For 24-year-old, Dewey Beach local, Aileen Hearn, the sky is the limit with her small business.
Aileen Hearn, founder and CEO of Bare Native LLC, started her business in May 2016. Hearn makes custom-made, reversible bikinis for the active lifestyle.
“I want to encourage girls to get out and have fun and not just sit on the beach but play, and go out and have adventures, go hiking,” Hearn says. “You can do so much in these bikinis, they are very versatile, so I’m just trying to follow my dream and make it possible.”
Hearn, a recent graduate of the University of Delaware, majored in graphic design and advertising. After graduating college and stepping out into the so-called ‘real world,’ she realized her love for bikinis trumped all.
“It has always been a passion of mine, I’ve always loved bikinis, I’ve always had way too many bikinis,” Hearn says.
Her love for bikinis and the outdoors, as well as her recent love for an active lifestyle is what shaped the brand. Whether it was spending her summer days at the beach, taking afternoon hikes or weekend getaways camping, Hearn felt the bikinis she was wearing were falling off and not fitting every part of her body.
“I thought why not make one that fits everything and is custom sized,” Hearn says. “You can actually buy some specific for your body that you can move around in comfortably, like jump and do yoga, or whatever you want to do.”
With a new business comes challenges. Hearn taught herself how to sew and how to put all of her pieces together. Although the young entrepreneur admits she has run into a lot of roadblocks, she continues to move on.
“Learning how to do an entire avenue of exploration and skill yourself is pretty challenging but it has been a lot of fun,” Hearn says.
Bare Native bikinis are all handmade. Hearn personally sews and designs each bikini. She design the bikinis for her body first and then grates the pattern out to make different sizes, smaller and larger. She says the longest process is cutting the materials and putting it all together.
After just a few months in business, Hearn put on her very first bikini fashion show during the Summer Vibes Fest in Dewey Beach. With six models and her entire family present supporting her, she says she couldn’t have picked a better event to present her bikinis to the world.
“Seeing these girls in the bikinis is really exciting to me. I really like watching them play and run around and laugh. They’ve made friends with people they wouldn’t have met otherwise which is really cool to see. Every photo shoot I’ve had, the girls haven’t known each other to begin with and then they come out of it being pretty good friends which is very neat.”
The Dewey Beach business owner couldn’t be happier to start her business in the beach town. Hearn named her very first swimsuit the ‘Dewey TOP’ in honor of her home town.
“I thought it went along with the town. It’s kind of like a risqué but active little pattern, it’s a sporty top, it has a diamond on the back, it’s super cute and you can jump around, you can definitely move and do anything you would want to do in Dewey Beach but have everything stay in place.”
To hearn, that is what Dewey is all about. She says ‘Dewey is about doing anything you want to do and having it actually turn out really well.’
As for the future, Hearn plans to grow the business by having her designs sold in stores. Eventually, she would like to have a production team and take Bare Native designs to a manufacturer, although keeping it a small business and having it stay in house is not out of the question.
“I think not a lot of people do that and the brands that do, I really admire so that would be awesome for us,” Hearn says, with a smile.
To check out Bare Native LLC, visit www.barenativewear.com.