Summersalt disrupts the $5.2 billion swimwear category


how it started

Summersalt founders Lori Coulter and Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin trace the brand’s roots to a fateful lunch they had in 2016 to talk about the future of retail. Coulter, a former professor at Washington University in St. Louis, had an eponymous swimsuit company specializing in sizing with digital body scanning technology, and Chattaram Chamberlin ran his own agency and had experience in running a DTC bootcamp. Coulter, CEO and President of Summersalt, had noticed a dearth of womenswear brands founded by women.

“So many other DTC brands at the time and even still to a lesser extent really came from a male perspective and many agencies at the time as well,” she said. “We wanted to create a brand made by women for women that really celebrates inclusivity.” After a transition, Chattaram Chamberlin finally came on board and Summersalt was born in May 2017.

From the start, Coulter and Chattaram Chamberlin focused on a broad “all-woman” focus, rather than shoppers only found in urban areas like New York and Los Angeles. It helped that the brand was headquartered in Missouri. In contrast, DTC competitor Andie is based in New York and Left on Friday is from California, for example.

“When we launched Summersalt, we knew the opportunity was not just coastal, but global,” Chattaram Chamberlin said. “We focused on moms from Tulsa, Oklahoma as much as the cool girl from Brooklyn.” She added that Summersalt sold in all 50 states during its first summer in business.


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