This is our first A U R A A M B I T I O N post and we couldn’t be more ecstatic to share the stories of young women INFLUENCING and defining success by their individuality and uniqueness in the world today. Our debut feature is on Dazey Bikini and our beautiful friend Kenzie Grush. Enjoy, indulge and embrace the beauty of Aura Ambition!!!
In a beach town where surfing is the way of life and you can’t tell between the sky and salt water which is more blue, Kenzie Grush is joining the unstoppable force of the swimwear world by adding Dazey Bikini as emerging brand within the industry. It’s no secret that swimwear is undeniably creating waves with startups making gain on established brands and the competitive marketplace driving the level of innovation to be a game of survival of the fittest. We’re here to take a look inside what it takes to develop, design and create a U.S.A. bikini brand and cover everything from craftsmanship to catching waves.
AURA: As we are all things beauty, brains and business, give us some background on who you are, what your brand is and when you made the decision to become an entrepreneur.
KENZIE: Right now, I would describe myself as the most ambitious I’ve ever known myself to be. I have been setting goals high in ever aspect of my life; from work, to school, and especially my bikini company! My brand started when I decided that I did not want to pay over $100 for a cute bathing suit that would only last me one season. I decided that I wanted to become an entrepreneur when I saw how many people were complimenting me on the bikinis I had made myself, an that’s when I began selling them. I wanted to give girls like me a chance to own custom handmade bikinis that wouldn’t break the bank like most companies we know (and love of course).
AURA: Where does the Dazey name origin from?
KENZIE: The Dazey name originated from my first chosen name called Beach Daze Bikini. I realized that I wanted something more simple and easy to explain. My name kind of speaks for itself, we all know that “dazey” feeling after being at the beach all day and just soaking up the sun and playing in the ocean. I wanted my name to radiate how much I just love the beach and that feeling.
AURA: San Clemente is not only culturally and aesthetically significant to the bikini ‘way-of-life,’ but also historically a place that many swim and surf industry brands call home. Tell us how you find inspiration for your creativity and if your surroundings play a part in that.
KENZIE: My inspiration definitely comes from the surf and sand culture that makes San Clemente the beach town that it is. I wanted to make bikinis affordable but equivalent to the ones people would pay high dollar for. My designs honestly pop into my head at the most random of times, and I always sketch them as soon as I think of one so I don’t forget my idea! My surroundings definitely play a part in my business because the beach I live by keeps me motivated to create new cute designs that I can promote to a larger variety of styles that different girls like.
AURA: When it comes to emerging brands, audiences only tend to see the glamorous side of doing business. Which is great, but in reality, it’s only about 2 percent of what the work actually looks like. Tell us about a normal day operating as Dazey Bikini.
KENZIE: Since I run the whole company myself, social media takes up a lot of my time during the day when I am working on my business. My website and Instagram are two outlets I market my brand with, so it’s a lot of work to keep up with the postings and website updates all by myself. I love doing it all though, so I really don’t mind putting in the extra hours! I also design, cut, and sew every single bikini without any help either, so when I am getting orders done it’s usually an all day thing.
AURA: How has social media affected Dazey Bikini and where do you see its importance taking a role in the development of your brand through the next year of business?
KENZIE: Social media, particularly Instagram, has made my brand what it is today! Without the power of pictures and advertising through the companies Instagram and my personal account, I would have never been able to jump start Dazey Bikini. Even though I do have a website now, I still will continue to rely on Instagram and other social media as a HUGE part of the success of my company through the next year and every year after that!
AURA: How do you feel about people who have become instafamous or have a large following based off looks over their job/talents/personality?
KENZIE: Honestly I think it’s cool that people who start out as small accounts like mine have the power to get thousands-millions of followers so fast! If someone has awesome pictures and a good feed, I always follow them! I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with people who have lots of followers based off their looks; it just means that people recognize the fact that they’re pretty or nice to look at on their news feed haha.
AURA: Who is your favorite social influencer? Why?
KENZIE: It’s hard to narrow it down to one specific person, but my favorite Instagrams are ones that motivate me to better myself. Whether it be someone’s fitness journey that motivates me to not give up at the gym, or someone sharing tips about female entrepreneurs (Shoutout to AURA!) that helps me with my business. I like when people share the steps of their journeys and encourage their followers to reach their goals.
AURA: Outside of online influence, what hurdles have you overcome and what do you foresee in the future that may challenge your brand?
KENZIE: A lot of my hurdles have fallen in the category of money. Starting a business is expensive, so I had to be sure that it was going to be worth my investment when it came to buying fabric, tags, promotional payments, and especially my website! In the future money might continue to be an obstacle, but that’s why I haven’t given up because I am working so hard to grow my business!
AURA: How do you stay organized within your business as well as your personal daily routine?
KENZIE: I stay organized though the calendar app in my iPhone. It’s basically the only way to remind myself of everything I need to do with school, work and friends!
AURA: What is your favorite phone app?
KENZIE: My favorite phone app right now is probably Pinterest!!! It has boards, pictures, instructions, etc. for just about anything you can imagine. I use it for inspiration for photoshoots, cooking, fitness and small business advice.
AURA: What is your most meaningful memory since you’ve started Dazey Bikini?
KENZIE: My most meaningful memory since I have started Dazey is probably a combination of all the times that my customers have told me how much they love my bikinis. It means so much to me when they tell me how well they fit and how much they love being in their suits. It really motivates me to keep up my hard work and to keep creating designs for every type of girl to love.
AURA: In your opinion, what are key traits every female entrepreneur should aspire to have personally and professionally?
KENZIE: Courage to start small, determination to make it big, creativity to keep your customers interested, and a lot of love for what you do. You have to create a picture in your head of what you want your company to be, and you should do everything *in small steps* to make it happen! It takes time, but it’s worth it!
AURA: What advice on personal image do you have for women when it comes to putting on a bikini?
KENZIE: Choose a style and bikini that you absolutely love and feel amazing wearing. There are so many great companies that cater to all curves and sizes! A girl should never feel like she can’t put on her favorite bikini and go to the beach. YOU are your own kind of perfect, and confidence is the most attractive quality a girl can have. I make all Dazey bikinis to your personal measurements. I love being able to make bikinis that fit girls to exact size that can’t ever find that perfect fit in stores.
AURA: What advice do you have for other women aspiring to start their own business or bikini brand?
KENZIE: Always expect to start small. Nothing happens over night and it DOES take a lot of hard work. Once you get to where you want to be, it’s worth every long day, late night and penny invested into your business. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either. Most importantly, surround yourself with people who BELIEVE IN YOU!
Below are some of the beautiful images we had the pleasure of creating with Kenzie for Dazey Bikini on a dreamy day at San Onofre Beach in sunny San Clemente, CA.
Chelse K & Ivy Carnegie
Photos: Alvaro Quiala
Styled by: Vivian Kania
Bikinis: Dazey Bikini