In today’s interview, we caught up with Cameron Armstrong. She’s the founder and CEO of the sustainable swimwear brand, Kitty and Vibe. Kitty and Vibe is on a mission to reinvent how you think about and buy swimwear.
Cameron shared her inspirations for starting Kitty and Vibe, challenges growing a sustainable brand, and her plans for Kitty and Vibe’s future. But, she explains it better than we do, so let’s jump right into the interview.
Hello! Who are you and what brand do you run?
Hey there! I’m Cameron, Founder of Kitty and Vibe.
We are an inclusive womxn’s swimwear company, focused on making the swimsuit shopping experience actually fun.
What inspired you to start Kitty and Vibe?
I started Kitty and Vibe because I was fed up with the woes of swimsuit shopping: uncomfortable fitting rooms, poor sizing, overpriced products, and exclusive marketing campaigns.
I wanted to create a brand that felt like a friend and had the power to transform a womxn’s experience when trying on a swimsuit. After all, wearing a swimsuit is the most naked we are in public, oftentimes making the product very anxiety-triggering.
Kitty and Vibe’s secret sauce is our sizing metric – for every hip size we offer two inseam options to accommodate differing booty sizes.
For me, I have a smaller booty so I always hated the extra fabric in my bikini bottoms which gave me a diaper butt. I wear the size S1 in Kitty, which means small hips with a small booty, removing that extra bunch of fabric and providing just the right amount of coverage – no diaper butts here!
What were the main challenges and learnings you had? How do things compare today to when you first started?
When I launched Kitty and Vibe, I had no experience in design or fashion, so the learning curve was extremely high for me to develop an apparel brand.
My gut instinct was not to try and figure out all the answers, but rather ask for feedback from the people that would be buying the suits.
From day one, we’ve put all design decisions up for polling / surveying via email and social media. We still practice this today, ensuring that our community has a say in everything we launch.
What started as a weakness for me, evolved into the pillar of the brand that has made us stand out amongst other swimwear companies.
In your eyes, what’s the biggest achievement or milestone so far?
The biggest achievement so far has been selling a Kitty suit to every US state. This was such a cool milestone to have shipped a Kitty suit all over the country (yes, including Alaska and North Dakota which took the longest to reach).
We feel this means we are resonating with swimsuit shoppers everywhere and we’re so grateful to be sharing Kitty and Vibe with so many people.
How do you ensure Kitty and Vibe stays true to your original mission as the brand grows?
So much of the magic behind Kitty and Vibe is the personal experience. We take time to respond to every DM, every email, and make sure that customers feel seen and heard.
As we grow we are putting the customer communication experience first, ensuring that we always have enough bandwidth to maintain a close personal relationship with our customers and followers.
What are your main challenges around sustainability today, and how do you approach them?
I think a big challenge we face as a brand is competing with the consumer mindset of needing something instantaneously – in lieu of the Amazon’s of the world where overnight shipping is a normalcy rather than a luxury, it’s difficult to meet the demands of people who are used to shopping this way.
Kitty and Vibe is produced in a small family owned factory in Bogota, Colombia. Every worker is paid a fair wage and is offered health insurance coverage and a retirement plan. Our products are produced in small batches but we are facing consistent stock-outs given we are rapidly growing.
Instead of transferring production to a larger scale facility, we are dedicated to growing with our factory and scaling together. This can be difficult when people want the products ASAP.
Do you have any advice for people looking to be more sustainable in their consumption habits and lifestyle?
Mindfulness: being a thoughtful consumer for everything you buy and consume is key. I think one of the best things you can do is be aware of how much you are consuming.
I’m a believer in fewer is better — having a few, well-made, items in each area of your life, whether it be a dependable swimsuit from Kitty and Vibe or a great pair of shoes that will last year after year is so much better than an abundance of items. Quality over quantity.
Have you tried a product from another ethical brand that you think our readers should know about?
Yes! I’m a big fan of Girlfriend Collective. Their leggings made from recycled materials fit flawlessly and last year over year.
What does the future look like for Kitty and Vibe?
We’ve worked hard to establish ourselves as a go-to brand for swimwear, encouraging people to try our one of a kind products with our revolutionary sizing metric.
Next up will be taking our sizing metric and applying it to other products people can enjoy. Our most requested category is underwear, so we are working to make a splash with intimates very soon.
What does success look like for Kitty and Vibe?
I define success of Kitty and Vibe as making someone’s day brighter; whether that be through boosting their self-confidence with the best fitting swimsuit they’ve ever owned, or a posting a photo on social media that makes them feel represented.
Let us know what you thought of this interview in the comments below!