Summer designer Keile turns to winter
Swimwear designer DaeNyce “Keile” Rabain must have smiled when she saw her name misspelt on a winning certificate at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s Rocket Pitch competition.
It still meant a winning cheque of $5,000.
Ms Rabain plans to use part of her winnings to start production on her first autumn and winter collection, which she hopes to launch in January.
“That is going to be super exciting,” she said. “That will be my first full winter vibe. I actually wore a sample top from the new collection at the Rocket Pitch competition.”
The money will specifically go towards materials and marketing and she wants to hire an apprentice.
“I’m currently looking for a space to work out of, as well,” she said.
The BEDC hosts the Rocket Pitch competition every year to give emerging business owners the chance to highlight their products and potentially win prize money.
Ms Rabain won in the Rocket Pitch’s green category because of her sustainable business practices.
“I design my own fabrics,” she said. “I source them from a small, ethical company in the United Kingdom. We also use eco-friendly inks.”
She also sews everything herself.
She was grateful for the Rocket Pitch win.
“When you’re acting on your own as an entrepreneur, you often doubt yourself,” she said. ”It was nice to have validation.”
Going into the competition, she did have faith in the business.
“I put a lot of hours and effort into it,” Ms Rabain said. “This is what I'm working hard for, so I give the business the props it deserves.”
Even though she makes bathing suits, she did not get to wear one very often this summer. She was too busy stitching, giving up much of her social life.
The 25-year-old said: “If I did find time to go out in the evening, people would be asking me where is my order, or when are you going to make clothing for men?”
As a member of the latest Ignite cohort, she recalled: “There was only one person younger than me. I was a little intimidated. I was wondering whether I should have been in their youth programme.”
However, her fears dissipated because she felt a real sense of community working with the other Ignite participants.
“I would recommend it for any entrepreneur,” she said. “But I have heard their youth programme is also good.”
Ignite gave her invaluable information on topics such as insurance, pensions, marketing and branding.
Summer by Keile started as an experiment with her art commission business, Art by Keile.
“I made an illustration for a friend,” she said. “It was of two girls wearing money-inspired bikinis. I made one bathing suit orange and the other pink.”
She saw potential. “I thought this could be such a vibe,” Ms Rabain said.
She started making pink triangle bikinis and selling them through Art by Keile. They sold out.
The next summer she formed Summer by Keile, offering swimwear in more styles and colours.
One of her biggest challenges was getting them made.
“I did not really know how to sew,” she said. “I struggled to find a local seamstress I could work with. I couldn’t find anyone. It was so frustrating.”
She had no choice but to teach herself how to make them.
She has since graduated from simple triangles to cover-ups and one piece bathing suits.
“Every summer my offerings are going to be bigger,” she said.
• For more information see Instagram @summerbykeile