A New Zealand swimwear company is experiencing a surge in demand for its bikinis made from recycled fishnets.
As the United States eases into their summer months, Kalakoa swimwear says the company experienced a 300% increase in online traffic on the website in two days and is now shipping out orders to northern hemisphere customers daily.
Former lifesaving champion Toni Burke created the company, which aims to produce swimwear that is ethically manufactured and sustainable. She says there is a clear demand for affordable and sustainable swimwear in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The material the company uses is made from carvico vita, derived from fishnets found in the ocean, as well as lepreve lycra made from plastic bottles.
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"I also think they are also a bit more daring with their swimwear choices in terms of pattern and design and in NZ we can be a bit more conservative. That's why I've made the swimwear reversible so there is block colour on one side for those who don't want a swimsuit that makes such a bold or colourful statement," she says.
Burke was unable to find a manufacturer in New Zealand, so opted for the product to be handmade in Bali.
"I am constantly trying to make our brand as eco-friendly as possible and will have more ideas on the horizon as we grow," Burke says.
In addition to the company's ethical and sustainable focus, Burke tries to keep the brand accessible. According to the company's website, the swimwear is sold for $79 per bikini top or bottom, while one piece costs $119.
She has big ambitions for her business, and eventually wants to expand the brand's product range to include men and children's swimwear.
While New Zealand's next summer is a while off, Burke hopes local sales will pick up in the coming weeks, and her plans to sell the range in NZ stores will resume under Covid-19 alert level 2.