the effect it has on sales.’
But as she started to succeed Rebecca noted that her brand Frankie sounded very similar to a number of other influential players in the swim industry. So she altered it to Frankii.
‘Over the past five years I have been in and out of lawyers’ offices, pivoting while I saw brands with like names devalue the once stand-alone name that was my beloved Frankii,’ she said.
‘However, it got to the point where enough was enough; it was time to take the leap and change the brand name to something unique and bold that stood out on her own. So, I said goodbye to Frankii Swim, and hello to IIXIIST.’
Pronounced ‘exist’, the brand has only increased in popularity since the rebranding – and hasn’t fallen victim to COVID-19 layoffs because all of the suits are sold online.
‘I made the strategic decision to use this lockdown as downtime, temporarily relieving the business of its many moving parts; some employees are on annual leave, digital advertising campaigns are cancelled and plans on hold,’ she said.
‘I was an early adopter in making the adjustments, which prepared me for when it really hit.’
Currently living in the AFL isolation hub in Queensland while her boyfriend Lachie Henderson plays, Rebecca is spending plenty of time delegating staff remotely and playing with her son.
‘I’ve just launched a kids range and am about to launch a resort wear line, plus my new collection for summer 2020/21… so it’s all hands on deck,’ she said.