Living on an island, beachwear is just something that is part of our regime and when I came across Thalassa Beachwear, I was impressed by what this brand had to offer. Meet Arielle and Alyssa Persad, the sister duo behind the Thalassa brand.
“Our brand’s mission is to break the stereotypes and borders with the inclusiveness and versatility of our collections. We constantly research and design modern contemporary swimwear, resort wear and accessories which embody the idealism of the Caribbean lifestyle and dream. Whilst our designs are consistent with bright vivid Caribbean colours, our prints are inspired by iconic landscapes from the most dreamed of places on the map”.
A quick look on the Instagram feed for Thalassa Beachwear will confirm that the brand certainly does offer a premium line of swimwear, resort wear and accessories. When it comes to the name, Thalassa, Arielle tells me the story behind it. “I consider myself a thalassophile which means ‘lover of the ocean’. Upon further research, we came across the word Thalassa. In Greek mythology, Thalassa was the primeval spirit of the sea. She represents the ocean and all its components. She is the ocean. It is one word that sums up who I am and I wanted our brand’s name to reflect that”.
Thalassa is full time for both Arielle and her sister and story behind the business itself lies in their childhood. Arielle tells us the story. “When my sister and I were kids, it was always an event when it came to clothing. Our mom would choose beautiful pieces of cloth and sew matching beach outfits which is where I think we got our sense of style and a desire to create fashionable beachwear. One day we came across this quote, “I’d rather have a life of oh wells than a life of what ifs” and it occurred to both of us that now is the time to pursue our passion on what we always dreamed of doing. We established a fashion collection using our own prints while fusing the comfort of home (Trinidad and Tobago) with an international experience. The nature of our business, swimwear, resort wear and accessories was chosen in memory of our mother as it would serve as a daily reflection on the outfits she made us and the numerous days we spent at the beach together. She will forever vicariously live on through Thalassa Beachwear TT”.
When it comes to the wins of the brand to date, Arielle cites a few milestones. “Our first milestone was completing and launching our first beach cover-ups collection, ‘The Caribbean Escape’ in 2018 which was astonishingly well received and praised. Soon after, we got the grand opportunity to display our designs at the Tobago Jazz Festival. This year we introduced ‘Wanderlust,’ our first swimwear line with matching beach cover-ups to our collection and so far it’s been quite a success. We will also be making our first international debut at a fashion show in Washington.” Those are certainly some brand wins for Thalassa.
No entrepreneur has a smooth journey and I’ve come to learn that more and more through The Brandom. There are always challenges and lessons along the way. “One of the lessons my sister and I learned is cooperation is the key. Both of us have our own strengths independently from each other and we needed to use that to our advantage. While we argued many times over who has the majority of work to do or whose duties are the most crucial, we eventually came to terms understanding that we are both needed in order for Thalassa Beachwear TT to be successful”. Teamwork makes the dream work as they say. I can certainly imagine the challenge of two sisters working together but this duo seem to have the right formula with Thalassa.
So what’s the advice for other entrepreneurs out there? “Quality. Never compromise on your quality. Quality is the core and most important element of any product/service. It is the forefront and face of your brand. You can have the best idea that is seemingly lucrative but without quality there is no chance of long-term success. Quality may be difficult to achieve at first but you have to keep consistently researching, improving and innovating your product”. Arielle is spot on with quality being crucial. It is what supports all other forms of engagement you have with your customer.
It’s become commonplace for me to get some insight, from each entrepreneur here on The Brandom, on the topic of brands and brand building. Arielle cites one word, “uniqueness”. She continues, ‘A brand is a person/person’s proprietary work they put their heart and soul into. It is unique to who they are. Our Thalassa Beachwear TT brand is a representation of our creativity and style on how we perceive everything around us and we then translate that originality into our product/service that the world can appreciate and admire”. Brand building definitely takes a lot of heart and soul.
As for if there is a difference between a business and a brand? Arielle also gave some insight. “In my opinion, a business is generic while a brand is one of a kind. Anyone can establish a business with buying and reselling, but a brand is more than just a business. It’s about all the fine details for example the packaging, the labelling, the logo that represents your brand which contributes to the image and identity of that specific business. For Thalassa Beachwear TT, it’s a continuous and consistent process of branding not only our prints, swimsuits and cover-ups but also all the accessories that complements our line of beachwear”.
Arielle is aware that local brands are popping up just like Thalassa but she thinks that a lot of work is needed. “I honestly believe that the local brand community is very small, under recognized and stifled by the vast number of foreign franchises you see here in Trinidad and Tobago. Not much is invested to promote and encourage locally developed brands compared to the investment and tax incentives as well as the prime locations foreign franchises are given”. It is certainly a challenge for local brands to rise above the noise and magnitude of the foreign brands here in Trinidad and Tobago. But brands like Thalassa continue to push through and be a part of the change that is needed.
Apart from being available via their website and social media channels, Thalassa also participates in some of local markets, one of the more popular channels for local brands here in Trinidad and Tobago. “Yes, we participate in pop up shops, for example one of our favourites is Upmarket. I think it’s a wonderful, economic and personal way to meet potential customers and it helps to get your brand noticed. It’s also a quick way to gauge your product success by the attention it’s given”. That face to face experience is certainly necessary when building a brand.
Once again, another entrepreneur sharing inspiring and information insight with us here on The Brandom through their experiences and brand story as a whole. Until the next brand story …