Londre was a business born out of a margarita-fueled brainstorm session between two friends on a beach. Ainsley Rose and Hannah Todd were winding down at the end of a day in Sayulita, Mexico, when the idea for a line of sustainable swimwear was hatched. Rose, a photographer, grew up in Vancouver surrounded by nature, which inspired her fierce desire to protect the environment. Todd, a yoga instructor, had battled an eating disorder as a teenager and vowed to be part of the body positivity solution. As a result, Londre offers inclusive sizing (XS-5XL), never photoshops its images, and creates its products from recycled bottles. Read on to hear from these two founders on what the process of creating their company was like.
What have been some of your challenges in starting Londre?
Rose: “We created our first patterns on the floor of our shared house out of Whole Foods bags. We wanted to start our business in Bali, however, when I first traveled there to attempt setting up manufacturing, I ended up being stood up at the airport at 1 a.m., waiting for samples that never turned up. First patterns and materials were stolen, and I had nothing to show for a three-week long trip other than new tanlines and mild food poisoning.”
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Todd: “This ended up being a true silver lining as we ended up back in Vancouver, where we still do our manufacturing to this day. This way, we are able to physically check in on our production and ensure quality, safe and ethical working conditions for the sewers. We have also been able to build an incredibly close relationship with our manufacturing manager who we trust deeply to produce the longest-lasting garments. Ainsley and I still wear some of our first working samples from six years ago!”
What type of woman do you design for? How do you want women to feel in your suits?
Todd: “We don’t design for specific types of women but rather for all women to feel a certain way in our apparel: empowered. We design our suits with function, quality and timelessness in mind but we also want our community to feel free and have fun while wearing our pieces. Ainsley and I often say to one another when choosing an outfit, ‘What option would you have the most fun in?’ and we bring this mindset to all we create. The world has enough heaviness at the moment, we’re here to inspire joy.”
Talk about the sustainability impact you’ve been able to have. Why is this important to you?
Rose: “So far, we’ve upcycled over 750,000 plastic bottles into our suits, planted three coral reefs, removed five-and-a-half tons of garbage off the Pacific Northwest coast, and removed 25 tons of carbon through kelp farming to name a few.”
Todd: “This is important because climate change is happening now and is impacting everyone, most profoundly women and people of color. This isn’t a problem for future generations, it’s about protecting our current one”.
What has been your greatest success so far?
Rose: “My greatest success has been building this value-driven business with my best friend alongside our (small but growing) team that helps to empower women around the world and enact change to our planet.”
Todd: “I feel proud of the legacy our business has created: from our environmental impact to the almost daily emails we’ve received like ‘I’ve never felt so good in a swimsuit, I literally teared up when I put it on.’ Both mean the world to me.”
Do you have any advice for female entrepreneurs?
Rose: “Sometimes you need to pretend you have the confidence of an old white male before a meeting, and that’s totally O.K. I’d also say that so many women are gifted with incredible intuition, and I believe in using meditation to cultivate stillness so you can better hear your inner voice.”
Todd: “Slowing down can be your biggest power move. What I mean here is it’s easy as an entrepreneur to be swept up in the busy-ness of it all and forget the greater goal or mission. However, there is a bit of untapped magic that comes from taking a moment, a few hours or a day to slow down and tune into your intuition. What lies under the surface is usually the answer to any problem that you’re seeking.”
Do you have any personal favorite pieces in your current collection?
Rose: “You’ll find me rocking the 1813 puff sleeve top with the banded scrunch bottoms and the sarong in black from beaches to a winery.”
Todd: “Currently loving our triangle top and drawstring bottom, paired with our button down shirt dress. I love wearing this to the beach or if I’m feeling spicy (and the weather is right), wearing the triangle top with a pair of high waisted pants and a leather jacket for a Euphoria-esque look.”
What’s your go-to song to feel pumped up and inspired?
Rose: Higher Love: Kygo, Whitney Houston
Todd: Anything by the “Two Friends” (on soundcloud) right now - Their “Big Bootie Mix Vl 20. is my current fire up go-to.
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