How Nigerian-Taiwan, Pinghwa Okorie is Redefining Swimwear Industry

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CEO, Salt and Sunscreen, PingHwa Okorie,

It’s been said that a typical Nigerian is enterprising in all ways. In no respect to any country they get to, they will definitely display their innate gifts of living their life to the fullest.

Pinghwa Okorie’s story is not in any far from what is described as ‘9ja spirit’ – the innate ability that makes you strive and succeed, even in the face of strong adversity.

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Pinghwa was born to a Nigerian father and Taiwan mother but has also lived in Lagos, Nigeria where she got the drive for resilient spirit of business.

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Pinghwa who studied Business at George Washington University in the U.S. and specializes in digital marketing by trade said she realized that there was a growing market for swimwear all around the world and she decided to venture into it.

“I ventured into the business due to my inability to find swimwear that I loved and felt comfortable in, while growing up in Lagos, Nigeria”, she said.

In addition to the boom in tourism that many parts of Africa have been experiencing, Okorie has noticed that over the past few years, locals have been taking more advantage of the city’s proximity to beaches

“That’s almost like our escape outside of the hustle and bustle and the stress of the city,” she says. “A lot of the beaches are accessible by driving an hour, or you can just take a boat, whether it’s 15 minutes or 30 minutes away, to get there.”

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Her brand of swimwear that is known as ‘Salt and Sunscreen’ is designed on the beauty of an African woman—the feminine physique and accentuated curves and was launched in 2019.

According to Pinghwa, she said the product has creative nods of her birthplace of Merah Hati shade and influenced by the red sand of his father’s hometown in Enugu state.

“There weren’t that many pieces that were minimalistic. Let’s say you just want like a black swimsuit or just a solid color, something simple. There wasn’t that many. And if there were, it was lacking quality,

Every time I go somewhere, I buy a new piece. From that, it grew my understanding of OK, this is how I want it to fit. And then also gathering a lot of market research, asking consumers, especially my target market, what are some pieces that you like and what would you wear—is it a one piece, a two piece, would you like padding, no padding”, she explained.

On how she gets the product manufactured, Pingwhay said she the process entail a lot of stages and details.

According to her, “One of the things that I learned the most out of the beginning stages is that you have to test it on multiple body types and don’t just listen to what the factory says,

Because you’re manufacturing in China, their standards are a little bit different. Their size small could be like an extra small. I remember the first sample I got I was like, “This is a small? It can’t even fit so many women that are a size small here. It makes no sense to me.”, she explained.

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She said she had already wasted hundreds of dollars on a sample and had to make a new set and told them she needed a medium, based on measurements.

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“So making my own measurement chart and not just the standard that you find in the industry but customizing it to my own target market. I was grateful to have friends and other people that I could say, “Hey can you try this on? What is your feedback on it, as someone that is hard for you to find swimwear for your body type?”, she pointed.

 

 

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