Sensi Graves - making a splash in the swimwear industry
Sensi Graves has made a splash in the swimwear industry, not just for her innovative swimwear but for her commitment to empowering women to embrace their own journey of self-belief. Sensi Graves Swim sells sustainable swimwear that women can actually be active in.
While her business started in 2012, Graves' ambition to own a business was cultivated from a young age. "My dad was an entrepreneur, and my parents have instilled in me this love of learning and growth," Graves reflected on her early aspirations.
Fast forward to Graves’ life after college, her passion for kiteboarding made her realize women also need comfortable and functional swimwear. "I remember being really tired of the swimwear on the market because, at that time, there were only a few options,” Graves recalls. “I wanted to start my business so women could actually do things in swimwear.” She wanted her brand to celebrate women in action, not just as glamorous beach bums.
Although Graves didn't have a background in business or manufacturing, she embarked on her journey. She started sketching designs and ordered fabric to create prototypes. The swimwear collection for Sensi Graves Swim debuted with just six pieces.
Today, Sensi Graves Swim has become a well-established brand known for its functional and stylish swimwear designed for active women. However, Sensi’s journey to growth did not come without its challenges. She had to learn not only about building a business but to believe in her ability to make it happen. Thus, Graves continuously sought out resources and support.
It was during this search that Graves discovered the FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab. FedEx and nonprofit partner Accion Opportunity Fund offer this program to women and minority-owned small businesses to help them improve their online presence through hands-on learning, mentorship, and networking opportunities.
The FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab went over essential aspects of entrepreneurship, diving into the weeds of what she was really looking for. “I learned a lot about actually doing inventory management and looking at the cost of a warehouse versus doing another fulfillment center,” Graves said.
Learning how to promote her business online also made a big difference. As Graves shared, “We learned about SEO, and that really resonated with me, like how you can do really simple updates to the backend of your website to help customers find you.”
Graves expressed, “I think that they did a really great job of covering a lot of stuff I haven't dug deeply into before.” Whether it be operations or marketing, the program allowed her to revisit and optimize various components of her business, providing a much-needed focus on the critical details.
The most valuable aspect of the Learning Lab for Graves was the vote of confidence it offered her. According to Graves, “Having support goes so far for an entrepreneur. So hearing them say, ‘Hey, we believe in what you're doing,’ went beyond the learning in a way I think is so important.”
Sensi Graves Swim is not just a swimwear brand; it's a testament to resilience and achieving self-confidence. The brand seeks to empower women to become the best version of themselves. The FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab is committed to reinforcing the power of determination in women’s small businesses. It gives them the tools and the strength to believe in themselves.
***Photos courtesy of Accion Opportunity Fund