#SocialSpotlight: Introducing The Bikini Shop
Something I have been seeing a lot of lately, as these new brick and mortar business continue to pop up in San Antonio, are companies that are more focused on the collaborative and community-first aspect of owning a store. More and more, I have seen stores arise with a similar mission; Highlighting local designers, artists and creatives alike. Giving them a space to showcase their work, network and grow their brand within the community. With that said, allow me to shine the #SocialSpotlight on a company that is no exception to these community based values and has every intention to help grow the #smallbusinesscommunity in San Antonio, The Bikini Shop!
When and why did you start Grecia Swim?
Grecia Swim started out as an idea after spending the summer of 2020 in Costa Rica! During my time in Costa Rica, I walked into a bikini shop where a young woman was creating her own swimsuits. She had machines in the back, and mentioned to me that she hand made all of her swimsuits right in the back of the shop, to which I instantly fell in love with the idea. I started Grecia Swim because, at the time, I was working in the dental field and despite working hard to get out of that industry, I knew I wanted to dip my toes into the world of sewing and swimwear. Since I travel a lot and I am always in swimwear, it made sense to start a swimsuit brand!
Why did you choose to expand and open The Bikini Shop?
I felt like it was time. I have never been the person to sit down and extensively plan something or one to even create a business plan. Don't get me wrong, I foresee what I want, but I prefer to say fuck it and just go for it. I remember having a moment of clarity that solidified the need for a store front; I wanted to give other designers the same opportunity that was given to me when I first started. I truly want to help people and give them a chance to feel great about themselves, whether that feeling of greatness comes from a designer being in my store or not, at the end of the day my goal is to keep people happy.
"I wanted a home for Grecia Swim, but I also wanted a place that other designers could call home too." - Grecia Valencia
What was it like transitioning from 9-5 life to full entrepreneurship?
In the beginning I was working full time and after work I would sew new collections and work on launches for Grecia Swim. Six months in to my swimwear journey, I was approached by Flying Solo, a retail brand in NYC, to showcase my brand at their store! Regardless of feeling scared, I said yes. From there, I attended NYFW and not soon after, I was sought after to work at Rent The Runway, which jumpstarted my stylist journey. Once I let dentistry go, I went full force, it was like my stars had aligned in that very moment. Since working as a stylist, I've had the opportunity to work with great people and brands and have created many great looks which helped me go full force into fashion. Although still working with RTR, I've been able to dedicate my time towards Grecia Swim in ways that I have never before. I launch my second mini-capsule collection "Texas Baby", held my first fashion show and now we are here, having officially opened my first storefront showcasing my new Spring/Summer 23' collection!
What is the purpose of The Bikini Shop?
The purpose of The Bikini Shop is to give independent designers a home. I want to highlight beachwear and swimwear at The Bikini Shop and that looks like a lot of things; hats, swimwear, accessories, etc. I feel like if we really want to take fashion to the next level and make fashion a staple in San Antonio, that we truly need to come together. At the end of the day we all market to different clientele and have different customers, so if my swimwear is not for you then maybe another designer in store is the brand for you! I want to give people that chance and welcome everyone to The Bikini Shop, not just my friends or Grecia Swim. If I see that your brand is something you love and have passion for, I want you in my store.
"I want The Bikini Shop to feel like a place where you belong, where you can come as you are and thrive! I want the shop to feel like someone's home for their brand, like they're supposed to be there and this is their shop too." - Grecia Valencia
How will you choose your designers each month?
Designers can fill out an application using the link in my bio. They will be prompted with questions that allow me to get to know the designer and brand on a deeper level. I want brands that are chic, bring versatility to the store and still align with the luxury shopping experience offered at The Bikini Shop.
What does success look like for The Bikini Shop?
Success for The Bikini Shop looks like multiple locations. I love clothing and I think the way I present myself shows that I like fashion, but what excites me about what I've created along my journey is the business side of things. I'm a businesswoman and I love creating opportunities out of anything I touch, and it's amazing to look back to when I first started Grecia Swim in comparison to now. Going from a make-shift-studio in a spare room to owning my first storefront location has been an amazing experience, but I'm already thinking about my next move. Success for The Bikini Shop doesn't look like clout, it looks like consistency and continued growth.
How are things different now from when you started?
In the beginning I felt very still with my life, it was very normal, I was a wife, a mother and a friend. Now, I am still all of those things, but I get to add entrepreneur and businesswoman to the list! If I could do anything differently on my journey, I would not let fear control my path and I would learn more about the resources offered here in San Antonio for small business owners. I see such a huge difference in my life overall and I feel like I have a purpose now, I wake up and I'm like "lets go make some dreams come true!"
What keeps you motivated?
Failure, I am so scared of failing in life that it keeps me going. For the longest time I felt like Texas wasn't my home even though its where I started Grecia Swim, I never felt 100% supported or seen here. What keeps me motivated is knowing that I truly do create my own path, and I won't ever give anyone the chance to say "aw, she tried", because I am not failing and I am not going anywhere. I want to be great, and being great is never giving up!
What can we expect for the future of Grecia Swim and The Bikini Shop?
Definitely events! When we hosted our Annual Pool Party, it was genuinely a great time with great people and I intend to, for the future of The Bikini Shop, keep having a great fucking time. Coming up next will be our first designer launch party for local swimwear brand, Laneaux, on 9/30, a Halloween party (costumes are highly encouraged!) and, thanks to a high demand, we will be releasing our men's swimwear line soon!
So, if you're looking for a place that gives the perfect balance of local and luxury, then your look can end here. The Bikini Shop could be described in three words as chic, accepting and in the words of its creator, "fucking fabulous"!
"I put my heart behind all of my work, I have big passions for everything I do. I am not here for glory or recognition, I'm here to make people feel great and that's what I want The Bikini Shop to represent, a place for people to call home." - Grecia Valencia
Connect with Grecia Swim x The Bikini Shop!
Shop in person Tuesday-Saturday 12p-7p:
2561 North Main Ave, San Antonio, Texas 78212