Making her Finders Keepers debut is Miho Arai, the designer behind sustainable swimwear label Myriam Swim! Based in Newcastle, Myriam’s range is handmade in Sydney using recycled fabrics and featuring gorgeous gingham and floral prints. Read on as Miho shares her small business story, some creative secrets and the inspiration behind starting her brand, PLUS learn what she’s launching at the market this Summer!
Get ready to try them on in person and discover these beautiful Australian-made designs as Myriam Swim joins us at the Finders Keepers Sydney/Eora Market this 9-11 of December. It’s our last event of the year and will be an incredible three days of creativity and connection.
How did you start your small business?
I started Myriam Swim in 2019, two years after moving to Australia from Japan. I’ve worked in the fashion industry in Tokyo, so I was experienced, but I didn’t have any connections in Australia. Slowly I began getting pieces to start my own label (I found my first swimwear maker through Gumtree!) and just thought, well, let’s get stuck into it!
Myriam Swim is a small swimwear label with my vision of providing confidence and comfort to women through my swimwear designs. I like to think my designs are more suitable for women of all shapes and sizes. All Myriam swimwear is made in Australia – designed by me. I work with a pattern maker who is based in Newcastle, and the swimwear makers are located in Sydney.
What inspired you to start a swimwear business?
I was inspired by people who enjoy beach life in Australia! Since I moved to Australia, I’ve noticed that people from all walks of life enjoy the beach, regardless of age and appearance. It’s sad but true that you can only see young and perfectly shaped women at the beach in Japan. Women are conscious about how they look, and my ambition is to provide something that might allow more people in Japan and in Australia to enjoy this beach life.
How has your business evolved over the past year?
It’s been a challenging time of my life, but I am finally feeling like things are coming together. Two years ago was a different story since I planned to sell my swimwear in both Japan and Australia each summer. However, due to the pandemic, we couldn’t travel to Japan, and the markets in Australia were also cancelled. I also saw a massive decrease in online sales as I think people were not going to the beach as much.
I used my extra time to think deeply about the future of my label, and I re-branded Myriam Swim at the beginning of this year with a stronger brand philosophy, a new logo and a new website. Expanding our size range from XS through to XL was a huge milestone for my small label. This year I could finally travel to Japan and promote my swimwear for the Japanese summer in June, July and August. I did several pop-ups and it was all really positive. It was a great experience to meet people who were interested in my swimwear and to see it bring them confidence through wearing it.
What is your creative guilty pleasure?
Vintage clothing hunting and collecting! I’ve been a vintage lover since I was 16, and when I lived in New York in my early twenties, it became my obsession. I have too many vintage clothes, but I can’t stop hunting. It also provides me with a lot of inspiration for my swimwear designs.
What’s something people might not know about you?
I worked as a lingerie designer in Tokyo for 7 years. This was my dream job when I was younger. I focused on making the female body look beautiful through lingerie and pattern design. I like to think this experience gives my swimwear designs a unique touch!
It’s your first Finders Keepers; what are you most excited about?
This is my first market in Sydney and the biggest market where I’ve had a stall! I’m excited to meet and show my swimwear to people who are fascinated by art and fashion. My current collection has four styles of each top and bottom and four different colours/patterns. These all can be mixed so that people can make their own swimwear combinations. People enjoy finding the combination that suits them; some spend almost an hour trying one and choosing. I love watching and helping them to find their best style together.
What can we expect from your stall at this event?
I’ll bring my whole collection to the market stall. Some styles/sizes which are currently sold out are in production and will be ready for the market. Also, I’ll be launching a toddler range for Myriam Swimwear. This is my most recent labour of love and addition to the Myriam swimwear family. I think mums will enjoy dressing their toddlers up and heading to the beach in matching swimwear, just like I have.