The Story of Beth Reeb and the Launch of Savage Swim
Posted on January 18 2017
If you’ve driven down A1A in the past few months and noticed the very obvious renovation of the old Jiffy Lube building into a curious gray and hot pink spot – we’ve got the story for you. In just a year’s time Beth Reeb has turned a dream into a bustling business of making bikinis and it’s happening right where you used to get your oil changed. Savage Swim, a cheeky bikini swimsuit line for women, encompasses a strong blend of athleticism and flirtatious design, a playful reflection of its creator. Reeb has called Northeast Florida home for the past 18 years and took her love for the outdoors, sun and ocean and turned it into a business venture.
It has been a quite an inspirational year for Savage Swim owner and designer, Beth Reeb. As a single mother of four and small business owner, Reeb knows a thing or two about hard work and sacrifice. During the past year, she has transformed a far-fetched dream from childhood into a very grownup business success story.
With a background in interior design, Reeb took her knowledge of fabrics and self-taught sewing skills and ventured into the swimsuit arena in hopes of creating a product that would help other women shine in their own skin.
“The style design came from my frustration with never being able to find a swimsuit style that would fit my body properly,” she explained, an avid CrossFit athlete. “I wanted the design to reflect my funky style with a lot of lacing on the back of the tops and fun, bright colored prints.”
Every bikini available for purchase is customizable by design choice and reversible with two fabric prints. The swimsuits are constructed and hand-sewn at the Savage Swim headquarters near St. Augustine Beach and shipped locally as well as all over the world.
The swimwear line only came into existence this past year, but it was a journey that has been long time coming for Reeb.
Following a divorce several years ago, she began to search for her passions again, eager to uncover her more creative side. She had always had the idea of creating a swimsuit line in the back of her mind, so she sprang for some spandex fabric and thread and dusted off her 20-year-old sewing machine in her garage. She messed around with the project for a few days and then forgot about it, as life got busy again. She joined her mother, working together in the interior design business.
“I enjoyed interior design, but it wasn’t my true passion. I burnt out on it eventually and began sewing drapery and window treatments for a while,” she explained.
As that slowed down, she ventured back out to the service industry and worked as a cocktail waitress at Cellar 6 in downtown St. Augustine.
“It was a good job, but the hours were hard with my kids at home and being around that type of atmosphere just wasn’t really feeding my soul,” she said. “I was searching for something more.”
Reeb eventually hit rock bottom last year as her 29th birthday was fast approaching.
“When I was younger, one of my goals by the time I hit 30, was I wanted the mortgage on my house paid off and be living financially secure. I realized I was really struggling and had gone way off path,” she said.
With this realization, she quit her job and with what little money she had, she ordered more spandex fabric and decided to jump all in with the launch of a swimsuit business.
“I had four little mouths to feed and it was an extremely stressful time, but I knew if I didn’t focus my time and energy on the swimsuit line, it wasn’t going to happen.”
She bought the threads and accessories and spent a couple of weeks getting down the design concept she wanted to use and sizing. She had to teach herself how to sew apparel.
“Swimsuits are difficult to sew because of the seamless fit to the body and the way the spandex material stretches,” Reeb explained. “I went from big, oversized draperies to little spandex bikinis. It was a challenge.”
She came up with the name of her swimsuit line because the word savage was very reflective of all the chaos in her personal and professional life. It was a raw beginning.
Reeb launched Savage Swim with two designs for bikini tops and one for the bottom. Over the next several months, she slowly added more unique designs and fabric prints and moved out of the cramped workspace in her garage to the larger, more spacious headquarters and shop, which will soon be open to the public. The shop is set to open in early July and will feature the full Savage Swim line including shorts, tanks, beach bags and bikinis.
“This year has been an exciting, stressful, rewarding and beautiful, crazy ride. It’s bittersweet juggling business and family life,” Reeb said, adding, “The only reason I don’t question whether or not this business is what I should be doing is because I know it’s the one thing that will give my family our freedom in the long run. This is tough, but it’s so important that I show them the importance of hard work and setting goals.”