By Eric Heinz
Using her grandmother’s outdated sewing machine, San Clemente High School senior Brenna Bardzilowski has turned the family dining room into her own workshop, filled with a variety of swimsuit designs.
“About two years ago I saw a (homemade swimwear) account on Instagram and thought it was really cool,” Brenna said. “I grabbed my grandma’s sewing machine and looked at videos on YouTube about how to make swimsuits. I just went to town, starting when I was a sophomore.”
Four-way stretch, two-way stretch and spandex stretch material with lining on the inside. She gets the prints, designs and patterns from a company online.
So far, she’s sold about 20 pieces on Etsy.com, but she was able to make more than 80 bathing suits over the summer. She said she’s still making 20 to 30 swimsuits a month.
“I’m still really busy,” she said, adding she’s probably made hundreds of swimsuit pieces since she started in the spring.
Brenna said she started selling suits to her friends but she said she helped repair suits starting her freshman year.
“A lot of girls will come by because they’re local and pay cash,” Brenna’s father, A.J. Bardzilowski, said.
Brenna said she’s gained significant time-management skills in running her business as well as finishing her senior year at SCHS.
“Of course, I’d rather do this than study for an AP government test, but time management, keeping everything in order and organizing everything—I’m still learning of course,” Brenna said. “Right now, this is my only job. I’d love to possibly learn about merchandising and business in college, but for right now it’s just my after-school job.”
Brenna said she has applied to various colleges for fashion design including San Francisco State University and she is considering Pratt Institute in New York City. Either way, she said she wants to major in some kind of field using design.
“What’s amazing to me is how the social media can just explode with something like this,” A.J. said. “She’s had people from Oklahoma to Columbia to Australia contact her trying to work with her. It doesn’t have to be a seasonal business because you have the other side of the world contacting you.”
Brenna said she would like to eventually make men’s swim trunks as well, but for now her market is purely women’s traditional swimsuits.
“I want to try to expand with cover-ups and other forms of swimwear,” Brenna said.
To follow Brenna’s work, visit her on Instagram at @BMBSWIMWEAR.