Her Campus (HC): Introduce yourself.
Avery Mills (AM): My name is Avery Mills, and I am the sole founder, owner, designer and seamstress of Blue Moon Bikinis.
HC: How did you first get into fashion designing?
AM: I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, which is where I first started this business. Throughout my whole life, I have always dedicated myself to art, whether it was painting, drawing, designing, sculpting, photography, etc. — I was obsessed. When I started high school, I joined a special program at my school called the “Arts Concentration”, which was designed for students who would be dedicating their high school careers to art. I immediately jumped into these art classes, and by the end of my freshman year, I knew I wanted to pursue the fashion route. I quickly started taking sewing classes to enhance my beginner skills and worked on these skills for multiple hours per day. I started by altering and upcycling pre-existing clothes, then began to sew shirts, pants, dresses, etc., and eventually I worked my way up to designing and sewing gowns for my AP design portfolio.
HC: How did this interest turn into your swimwear company and why did you want to make this a business?
AM: Growing up in Florida, I was always surrounded by water. Whether that be oceans, lakes, rivers or springs, I was always there. As I became older, I spent most of my time at the beach. I would always beg my family to go on beach vacations, and I eventually started taking day trips to the beach with my friends every weekend. During high school, I always knew I wanted to try to sew swimwear. However, designing and sewing swimwear is a completely different field of fashion. You need different materials, different notions, and even different sewing machine equipment; I didn’t have time to pursue this field.
HC: What steps did you take to start Blue Moon Bikinis?
AM: When COVID-19 first began to take full effect in the US (around March 2020), everything went into lockdown immediately. It was my senior year of high school; we were sent home from school, and all of our senior trips and plans had been canceled as well. I had an insane amount of time on my hands, and as I started to get bored during quarantine, I decided to finally pursue designing and sewing swimwear. I started teaching myself and quickly became obsessed with it; I kept practicing until my friends and family could not tell the difference between a piece I had made and a piece I had bought! I first started selling to my close friends, and then they convinced me to sell to the public; so I did. It quickly became popular in my hometown, Tampa, and as it grew on social media, my region of outreach grew with it.
Now I am here today, a student at Florida State University, where I am continuing my brand. I have been fortunate enough to be able to take this business with me, and I now have an office/studio space located about 15 minutes off-campus. I am currently double majoring in Retail Management and Retail Merchandising, which will hopefully give me lots of insight and information to help my business succeed.
HC: What do you see for the future of your business?
AM: My goal is to continue this business throughout college, and then turn it into a career. I have been blessed and lucky enough to have succeeded with this business so early on, and I am on a path right now that would allow me to make this into a professional job. However, maintaining this work ethic my freshman year of college has already proven to be difficult. Academics and grades are incredibly important to me; my dedication to school and studies is definitely something that conflicts with my time. However, I have been learning to adapt and focus on both school and work; it’s really all just about time management and prioritizing.