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“Building relationships with suppliers and factories is also huge. Always remember people you encounter whether it is the UPS guy or your banker.”

Oyster NYC is a new swimwear company making a splash in Brooklyn NY. They produce the swimwear locally out of Brooklyn,paying special attention to details including quality construction and flattering cuts. Oyster maintains a quirky fashion forward vibe mixed with classic silhouettes to achieve comfort and confidence with a lot of style and a little flare.

They are excited to get into more stores, frequent more trunk shows, and are expanding to shorts and coverups and even to clothing outside the swimwear world.

Francess Jaen, Oyster NYC - President

MO: Your swimsuits are funky and fresh yet have a vintage look as well. What is your inspiration for your style?

Francess: Our inspiration ranges a wide span, I take a lot of inspiration from other arts- music, old films, paintings. Bunny Yeager was a huge inspiration for our launch. Sometimes just walking down the streets of NY you will see 2 colors together and that can inspire. Mostly keeping and open mind and curious eye.

MO: Do you have a background in fashion? background in business? What in your career has prepared you to run this company?

Francess: I think a combination of things have prepared me for running a small business. I did previously manage productiopn for Tracy Feith. Actually working “hands on” in this industry is very important. Many people straight out of school want to be designers but have no clue how it works. You have to get your hands dirty and learn how to endure long hours. Building relationships with suppliers and factories is also huge. Always remember people you encounter whether it is the UPS guy or your banker. I always like to ask people’s names and learn about their lives, it makes the work much more pleasant for everyone. To be honest I have waited tables for years and I think this has helped me just as much as my professional positions. It taught me the importance of multi-tasking, personal relations, hard work and humility.

MO: What is the most difficult thing about running an online shop?

Francess: The number one thing I think about constantly is how to make customers aware that we exist. We have gotten terrific feedback from our customers, but finding new customers can be tricky with so much online content out there.

MO: How have you used social media to form a community around Oyster NYC?

Francess: I started a tumblr account for Oyster and at first was dreading the idea of using social media for pr…We are not the kind of company that wants to hit people over the head with branding or selling. What I found was a pleasant surprise. I enjoy updating the blog almost as much as designing. It has helped me to connect to so many other creative people in different fields. I post about whatever is inspiring me at the moment and people can really connect with Oyster when they know where the ideas are coming from. I like the tangibility of it. I am just as interested in what the customers are posting about so it becomes a two way street.

MO: Why did you decide to produce the swimsuits in NY when it may have been cheaper to outsource production?

Francess: There was no doubt in my mind about this. I want to be present for every step in the process of production. This is just not possible for a small business with overseas production. I actually love the factory environment and want to know the people who are making our pieces on a day to day basis. I don’t agree with a lot of what happens production-wise in China and I think our customers are willing to pay a bit more for high standards, from a humanitarian standpoint as well as for the quality of the product.

MO: Tell us about the other products you are planning to expand into?

Francess: Well for spring 2012 we have branched out to include shorts and a cover-up. We are so excited about these pieces! We would love to do a mens suit at some point. We are always working on new concepts but want to be careful to grow slowly. It goes back to that we want to keep a hand on everything Oyster puts out and the quality of our products is a main priority for us.

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