Learn all about the founder of Xel (shell) Swimwear and how she made a name for herself in the swimwear industry!
Meet Courtney Craft.
The inspiring founder of Xel (pronounced: shell) Swimwear talks to HOLR about getting started in the industry, what consumers can expect when they shop the brand, what to expect and more!
Keep reading to learn all about Courtney and Xel Swimwear, plus how to shop this season’s most coveted swimwear brand!
Tell us about how you started your brand and your passion for creating and designing swimwear.
Xel Swimwear is a small, Canadian-run company. We started in July 2020, so that was just the start of COVID. Things were a little rough at first, but we got through it.
The passion I have behind fashion in general really launched this profession for me. I was trying to decide what I wanted to do – I was in college, studying healthcare, and it wasn’t until my partner pushed my passion into a business. We then took it from there.
Swimwear was something I wanted to get into – I love to travel! The name itself has a meaning. My partner and I went to Mexico a year and we saw a place called Xel-Há and it made us decide that it was an interesting way to start a brand and give it such a unique name. We were trying to find the name and Xel stayed with us. We really went with it and rode it.
Things were going very well! I came to an epiphany with the name, in which Xel is like a seashell. I took the name and created a community around the whole notion of “break-free”. Break-free is our motto – breaking free from whatever is holding you back. This is what drove the initial base around our brand. Our products are amazing, but it’s also the community around them that makes them so great. We have blogs that feature our Xel Babes community, and it’s a way for people to see that there are real people out there who are going through hard times and hard to break free from.
That’s basically what drives the brand now – continuing to maintain a greater reach with the brand and its community.
This is the story of the brand. I’ve always had a passion for fashion and I’ve sewn a lot of things. We also outsource our products but I am the designer and the face of the brand, including marketing, website management and social media. I’m the face of Xel, and it’s a passionate thing I’m looking for. I would say I have a natural gift for putting outfits together and making things fun. I want to make things beautiful and have a message behind the product.
What can consumers expect when buying Xel swimwear?
The first thing is when they try on the swimsuits – the quality. We order small quantities to ensure the quality is on point. The overall consumption of the actual product must also be there. Our swimsuits are also versatile and customizable (tops and bottoms sold separately) to ensure everyone has the right fit.
Many of our pieces are as versatile as possible – we try to strive for that.
Another thing is customer service. I’m the face behind it on website chat and social media, and I’m there when you email – I’m everywhere! I try to have a quick response time and it’s important that people have someone to talk to. I want to be the helpful person out there to answer those questions, as the most qualified person.
Back to our blog and testimonials are one of the strengths of our website. A great way for individuals to make their first Xel purchases can scroll through our blog – we’re brand name passives, and we’re so much more than that. People can see that it’s more than just a swimwear brand.
We are also able to style different pieces together which is great for people who like to mix and match and play with colors. They can have the flexibility and comfort to express themselves with different styles. We want to infuse as much of that creativity and expression with fashion as possible.
Many people find it hard to trust a new brand, so we have safe payment options. We really try to instill that there is a safe payment plan. We offer various major credit cards and payment plans. Another huge thing is that people love using PayPal.
Finally, we have a very personalized experience to our brand. Our brand is more than just products. I am also more than just a brand owner. I want people to feel comfortable reaching out to me, responding to me, etc. I am here to create a safe space for our customers. That’s another thing that I find comes into play after everything we’ve been through – I want people to know they can come to our brand and it’s a non-judgmental zone.
We love how inclusive your designs are to the body! Tell us about how you embrace body positivity at Xel Swimwear.
There are plenty of people struggling with body image issues, trying to embrace that part of themselves with something as revealing as swimsuits. A big thing that we try to encourage – down to our testimonials and our blog – is to show that these are real people who feel the same way, and that this is a safe space. We want our customers to feel good about themselves.
I know there are a lot of brands that push for body inclusion, but I think we stand out the most by being a safe space for everyday people who don’t fit the stigma of a “model” body. “. It’s not just about swimwear, because body inclusion surrounds everything you wear. When it comes to our blog and our community, we really try to celebrate that entirely, not just with our customers. We try to celebrate all the people who come out with their stories. We encourage people to feel good about themselves by highlighting people who are going through the same things. It’s normal not to be well sometimes.
We also want to enter the postpartum period. Women go through incredible transformations and we want to showcase the postpartum industry, helping individuals feel good about themselves. It’s something to celebrate!
Tell us about the different collections of the brand that we can buy.
One of our very first launches was The Classics. The materials are sportier, almost like spandex. It holds you back more and you can do fun and sporty things on the beach besides sunbathing and lounging.
Another is The Hamptons collection. I really like it and had so much fun designing it. It’s a more luxurious collection and we’ve actually included one of our unique pieces (The Marilyn) in The Classics. It features a softer fabric but gives you a luxury look and feel. We played with the colors and gave it a Hamptons vibe. The fabric is like butter!
One of the most recent collections we have launched is the Miss Miami collection. This one is probably – so far – my favorite! The colors are so bright and fun. We have also just launched our first fabric skirt for swimwear. It’s the Remi skirt in Taffy, then we have the Piper suit in Taffy and the Willow suit in Limoncello. Our second two-piece is the Hamptons spin-off, and it’s version 2.0. It features a new crinkle fabric that’s super soft and holds you back. They’re also taller because people wanted more coverage, which we fully understand.
There may be more to come!
What are some of your best-selling items that we should definitely add to cart?
Probably from our Classics collection, the Naomi in French Lilac. It sold out faster than I thought! This specific style is a definite add to cart. The Emerald Naomi is also popular. It is a softer and more supple fabric from the Hamptons collection.
The Sophia in Espresso from the Hamptons collection is perfect for tanning. Brown is so fashionable! It’s a color that will never go out of fashion.
Recently the Piper is one of my favorites and it’s definitely a popular style.
What’s next for the brand? Are there any updates you can hint at for 2022?
Potentially! We could go into more accessories – blankets, sheets, adding to what we already have. Maybe come up with styles more suitable for the 30+ age group, adding more cup coverage and support. We may also be considering tankinis and a print! We are in the process of creating our first draw. You should expect a print to come out in the next few months.
Maybe also something with men! We want to get into the masculine side of things and get into matching suits with your partner or sibling etc. This is something you can see for the future of Xel. Just being able to talk about it excites me!
Published by Holr Magazine.