As the summer heat approaches, people aspire for the perfect summer body to hit up the beaches and pools. A cute and trendy bathing suit to top it off can be empowering.
Siblings Maryan and Sarah Mashaye, 34 and 33 years old, created a swimwear brand called Pink and Bananas. The company offers trendy and fun swimsuits at a reasonable price.
With the love of vacationing, the Mashaye sisters went to Honduras in April 2017. Sarah went to a mall to get a bathing suit for each day that they would be there. But to her surprise, the options weren’t cute and very expensive.
“When you’re going on vacation, you want to save. You don’t want to break the bank,” said Maryan.
Sarah graduated from Seneca College’s social service work program. Maryan took the same program but at Algonquin College and graduated in 2006. That moment in the mall, Sarah and Maryan took on the challenge and open up a company even if they didn’t have a formal business background.
At the end of 2018, they decided to start working on Pink and Bananas. They got inspiration from their grandmother who was an entrepreneur, and their mother who also owns a store; she sells Somalian dresses and items.
In the beginnings of Pink and Bananas, they wanted to have clothing and bathing suits. But, the sisters wanted to scale it down to a specific clothing line that they can focus on.
Both sisters had the intention of launching Pink and Bananas within a couple of months, but they soon faced problems along the road. It took longer than expected because of how the samples of the swimsuits would look like or the models did not show up for photoshoots.
One of the hardest challenges was the motivation to keep going.
“You have to motivate yourself every single day to continue and to create this,” said Maryan.
During the process of starting a business, Maryan and Sarah learnt how to set up their Shopify online website. They also contacted Viteloi, who is an artist on Instagram that made art for their website and Instagram.
After all the setbacks, they launched officially on Jan. 15, 2020.
Pink and Bananas’s goal is to sell reasonably priced, good quality and trendy swimsuits to girls and women. They hope to expand their size line and welcome plus sizes this year.
They welcome everyone who is between the ages of 14 to 50 years old to try a trendy bathing suit that can be two-piece or one-piece. Pink and Bananas assure their customers can get an affordable price like no other in Ottawa.
At the moment they’re expanding their team to get the word out there to the public. Sarah and Maryan, as well as a volunteer, are advertising Pink and Bananas on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
The sisters are search of a team that can assist them to help the company grow and spread the word to people who are in need of a trendy bathing suit. With a small team, they make sure to get every chance to promote Pink and Bananas. They are also doing pop up shops in Ottawa, at universities or colleges.
“What makes it special is that we’re a local brand. So since we’re in Ottawa delivery is going to be super fast,” said Maryan.
With summer around the corner, Pink and Bananas will have customers going bananas for the swimsuits.
“Our main focus is getting it out there and letting it grows,” said Sarah.
“Let people know that we’re here.”