Before she started manufacturing bikinis in her spare bedroom, Taryn Rodighiero had never sewn before. “I’d never even sewn a button,” she says, “but I just decided this is what I was going to do.” For years, she’d been dissatisfied with the swimwear available to active women like herself, so in 2010 she set out to design style-forward bikinis that are “made to stay on in the waves.” A believer in taking leaps of faith, Taryn recalls, “I basically invested my life savings and bought five commercial sewing machines, put them all in our spare bedroom, and locked myself in for eight months to figure out each and every machine.” Her bikinis are now manufactured on Kauai and worn on beaches all over the world.
Taryn reaches most of her customers, whether on neighboring Hawaiian islands or far-off Australia, through the Internet, with roughly 80 percent of her sales happening on the KaiKini website. She values the targeting capabilities offered by AdWords, Google’s advertising program. “You can really be specific on who you show your ads to. With products like mine, I need that,” she explains. AdWords also helps “keep KaiKini fresh in the mind of our buyers” through retargeting ads. “For a business that generally takes a new buyer six visits to the site before a purchase is made, those reminders are crucial,” she says. Today, KaiKini’s marketing budget goes entirely to digital platforms, with AdWords returning nearly two dollars in profit for every ad dollar spent. Taryn depends on Google Analytics to keep track of these online campaigns. “Analytics is the tool we use to check everything else. It’s the one we trust,” she shares. "It provides us with marketing insights that we otherwise wouldn’t have."
With 20 percent annual growth, Taryn has moved business operations from her house to a bona fide warehouse. She is now focused on new ways to build that growth while maintaining her brand’s authenticity. She keeps design and production under close watch, to ensure quality, and is proud to be creating fashion-industry jobs, which are rare on Kauai. Her seamstresses tend to be “young, creative women who are willing to work,” she says, “and excited to be part of something that’s making an impact beyond the island.”