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Melodie Meyer Founder of Mermaid Wave Wear | Sexy Sustainable Wetsuits for Women

Find it on your favorite podcast player.

In this episode, I caught up with Melodie Meyer from Mermaid Wave Wear.

Mermaid Wave Wear makes a sexy and sustainable wetsuit line for women. They use Yulux glue which is a solvent-free and sustainable material in the construction of the suits.

Links & Connect

Transcripts

Hi. Hi again.

Good afternoon.

Good afternoon. Hello! How are you?

I'm okay. Did you go surfing today?

I did not. I feel like this is Groundhog Day.

Why?

Oh well, this neck thing that I have, it's reoccurring.

Oh! Neck thing excuse.

Yeah, the old neck thing excuse, yeah. But I did surf yesterday.

Oh good! How are the waves?

It was small. But it's always good to be in the water.

I totally agree. And it's just cool enough like Wim Hof cool enough where you get that cool water sensation.

Yeah, absolutely. You're in Venice, right?

Yeah.

Yeah, cool. Yeah. I grew up in Long Beach...

Oh yeah?

...and then moved up to Ojai about 20 years ago. So I've been here a while but definitely been around that area surfing Redondo Beach, Manhattan.

Oh, Manhattan Beach. Did you ever been to Kauai North Shore?

Yeah. I've surfed the North Shore, I've surfed Kauai. Hawaii is a whole different ballgame.

Its service, yeah.

It's full-on. The waves are great, but sometimes it can be a little rough in the water.

Oh my gosh! There's 6-year old kids charging 10-foot waves there.

Yeah, I know. It's amazing.

Gosh!

Yeah. I really love Kauai. I have to admit, I spent some time on Maui after college. Thought I was going to live there and then I ended up not. I went to Kauai for the first time just 2 years ago, I think, and just loved it.

Wow!

Absolutely loved it. Yeah. So you want to introduce who you are and what you're all about. Just tell the world your beautiful story.

Okay. Well, my name is Melodie Meyer.

I love the name, by the way.

Thank you.

You got double M and double D right here.

I'm triple M.

Oh, you're triple M? Okay, I'm not triple D.

My dad was a musician.

Okay, very cool.

And I started Mermaid Wave Wear and I had this idea 15 years ago. And there's some girls staying downstairs that were in the fashion industry in New York and I said the only thing that hasn't been done's a wetsuit, that's virgin territory, like they're hazmat uniforms. And the best people in the planet are surfers. They're naturally beautiful so I was so shocked that no one did do anything. And then there's a girl staying in my house. I was living in Long Beach, actually.

Oh, wow.

And she said, "Are there any cute wetsuits?" So I drew a stick figure and I said, "This is how someone should design a wetsuit." And I said, "I'm gonna start a wetsuit." I didn't know what I was doing, I've never been to fashion school. Not that you have to go to school to do something. And it just proves that if you have an idea and you can see it, you can do it.

Yeah, I agree.

I knew nothing. I knew nothing.

Yeah. I was the same way when I started Wave Tribe. I didn't know anything about manufacturing or the industry. I was a surfer but that's where everything stopped for me. Yeah. I'm a surfer.

But I think it's good to go in with open eyes like, oh, I have to hear stage one, hear stage two because most people who are kind of flowing with their business or whatever, and it just happens. And people were like, "How did you get that manufacturer? How did you get that contracts?" I was just like, "I just called them." And they're like, "You mean you could call them? You're not suppose to go to a trade show or this and that?" And like, I didn't even know what a trade show was.

Right.

So I think, the playbook, you can create your own playbook.

I love that. Yeah, I think that's true in all of life actually.

Of course! Yeah.

Yeah. Wetsuits, when I first started looking at products to create for Wave Tribe, the first one I created was the board bag out of hemp and...

Oh, hemp?

Yeah.

Wow!

...and I thought about wetsuits and I looked at it, you'll be able to tell us more about it, but the manufacturing process is intense and then you have to deal with--well, I guess less so in women's but men's, you got short, short-tall, short-medium, short-long, medium-long, there's so many sizes, right? So if you're going to do a production run, it's like shoes. You can't just sell size 6 pair of shoes. You got to sell all kinds of shoes, right?

Actually, I do it one size because my funds were limited and I'm tall, I'm 5'11. And this one girl who's staying here, I do Airbnb, I used to do it. And she went to go in the ocean, she asks, "Do you have a wetsuit?" So I gave her my wetsuit and she was shorter and curvier and I'm like, "Wow!" That says it's a lot of...

Interesting. Yeah!

...different shapes. And she looks fit, she's about 5'6, very curvy, she looks amazing in it. And I'm like, "Oh my God! You look amazing." She came back, she said, "I have 5 dates because of this wetsuit, I got to get one." "See that's what I'm telling you, you look amazing in them."

So I notice like, try to take in the middle because I didn't know what else to do. So that's how I chose it, just like aaaahh there.

And so what was the initial design process like? Did you hire a designer or did you..?

No, I didn't know about tech packs. There's this thing called tech packs. I didn't even know what they were talking about. So I searched what are tech packs. And luckily in Los Angeles, there's a lot of manufacturing and a lot of fashion school. So the resources are here. So it's always good to have your resources close by. And so I found a tech pack guy and I instinctively knew he did it wrong, I don't know why. And I said "This isn't a t-shirt. It's a wetsuit and sticker." He's, "No, I did it right, I did it right." I'm like, "Pff." I just had a feeling was wrong. I didn't know what it was. And he says, "I'll redo it." And the wetsuit was huge. So I knew he didn't correct it. So I had to get someone else. But that's good because then that directs you to the right person.

Yeah. So is a tech pack, because I don't know, is it like a spec pack with..?

It's some measurements like from here to here, from here to here.

Ah okay. Chest, hips. Okay.

Yeah, there's a lot of different--it's like physics at most, you know, a lot of angles.

So did he do a 3D like a CAD design for it or?

No, no, no. It's just paper and I just knew it's wrong. So I was lucky, I just put a blast on next door and said, "Does anyone know anyone who could do tech packs?" I said, "I'm starting a wetsuit line." And this lady said, "I know the perfect person. She is a teacher at and she's into scuba diving." And she was the perfect person. So we got along really well and she was fantastic.

I was very lucky. So sometimes you have to go through a couple gates to get the right person and that right person is always there. You got to find that right person.

Yeah. Sometimes you have to jump through a couple hooks for sure.

Yeah, and that's okay, that's okay because it's like okay, you know--and especially if it happens soon, that's really good. I was lucky.

So how did it all go down? You got your tech pack and then you didn't have a manufacturer yet. So..

Actually, I did.

Oh, you did.

Sometimes it's okay to be crazy and I wanted a wetsuit where I can wear to the beach and wear it to the club. I know that's insane, but I want a really cool wetsuit. So I was trying, trying and trying to find a manufacturer and found out where Patagonia makes their wetsuit line. And I'm hardcore environmentalist. So I was like, "If Patagonia is there, I know they're good." I don't even have to ask the question. So I emailed them twice and I get this guy and he's like the lead and forward I can't waste my time on this.

So I have a friend of mine who's a big surfer in Laguna Beach. And I said, "You kno knowI'm trying to start this wetsuit line but I can't find my fabric." And he knows all the manufacturers. He knows all the wetsuit makers. He goes, "You're not going to because they don't want you to. They have one color and that's all they need." I was like, "You just fired me up."

So I emailed that factory again and I get a girl this time. She was, "Oh, interesting. What do you want to do?" So I said, "I want a wetsuit where I can wear in the ocean and wear to the club." And I kind of looked away because I didn't know if it was being emailed.

Didn't want to see your reaction?

But it's, "Oh, I think I sent it." Because it's so silly, but that's what I wanted. And she responded, I cannot believe it. I was so shocked. I'm like, "Girl, like really?" And so she goes, "Tell me more." So I just thought of more ways to use this wetsuit, so I basically created another category, like more fashion and that does not. And I insert more fashion. And actually the fashion industry has been way more inviting.

And I always knew that. I always felt that because it's a little wacky. And then it kept on going back because I never worked with a corporation and didn't know that they have to ask the pool cleaner and that psychic healer and the dog walker, that garage attendant, I didn't know that there was this line of command...

This hierarchy, yeah.

...that no one could say yes and no one could say no. And then I get an email and she says, "If you were to pick a color, what color would you pick?"

So I picked a color because I love pink and didn't hear back, didn't hear back. I don't know if I'm in or out. And then I hear back and she goes, "We're going to make a fabric for you." And the girl's name was Zoey. And my first thought was, "I hope Zoey doesn't get fired over this." So I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know where the money is coming from. You're asking me stuff that I have no idea what you're talking about.

So I just prayed like, "Please, God, please don't fire Zoey over this." And somehow it worked out. And yeah, I just saw it. I saw the wetsuit.

That's awesome. So did they offer you the pink or did you pick out the pants on that?

I told them the pink.

I really like the color.

At first I was like, "Oh my God, that's so pink." And I was scared of them and I opened it and I just put it away and I won't look at it like, "Oh my God, it's so pink. Oh my gosh, what am I going to do now?" But if you're going to do something different, you may as well just go for it.

I agree.

And the number one comment I get is always from men and they always say, "Is that a wetsuit?" They always say that.

And it's a good thing, right? That's because they can't figure it out because it looks so good.

Yeah, I consider that a high compliment.

So you got the first--you get one sample main in the beginning and then?

Oh, I got quite a few.

Oh, you did? Right off the bat?

Well, no, it took a while. But you know when a female is waiting and waiting, waiting and the little brains go in and it's like, "Oh, let me change this. Let me change this." And they were like, "No more samples. You got to order them more samples." I was like, "Oh I just want to change something else." So they were a little bit upset with me, understandably. I totally understand. But so I finally made a order.

Awesome. Did they charge you for the initial sampling?

Oh, yeah.

Oh, they did? So each sample, yeah?

Yeah. Oh yeah. And they were like, "Girl! Hmm."

And how long did it take between getting the final, final sample finished and fit in your office..

Person.

Yeah. Like the first time you wore them, what did it feel like?

Well my first sample, I saw the color I'm like, "Oh gosh. That is so pink." I'm more chill. I'm not like a look at me, look at me type girl. And I just was a little scared because it's definitely like, look at me. And I was little scared of wearing it, to be honest, because it's so in your face. But I got more used to it and it's a conversation starter and then they asked me about a logo. I'm like, "Oh my God, didn't even think of a logo." And they said, "Where are you going to put the logo?" I'm like, "I don't even know." So I was going to the beach and I saw a guy with a logo on his biceps. I said, "I know where I'm going to put my logo. So I was going to the beach and I saw a guy with a logo on his biceps. I'm like, "I know where I'm going to put my logo. It's going to be on the butt."

Nice.

And my second most common comment is, "I saw your logo from 2 blocks away."

I'm like, "Woah!"

You know where they're looking.

Because that kind of thing is on the butt, yeah.

Yeah, that's awesome. Did you ever actually wear it out to a bar or a nightclub?

The first two times, I wore it to a club and a friend of mine who I see every morning in the ocean surfing, he's a very good surfer and he was DJing. I said, "Hey, how you doing?" He goes, "Hey!". I said, "This is my new wetsuit line." And he's, "That's a wet suit?" I said, "Yeah." He didn't even know it was a wetsuit.

That's awesome.

So, yeah. So you can wear it to the club.

You can wear it to the club.

And you can sweat, too. My booty shorts, you can sweat in the booty shorts.

Nice. So how thick is it if you are..?

2.5

2.5. Okay, so between like a winter suit--obviously, it's warmer where you live than it is here. So that's a nice all around...

Like 60 degree, 58 to 67.

You don't sweat too much if you're wearing it out on the town?

If you're in a club, you will sweat. Your face isn't sweating but when you take it off like, "Ooh! That stinks."

It might be good for people that want to drop weight. It's kind of like...

It's great for detox, no doubt. You can lose a lot of weight with it. Oh, yeah.

Stay hydrated. That's for sure.

Stay hydrated always.

That's awesome. So what else can you tell us about the journey? I mean, obviously you've learned a lot and what's it like to be part of the surf industry now, your manufacturer?

It's not what I expected, I thought it would be a little bit better. The marketing is challenging and I'm in a very good store in New York and they basically deal with fashion editors and stylists. And they love it because it's so out there. To search shops, because it's mainly dudes there and they're like, "Oh God, what is that?" And I understand that. I totally, I understand it.

Because it is kind of out there, but I get it. And I remember one lifeguard because it zips in the front, has like a bralette. I always like Julie Newmar's Catwoman and I want to have that ligature.

Oh right.

I thought she was such a great Catwoman. Well, they're all great Catwomen, but that's how I grew up. And I remember this one lifeguard, he goes, "You may have your wetsuit on backwards."

That's so funny. Think about that. So it zips down, right?

Yeah.

Yeah. Very cool.

So you can have it zip down a little bit if you want to be sexy or whatever.

That's your tagline isn't it? Sexy sustainable suit wear?

Sexy and sustainable. That was very important to me. Very, very important to me.

That's definitely what it is, I would say, seeing some of the pictures.

I was trying to work with two guys to make it out of algae and it Jacob's manufacturing with and they're very sustainable. And they said, "We have tried that and we just can't do anything. Oh, what about hemp?" So hemp would be great if they can...

Yeah, the water--hemp has difficulty with saltwater. So, maybe you could do it. Maybe you could sew a layer in, but I don't know. Maybe it's possible. Is it limestone the current one or is it...

I'm sure it is, yeah. It's made with Aqualux. Yeah.

The same thing Patagonia uses, yeah. Very cool.

It's basically because normally when I go into a surf store, like the chemical, I can't handle the chemicals. And I have boxes all over my house, even in my bedroom. And I don't smell a thing and I'm very chemical sensitive.

Very cool. And are you selling direct also or are you just kind of looking down...?

The line? Yeah.

We'll link up to that so people check it out for sure.

Mermaid Wave Wear.

Yeah, Mermaid Wave Wear.

Also for any entrepreneurs out there, Shopify is awesome. Like their customer service, are you in Shopify?

I am. I am.

Their customer service. I used to tell in my comments that I don't know how Shopify gets the best people. I said, "They might be giving you happy drugs like you all are the best." They are so patient, those people.

Yeah. They're amazing, I think everyone should...

All you entrepreneurs, go in Shopify.

Yeah, for sure, for sure. I was on Volusion for years and that was a nightmare. So what's next? Now, you've got the product and I've seen you're starting to get your social media game on and I've seen some videos that you've done which are great. Do you have like a strategy or a plan or are you just feeling it out?

I'm just trying everything and seeing what works and I'm not sure because something like, "Oh, gosh, this isn't working." And I just--because I think there's a spiritual awakening going on and we're not go, go, go, go, go, go, go all the time. Let me just float for a little while and see what happens and let the universe tell me where to go. There's some sort of explanation and I'm watching a lot of spiritual Youtube lately.

Yeah, whatever it takes.

And I'm going to do that for a while.

You're also being proactive. You reached out to me on LinkedIn, which is why we're here. So yeah, you're definitely, I think..

LinkedIn is really good.

Yeah. Have you reached out to more people and got some good feedback?

Yeah, LinkedIn is really good. Shopify and LinkedIn.

Have you tried any social media ads or any advertising campaigns.

That didn't work all that well. So I just got to try and ask for advice. Actually, another great place for advice is SCORE. The retired people, they're really good.

Awesome.

They're really good. And you just got to try and try and try and see what works and see what doesn't. And you got to find your lane.

Absolutely. And then have you reached out to see if there's any women entrepreneurs in the area or in the community or even men entrepreneurs. I've found that in my journey, having a community of other entrepreneurs has been really helpful, giving me advice and kind of shepherding the way.

Yeah, there's a lot of meetups for that that are really good. I like meetup.com also and there's a lot of entrepreneurial meetups and people will just--you know, we all love to give free advice and people say, "Oh, why don't you try them? Like "I never thought of that. That's a great idea." So I mean, you can get advice from a 3-year old kid and say we are different because their perspective..

More innocent, yeah.

They are. I'm like, "Wow, I never thought of that. That's a great idea." So I always listen to what people are offering you, even though it might seem kind of whack.

I mean, I want a wetsuit where you can wear to the club that's insane. And someone said yes. You don't know where the gift is coming from. It's jewelries wrapped in a Tiffany box. You never know. So just be aware of crazy or erudite or whatever advice. They might be telling you something where you have a blind spot.

I love that. You never know where the gift is coming from.

You don't. Because the ego is like, "Oh, I know everything." Well. So because I used to teach inter-city kids and it was so much fun, I learned so much from them. It was amazing. And we kinda inspired each other and it was really cool.

That's awesome.

It was really cool.

Awesome. And how about the community in Venice? I used to know the owner of Rider Shack. Have you been over there to see those guys?

That's by the pier, right?

It's a little bit inland. I forget which street it's on, but it's run by a couple and they're super cool.

In Venice or Santa Monica?

In Santa Monica. It's probably like right on the edge of both.

I'm pretty sure I contacted.

Yeah, Rider Shack. Jack is the owner over there. Really nice people. I'll send you an email with his contact and you can just reach out. He's super good guy and I know his wife. They're running it together so there's a female component of the shop, too so it might be worth just talking to them.

Cool.

They were really supportive of me when I was selling to shops back in the day.

That's really good. Yeah, really good. Really good.

And how about Amazon? Have you scratch that itch at all or...?

No, no.

It's a tough one.

I'm a Shopify girl.

That's awesome. Well, is there anything else you'd like to say or you want people to go--we'll put ti in the show notes, but where people can find you and hang out?

Well, Mother Nature's healing and we need to respect Mother Nature and we should follow her lead and heal during this time. And just respect. We were not to counter her. And we need to respect her.

I like that.

She gives us everything we need. Air, water, food, everything.

And waves.

And as a bonus, waves. But don't drop it on me.

Oh yeah.

You know, I love when people surf with their dogs. I love that.

Yeah, you like that?

The dog surfer in Ventura.

Yeah, I know what you're talking about, but I don't know who it is.

That dog's awesome.

Yeah, it's pretty cool. I'm a cat person.

Oh, you're a cat person.

But I can appreciate a dog from a distance for sure.

Because I love the doggy surfer clubs that they have here and they're so fabulous.

It's quite a thing. I even saw a surfing llama at some point.

Oh, that's in Peru. I saw that.

Llama is like, "What are you? Are you kidding me?"

He didn't look happy.

But the pig for North Shore Oahu, the pig was into it.

Yeah, pigs are smart. Pigs are super smart.

This pig is good. Hurley even sponsored this pig.

Wow, that's cool. If I can get my cat out on board, then I'm sure it'll be so pumped.

You'll never know. You'll never know. Does this cat like water?

No, not at all. It's not going to happen.

Or borrow someone's dog.

Awesome. Well, it was really nice to connect..

Thank you.

...and I look forward to hearing more about your journey and let me know where I can help if I can at all.

Oh, wow. Very nice.

Yeah, I always open..

You just spread the word we need to heal Mother Nature. And she is healing.

She is.

She is thriving. And she's showing us how to thrive and we need to follow her lead. In Australia, after the fires, like the trees are blossoming and the grass is growing and the animals are coming out and it's right in front of her face. And instead of fighting over toilet paper, let's heal.

Yeah. Good. Toiler paper is important, too though. Not to fight over, but just in general.

Would you go with toilet paper or surfboard?

Oh, for sure surfboard. There is no doubt.

There you go.

It's probably surfboard over everything and anything in my life.

Of course. Where does the skateboard fit in?

So I'm not a skateboard--I was as a kid, I skated a lot, but not anymore. I feel like I would break too many bones if I did skateboarding now. So I'm all in on surfing.

Yeah. It's just the coolest sport. Here at this Venice skateboard park and they put sand in it so no one would skate in the skateboard park. And then people got buckets and took out the sand and there is a ton of people there skateboarding. And then the cops refilled it with sand until they want to get out.

Why? Did they feel that the city didn't want them in there anymore?

Yeah.

There's actually a really nice skate park here in Ojai that was donated by somebody in the community. The kids love, they absolutely love. You got to let people express themselves through whatever medium as long as they're not hurting others. I think it's everything should be free game.

Well, because we need to boost our immunity now. And two ways to do that are vitamin D and de-stress. So this is actually helping people de-stressed by watching it and doing it and getting out in the sun. There you can work to boost your immunity now.

Oh, for sure. Are you taking any supplements or anything right now?

Like?

Magnesium because I was a sugar addict for a very long time.

Oh wow. I love dark chocolate.

Actually, I started a lot of chocolate because I didn't know how to get off sugar and it's sugar-free. It's very, very bitter and it helped me. And I realize, "Oh you have to change your palate and then your brain will follow." And I'm like, "Why doesn't anyone tell you that?" So I thought, "Oh, I'll teach people how to get off sugar because that's a drug." And I knew it would be challenging because it's very bitter and we're not used to bitter here, so I brought a garbage can just in case someone wanted to spit it out and most people did, which I knew would happen.

But my favorite comment I ever got, this lady made a beeline straight for my booth and she didn't have any bags or anything so I thought it was kind of odd. And she walks up to me and she was, "I just don't get it. I don't understand why people buy this." So I said, "Neither do I." And she continued, she was "I like to enjoy my food. This is not enjoyment."

Wow!

I feel it's like an episode of Seinfeld. It was so hilarious. I wish I filmed it. It was so fabulous. It's my favorite comment I've ever got. It was so brilliant.

I love chocolate but sugar for a lot of just kills so many people with diabetes and because...

It's a drug.

...it can be devastating. I think a little bit is okay. It's like most things, moderation is the key.

It excites your brain the same heart where cocaine is excited and that's why it's so hard to get off. It's really hard.

So the magnesium helps you with the...

Well, do you know, Dr. Jamir? He's a herbalist, he had an office in Ojai and one in Ventura. Because I'm like, "What? My knees are going out." I would be standing and my knees would go out that "Why are my knees going out?" So went out turns I'm low in magnesium. Why are people low in magnesium? Sugar. And most people are low in magnesium.

Right. Because the sugar's blocking the magnesium. Interesting. I never thought about that.

I didn't either. So get off sugar. It's very hard, but if you don't want to go the bitter route, you can go like strawberries because they're low glycemic or I put some peppermint tincture in my water and it's not sweet, but it kind of gives you the illusion that you're having a peppermint candy.

Interesting. Okay, cool.

But you got to get off sugar.

Yeah, I agree.

And if you're not going to do it, because no one does it for health reasons, so do it for superficial reasons, because it ages you very fast.

We're in L.A. and everything is what we look like. So do it for superficial reasons.

There you go. That's great. Alright! It's been awesome to talk to you. I really appreciate it.

Thank you so much. It was so much fun.

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