My City Series | Philippa Brenninkmeyer
No one knows a city better than its people. Consciously Connected Travel shares with you our global fam and friends through our My City Series. Unmasking some of the coolest places and it’s people and giving you a deeper more connected insight.
A true citizen of the world and the ultimate conscious queen, since childhood she has dreamt of doing something more meaningful. Founder and Creative Director, Philippa Brenninkmeyer is making waves with her brand Indigo Swimwear. Launched in early 2018 with a love for the beach life, she decided the only way to create something she believed in was to create something that had a purpose. Indigo Swimwear is not purely swimwear, there is much more behind this brand and the way it supports the waters in which it is made to swim.
With cool designs and visual aesthetics that reflect a laid back surf culture, teamed with Cali cool vibes, you can’t help but feel fun and feminine in Indigo Swimwear, but also that each design reflects the places travelled and feelings experienced by the designer herself.
1. Born and Raised or Expat?
I was born in La Jolla, CA, but moved to Europe when I was 4 and grew up most of my life in Europe. After moving around, traveling etc. I moved back to San Diego in October 2017.
2. How did the idea of Indigo Swimwear come about?
Since I was a teenager I always dreamt about moving back to the ocean and living the so-called beach life. I grew up in a family that was in the retail industry, so fashion has always been in my blood, but I always knew I wanted to do something bigger and better with my life and decided to not join my family’s company. So after high school, I went off to Vancouver to start my Bachelor degree, transferred and then finished my degree in Mass Communications at a University in London. Not really knowing what to do with myself and my life, I tried out a bunch of different jobs from PR to Event Management, fashion magazines, fashion companies etc. Eventually I took a completely different path and got my Master degree in Education and started teaching Kindergarten at an International school in Germany.
After a couple years of that I still found myself craving the ocean and sun and just knew I needed a change. I needed to leave and find out what it really was that I wanted to do with my life. I packed up my bags and left on my own to Australia to do some soul searching. I traveled around Australia, New Zealand and Fiji for a few months before settling into the small eco surf town of Byron Bay, NSW. It was here that I found like-minded people who were on the path to doing more with their lives and creating business ideas of their own. I briefly started a t-shirt company with a friend which did not end up going far, but that was the turning point that really jumpstarted my ideas and led me to that path of wanting to own and run my own company and not just some random company, it should be something that will do some good in this world and give back in some shape or form. So I started to wonder what comes next and as I looked into my cupboard I realized I literally had more swimwear than anything else and on top of that I was constantly buying more. So why not start my own swimwear company! I decided to then make the move back to California and actually ended up right back where my life started out. Which is ironic but pretty cool!
So in January 2018 I began planning and researching how I was going to make this business idea work and after a whole tone of learning by doing I finally launched INDIGO SWIMWEAR in September 2018. A 100% sustainable swimwear company where all of our pieces are made from 100% regenerated nylon, meaning the fibers are made up from old fishing nets and other ocean waste, mainly plastics, removing as much waste from our oceans as possible. I also decided that I would make sure the company gives back to educate our youth about the importance of keeping our planet clean and our oceans blue. With that being said a percentage of our sales goes back to beach cleanups through the Surfrider Foundation, and a percentage of our manufacturing costs goes back to beach cleanups and educational projects in Indonesia through the ROLE Foundation. Our motto: We believe in supporting the oceans in which our swimwear is made to swim!
3. What are your fondest memories of Indigo Swimwear when you started your business?
Since we are still a young company and only launched a few months ago, my fondest memory so far about the whole process is seeing how everything fell into place and is beginning to pay off. It’s a great feeling!
4. On your Day-to-Day routine?
My day-to-day routine is super important to me and I try my hardest to keep my life balanced in all that I do. Sometimes this is easier said than done but I make it work! The morning is my time to just start the day right. My boyfriend and I have three dogs so first up is always a long walk with the dogs and it’s a perfect way to connect and just discuss what the day has to hold for us. After that I usually go to either a workout class or yoga class as I am simply not disciplined enough to workout on my own. After the workout I get myself ready, have some coffee and breakfast and am usually sitting in front of my computer by 10:00. I usually start out my work day with emails and any customer service, connecting with influencers, etc. unless I have a meeting to go to or a phone call to take as I tend to schedule those for the earlier half of the day. Lunch break is usually a time for me to sit outside, relax, regain some energy and just take a minute to breath. After lunch its back to the computer as most of my work really does take place either on the computer, in meetings, or on phone calls. In between all of this I will go ship out orders, check in with my Social Media Manager, drive down to stores to check on our stock in stores and try and get into new stores... there is always something to do, BUT I love it! I learn so much every single day and am engaged in every aspect of the company so its really fun to get to peek into every angle of the business throughout the day. I usually try and silence my phone and close my computer by 6pm so I can hangout with the dogs, go for dinner with my boyfriend, get out of the house and just relax before the long day comes to an end.
5. Tell us some of your favourite spots in Encinitas?
Some of my favorite spots in Encinitas would have to be 1) Goodonya... I love to go here when I just need to chill out for a minute, have some healthy food or a good coffee. 2) SALT Culture is a super cute little boutique store that has the cutest clothes, jewelry, home goods etc. oh and they carry INDIGO! 3) The beach... Cardiff State Beach is my go to when I just need to leave all technology behind and take a walk, get out with the dogs, enjoy the fresh air and sound of the waves. It’s definitely my spot to shut off my mind and just enjoy life.
6. Where do you go to escape?
Where do I go to escape... The beach for sure!
7. You can’t take a vacation, so you decide to have a staycation, what do you do, where do you eat, where do you stay and why?
If I decided to have a staycation, I would definitely stay at my own home just because it’s relaxed and easy for me to feel completely comfortable there. I would put my phone and laptop away, and just enjoy the quiet time with my boyfriend and the dogs. I would sit outside in the sun, go for lots of walks in nature, take a hike, go out for brunch at one of my other favourite spots, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe... cutest terrace. I would probably go downtown for dinner and a drink and let loose with some friends as we very seldom make it to downtown San Diego for a night out. Roam the streets, shop, eat ice cream, have a beach day. Those are the things I would do if I were to have a staycation... and as said all of that with no technology and no distractions!
8. What local brands do we have to know about?
9. Where’s your next adventure?
My next adventure... right now I am actually in Germany visiting my family so that’s always an adventure in itself. Next I will be going skiing in Montana! I have a few other trips that I am planning for the year like, Hawaii and probably another trip to Bali to visit my manufacturer and the foundation I work with over there. I usually also stop in Byron Bay on my way to Bali to visit old friends as well... so a few things planned and a few things still in the works, but each one is sure to be an adventure!
10. Does Travel breed creativity?
Travel definitely breed’s creativity for me! Seeing all the different cultures, scenery, colours, prints, patterns, fashion, lifestyles, religions, people etc. its all part of what ends up making the collections for Indigo.
11. The ultimate dancing feet reliefs post liquid courage?
Fortunately I have never been one to drink much so I don’t often feel hung over, however just for reference my go to drink is for sure Tequila Soda with Lime. If I have a night out and need relief you will find me at the Four Moons Spa in Encinitas the next day... literally the most tranquil, peaceful and beautiful little spot around!
12. Where to shed those kilos, detox the body or protect the temple?
If I am wanting to really detox my body or looking to loose some weight you would find me in a combination of going to the gym, yoga, the spa for some detox massages, and probably doing a cleanse with Beaming Juices or just eating healthy at Goodonya.
13. Are there any philanthropic programmes or projects that you’re passionate about or would like to shed some light on?
I would have to say the two foundations I donate to through Indigo are the ones I am most interested in people looking into. 1) Surfrider Foundation and 2) ROLE Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation does a tone of good when it comes to keeping our beaches and oceans clean so obviously that is super important to me! The ROLE foundation does the same, but also has a program that educates children and adults in Bali on how to live a more sustainable life and the process of regeneration. For example they collect soap bars from hotels all around the Island, scrape off the used layer and then put them all together and turn them into new soap bars which then go to orphanages and people who cant afford to buy their own. They do tones of little regeneration projects like that which I think is super cool. Another thing that is super close to my heart is just donating to animal shelters and rescue organizations to help save dogs from meat farms in Asia.
14. Entrepreneurs, Tastemakers and Trailblazers, Where do people like you hangout in your city?
I probably hangout the most at home to be honest. After working all day I really just want to relax, but if I do go out then Ill be hanging out at either Goodonya on Surf Dog Cafe during the day ... I need some good coffee or a chai latte. In the evening I don’t have a specific hangout, I love to try new restaurants and bars so I am kind of all over the place.
15. Give a shout-out to someone in your city that is doing groundbreaking things, and what is it that makes them a trailblazer?
Not really sure I know anyone specifically that I could send a shout out to here.
16. A locals-only, off-the-radar, black book spot?
Couldn’t give that away now could I, cause then it wouldn’t be a locals spot anymore now would it!
17. What’s the next big thing when it comes to Indigo Swimwear?
The next big thing that’s planned for Indigo in 2019 is to just branch out with new designs, fabrics (still regenerated and sustainable) and prints. We do have a couple other exciting things in the works but I can’t reveal those just yet. Oh and for spring we are launching a range of sun hats and beach bags and summer we will be coming out with sarongs, again all sustainable and eco-friendly!
18. Currently working on?
Currently I am working on the fall/winter 2019/2020 collection!
19. Advice for budding entrepreneurs?
My advice for any entrepreneurs would be, just go with the flow and whatever happens do not give up. Some days are going to be tough and you’re going to wonder what the hell you’re doing and why you’re doing it, but trust me if you just push through those days you will come out stronger, smarter and happier at the end of the day! If you want it bad enough, you will make it happen!
20. We’re living in a world where our attention to new innovation doesn’t seem to have longevity, how do you find your inspiration to make new waves with long-term prosperity?
It is definitely something I am always thinking about... how to keep your brand relevant years from now, and that is a tough one! I think the main thing is to just stay up to date with what your doing, but keep looking ahead and see what new technologies, fabrics, accessories etc. are coming out to expand and better your product to continue making it as good as it can be.
21. Your ultimate playlist?
My ultimate playlist is always a compilation of country music. I don’t know why but it just gets me thinking and keeps me calm and levelheaded.