Vital Wetsuits, Keera Belviy
Vital Wetsuits was inspired by a serious passion for surfing and the lack of wetsuit attire for a broader range of women. Keera, the founder, was insp
Feeling like a sore thumb in the surfing line-up whilst wearing a men's wetsuit was not what the founder, and realized other women, like to do but had no other options. We had a vision to be that all-encompassing, woman-inclusive brand by offering flattering wetsuit piece separates, and swimwear that flatters a taller and curvier frame. Working with SCORE and Rick, my mentor truly guided me from a simple technical drawing I sketched to having me being able to comprehend and converse with manufacturers, how to negotiate foreign shipping arrangements, to giving me extremely helpful links, apps and advice.
The lack of sustainable women's attire for water sports. Going shopping for a new wetsuit or swimsuit as a tall, full-figured lady myself is non-existent in brick & mortar stores. We have been positioning Vital Wetsuits in our local Florida surf shops to help bring real authentic WOMEN customers into their shops. Sadly, most surf shops cater to men and kids, with an occasional women's wetsuit or two, but hardly ever over a size 10. It is apparent that women have been shunned from surf shops, even though we are out there shredding!
A small business requires a significant amount of your time and resources without initial financial return. This is the hardest thing to understand initially but being able to persevere and remind yourself you started your brand because you wanted to make a difference in other people's lives is outweighs all the low points.
My mentor, Rick, who had a previous business in manufacturing/trade, was the perfect SCORE mentor for my business. Personally not having a background in owning a business, Rick was able to help me come up with a comprehensive business plan in a way that was not overwhelming, but instead flowed like a conversation. He also helped me with communicating overseas and how to address complex foreign logistics. Having his insightfulness & well-versed nature and SCORE's free webinars were the impetus for our success.