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How She Got There: Francesca Aiello, Owner & Designer of Frankie’s Bikinis

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Name: Francesca Aiello
Age: 18
Job Title and Description: Frankie’s Bikinis owner/designer
Website: www.frankiesbikinis.com
Twitter Handle @frankiesbikinis

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Francesca Aiello: My job is to design all of the swimsuits and promote Frankie’s Bikinis on social media every day. ... A typical day would consist of my mom and me working from home, taking orders and shipping for the website. A few times a week I go down to Los Angeles and go to either the factory or the pattern maker to pick out fabrics and prints. At the factory, I oversee the work and approve samples before production. Most importantly, the part I love is designing and trying on the suits that I have created and making my ideas come to life!

What is the best part of your job?

FA: I absolutely loved being in Miami for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and showing off the “Pacific Love” Resort 2014 Collection. Being able to see people’s positive reactions to Frankie’s Bikinis is the best part. Fashion Week in Miami is so exciting because there are shows every night. That week may have been completely hectic, but I love being able to do something that I enjoy.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

FA: This is my first entry-level job in my field. Growing up in Malibu, I have always loved being at the beach, and I have this endless admiration for swimwear. As I got older, I started coming up with my own ideas for cute suits, and with the help and encouragement from my mom, I began going through the trial and error process of starting a swimwear company. I got the hang of it, and now I couldn’t be happier with how my company is doing.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

FA: Literally everything. ... I basically jumped right into the swimsuit industry and had to figure things out along the way. There are so many aspects of this industry that I had to learn. At first it was a lot to take in, but now, in my second collection, I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I just have to keep on trying to improve and become more efficient in my work.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

FA: My inspiration mainly comes from my travels to Hawaii and the carefree beach lifestyle that is so prevalent both there and on the beaches of Malibu. On top of that, the inspiring beauty of the ocean that can be seen on a daily basis.

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

FA: My mom. She is the behind-the-scenes star. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the work that she puts in every single day. We work hard together, and a lot of the time, she gives me the energy to keep going and finish what needs to be done.
 
What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

FA: “Never give up on something you don’t go a day without thinking about.” I love this because it encourages me to never give up on something I love, and to keep my head up on hard days that make me want to quit.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

FA: One of the mistakes we made was in the very beginning, even before the first collection was released. The factory we created our product in was specialized in producing clothing rather than swimwear. We thought initially that they would be able to work with bikinis, but the work was just not to the standards that we had hoped. From this experience we learned that the sewing and production of bikinis was more intricate than we previously had thought and therefore we switched to a factory that specializes in swimwear. Now we are pleased with the quality of their work.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

FA: The most surreal moment of my career so far was when Victoria’s Secret Model Candice Swanepoel posted a photo of herself wearing one of the Frankie’s Bikinis we had sent her. This was so exciting because it was during our early stages and it gave me affirmation that my business could actually become successful!
 
What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

FA: When hiring someone, I look for people who are hardworking and capable of getting the job done. Most importantly, that person has to be easy to be around and able to work under stressful situations.
 
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

FA: My advice to another person around my age that has similar aspirations is to go after whatever she wants to accomplish and believe that it can happen. That being said, do not think that just because you dream it, it will come true. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to be successful, but if you keep working, trust in yourself and don’t give up, then your aspirations can be fulfilled.

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