Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Triangl: Swimming in the deep end

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Triangl's co-founder Erin Deering proves business and pleasure can mix.

For founder of Triangl, Erin Deering, the road to business success has been eventful. She's tried multiple business models, has mixed business with pleasure and has used everything from celebrity endorsements to Instagram to grow the brand.

So what has she learned along the way? 

Erin Deering and partner Craig standing in front of the Hong Kong skyline

Beating big surf brands can happen simply because you don’t have anything to wear on a date

Erin Deering frantically raced around Melbourne in 2011 looking for a bikini for a first date with Craig – now business and life partner – but found nothing she liked under $200 (which was way out of her budget at the time). This germinated an idea.

“After talking to Craig about it, we were inspired by the potential to design more affordable and accessible swimwear. At first, we worked on a wholesale model selling to retailers, but it didn’t last. We struggled to build our brand and realised we had limited control and knowledge of what our customers wanted. So we quickly changed our model to selling exclusively from our website. Since then we’ve connected directly with our customers and it’s faster and easier to react to what they’re telling us. There was no intention to ‘take on’ existing labels. We just saw a gap in the market for affordable, designer swimwear as the market was split into surf brands and high-end, designer labels. We aimed to fit into that small section and win over girls who had been having the same issues as I had.”

You have to try twice as hard when mixing business and romance

Craig and Erin spend most of their time together, but have a great work/life balance. Because they have different backgrounds and experience, they are able to manage varying aspects of their business. Their skill sets are very different, but their vision is always the same.

“Craig conceptualises every style, then we both work to make the designs commercial and relatable for our customers. Craig played professional football in Australia for 11 years and then moved into the fashion industry. He ran his own T-shirt label and then designed denim for a company in Melbourne before launching Triangl. I worked for a few Melbourne-based labels in e-commerce – managing the front end of their online stores. We are together 24/7, but thrive on it. We have had different views, but we’ve practised ways to talk it through, rather than getting emotional and heated. When we’re both rational and calm, we always end up finding a solution and ending up on the same page.”

Instagram is powerful for brand building in youth markets – celebrity oomph helps too

From the start, Triangl kept their social media strategy simple and organic. They wanted anyone who saw their products on social media to be introduced in a genuine way. When customers, bloggers and celebrities (including the Jenner sisters, Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus) started posting their product, it was because they liked the bikinis, and this has continued through until today.

 “Social media has been a driving force behind Triangl’s success. We focused on Instagram and, since day one, have reposted images of girls – mostly our customers, wearing our bikinis. Celebrities are usually introduced to us through a stylist or directly from our PR agency in the US. They see our samples at a photoshoot, then request some for themselves. It’s thrilling to see someone well-known wearing Triangl, but we get just as excited seeing our customers in our bikinis. As for what’s next, Craig and I aren’t big planners, but we’re playing with some new ideas – so watch this space.”

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