This is how Triangl made $45 million

In just a few years.

In 2012 Erin Deering and Craig Ellis decided to take a chance and start a swimwear company. Their aim was to provide likable swimwear at an affordable price.

Today Triangl is the epitome of an Australian label killing it on the international market.

For a company that only started three (and a bit) years ago, Triangl is already turning over an annual profit of $45 million (US). Yep, annually.

We were pretty blown away with Triangl’s story, so we managed to steal some time with Erin amid her busy schedule, to find out all about succeeding in business.

How did the idea for Triangl come about?
The idea actually came about not long after Craig and I met. We found that the swimwear market was segmented with either surfwear brands or designer brands, which were mostly over $200. From there we thought, ‘let’s create a swimwear label that is more accessible.’ It pretty much all started from there.

Did either of you study fashion design?
Although neither Craig nor I studied fashion design, we have both worked in the industry for a number of years before launching Triangl. I worked for a few Melbourne-based labels in e-commerce, managing the front end of their online stores, customer service and content.

For Craig, he played professional football in Australia for 11 years and then moved into the fashion industry after. He ran his own t-shirt label for a number of years after that and then designed denim for a Melbourne-based company before Triangl.

How hard was your business start up? How did you know it was the right time to quit everything and focus solely on that idea?
As Craig ran his own t-shirt label previously, he had some ideas about what we wanted and needed to do. He decided we needed to move to Hong Kong to focus 100 per cent on the business. Knowing that it would benefit the business if we were closer to our supply chain, it was a relatively easy move to make. Hong Kong is also very central from a global logistics point of view, to ensure that our products reached our customers quickly.

Before we officially started Triangl, we were at a fairly low point where we got down to $500 between us. We were unemployable in Hong Kong and there was nothing else we could do to get the money to get our new brand off the ground. We swallowed our pride and reached to some very good friends of ours who generously lent us a small amount of money to get our first production of Triangl under way. I guess the rest is history.

Simple question, why neoprene?
We discovered Neoprene as being a really versatile fabric to work with and that basically set the aesthetic for the whole brand, right from the start. Our bikinis are bright and bold, with a focus on block colour combinations.

Neoprene is different to normal swim fabric, it’s thicker so it will hold you in and smooth you out. It’s also super comfortable to wear and stays on and in the same place all day long.

Why do you think Triangl has succeeded in a market where so many businesses fail?
I think we launched with, and still have a pretty clear and simple, offering. Up to this point, we sell only bikinis, our designs are not fussy and are all accessible at a reasonable price point.

Our website matches our offering, through being quite simple. It’s pretty easy to see what it is we do and what we sell.

I also think we were pretty lucky with getting in at the right time, where there was a bit of a gap in the market for a brand like us.

How does it feel to have some of the world’s most influential women (Kylie Jenner, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé) rocking your swimwear?
It’s really encouraging to see girls, whether it’s bloggers, celebs or anyone on Instagram loving their Triangl bikinis. I do get just as excited seeing our customers in Triangl, especially when you’re out at a beach and see them wearing it.

What advice would you give to anyone seeking to start their own business? Especially Australian businesses that may struggle to get noticed internationally?
I think just be really well-versed on the social media landscape, as that is really what’s driving a lot of the industry at the moment. I just know how often I’m on Instagram and I want to find new brands. I want to buy things every day, so there’s always room for a new business and new product. I truly believe that if the product is good, the rest will flow from there.

What’s next for Triangl? Do you see the company integrating new products into collections or is swimwear the way to go? 
We are definitely staying focused on swimwear for the foreseeable future. We’ve very recently just opened up our offering, introducing some monochrome pieces and florals that we absolutely love and are so excited to have released into the market.

2016 will be all about expanding our offering through introducing new shapes, textures, prints and colors. 


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