Hyla Nayeri and Adrien Bettio, founders of the Toronto-based 437 Swimwear, have quietly built one of the sexiest emerging luxury bathing suit brands on the market. With summer around the corner, The Daily caught up with the duo to find out what’s in store for 2019 and where to find the best beaches in the world.
Why did you guys want to start this brand?
Hyla Nayeri: A couple of years ago, I was living in Rome and she was living in Tulle, France, as we were studying abroad. We would meet up every single weekend to go to a different beach city and travel. Our main priority of the trip was to eat; we love eating and we’re massive foodies. We’d go to these beaches and none of the bathing suits we bought were flattering on us. It felt like it was either eat food or look good in a bathing suit. We were like, This sucks, how can we fix it? When we got back we started designing. We had no idea it would turn into a real business. [Originally we thought] Let’s design some bathing suits, use it as travel money and work from our laptops wherever [we are in the world]. Which is funny because now we can barely leave our office.
Where does the name come from?
Adrien Bettio: 437 was the house we lived in together when we were in our final year of university and that’s when we launched the brand. It’s funny now because 437 is Toronto’s newest area code, so the stars have aligned for us a little bit in that sense.
It sounds like you guys are really close! What’s it like working with your best friend?
Nayeri: Amazing. Adrien and I have the best-case scenario. I would not suggest it for everybody. Adrien and I have complementary skill sets. We enjoy doing different things. You have to learn the strategies of how to make it work. As with anyone you’re with — share a condo with them, share an office, or go on trips with them — it will be overwhelming. We’ve learned tactics [to make it work]. We don’t live together anymore. When we travel, we try to get our own beds…. [but] every time something good happens, we get to share that joy. Also, when something bad happens I’m not alone. I’ve got someone to be like, “It’s okay, we’re gonna get through this.” They truly care about you.
What is one of your best-selling styles?
Bettio: The Kenzie top and Aubrey bottom. Those styles together in black or in rose are incredibly popular. Everyone loves them.
Nayeri: [The Aubrey bottoms are] comfortable, flattering, but they’re still sexy. A lot of times brands will do a high-waisted suit, but it’s a little bit frumpy. It looks like a diaper. But we kept… your butt is out. It’s really high-cut, so you have a lot of side leg going on. But it still covers that little bit of under stomach where a girl tends to be bloated. It really just forms to the body. The Kenzie top — girls love it because you can style it six, seven, eight different ways. You can wear it frontwards, backwards, tied… Girls get really creative with it.
What are your typical beach or poolside reads?
Nayeri: I’m hoping to read Michelle Obama’s biography. The books that I read are a little bit business-y. The 4-Hour Workweek and things like that. I’ll either be reading a book or every trip I’ll pick up a copy of Forbes or Entrepreneur [for] little tips and tricks.
Bettio: I’ve always loved reading novels for my own pleasure. Whenever I’m on vacation I like to read romance novels or thrillers. I do read occasionally some business stuff, but it’s only when Hyla strongly recommends something to me.
Your collection is designed in Toronto, but made in China. Can you tell me more about your factory?
Bettio: Our factory is run by a woman named Rita. She’s in her late 20s. She comes from a pretty low-income family and worked really hard to establish a name for herself and eventually save up some money to start her own factory. It’s amazing because she employs her entire family: all of her siblings, their spouses. It really is a family-run operation.
It seems like you really got to know her…
Bettio: We’ve been to China twice now where we’ve spent time with Rita and her entire family. We’ll go over for dinner and eat it with them in their home. It’s a pretty amazing experience to actually get to know our manufacturer on such a personal basis. Hyla and I got to spend time there and see the working conditions ourselves and verify that everything we wanted in our manufacturer actually did exist in terms of making sure there were good working conditions, enough time off for the employees, all of that stuff. That’s really important to us. The fact that we’re able to work with a female-run factory is such an amazing plus, because our entire organization is all women.
Tell me more about your team!
Bettio: This past May, we hired our first employee. Now we’re up to seven full-time staff members, including the two of us. It’s been phenomenal to see how bringing on people with such a diverse and creative minds can grow the business. It’s been such a [great] opportunity for us to work with all these people with different backgrounds and skill sets. They’ve become our best friends. We didn’t know any of them before bringing them on. It’s crazy how we’ve all become so close. We have plans to go karaoke next week, and we go out together and we’ll have nights in together. It’s a community.
How are you expanding in 2019?
Nayeri: Something very exciting we’re launching March 12th is tracksuits. It’s a really simple black on black travel tracksuit. We’re not trying to become an apparel brand, we just thought that this one product would go hand-in-hand for the girls who purchase 437 because it’s meant to be worn at the airport or just doing their everyday tasks. It’s so comfortable. We’ve had our entire team try them on and they have a pair themselves. It looks so good on all different body types and heights.
Do you have any trips coming up?
Bettio: We’re hoping that in July we’re going to spend some time in Greece. Back when Hyla mentioned that we lived in Europe, that was one of the places that we absolutely loved. We’re gonna be in Greece, hopefully Mykonos, and depending on time we might go back to Santorini and some other islands. We want to go possibly to Ibiza. Maybe somewhere else in Spain depending on time again. Also maybe southern Italy, because we absolutely love Italy. We’re looking for any excuse we can to go back.
Nayeri: Our only prerequisites of where we need to go is a beach and good food culture.
What are some of your favorite beaches in the world?
Bettio: One of the ones that stands out to me the most was when we were staying on the Amalfi Coast. We were staying in Praiano. There was this tiny little secluded beach that we would go to every day because it was really close to our hotel. It was just the most stunning inlet within all of these huge cliffs. That was one of the most amazing places we’ve been.
Nayeri: Uluwatu! We were in Bali. Every week we were in a different area. We only had one night in Uluwatu because I guess we weren’t aware of how beautiful the beach was going to be. So we only had six hours at that beach, and it was our last day in Bali, but it was so beautiful. Crystal blue water. There was a lot of cute places to take photos, and the content was amazing. We had a good time there, but since it was only six hours we’re dying to go back.