From Uber To ‘Une Piece’: Meet The Founder Empowering Women With Her One-Piece Swimsuits

Carly Brown, founder of Une Piece, Photo Credit: Markus Ravik

Carly Brown, founder of Une Piece, Photo Credit: Markus Ravik

Photo Credit: Markus Ravik

Carly Brown is no stranger to launching new products: as a former marketing manager at global brands like Coca-Cola, Revlon and Uber, she was highly accustomed to innovation, go-to-market strategies and the importance of consumer analytics.

Growing up near the beach on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with a surfer dad and sun-conscious mother, Brown was always drawn to life by the water. So it’s only natural that she felt the pull to create a new spin on the traditional swimsuit: specifically, the one piece. And so, Brown pivoted from marketing exec to founder when she launched Une Piece, which means ‘one piece’ in French.

“I was working at Uber in Australia when I had the idea of a one-piece swimwear brand. The more I researched, the more it became obvious that there was a big gap in the market for stylish and sun-conscious swimwear,” Brown explains. “We launched with one product in November 2016 — the Original Sexie Rashie — and launched it in five colors.”

Brown was telling a girlfriend about her idea for a one-piece swimwear brand, when her friend asked her to make “a sexy rashie” (rashie is a nickname for rashguard), which until then had not existed.

The next day, she scoured brands online and had an ‘aha’ moment when her research showed a huge gap in the market for stylish and sexy sun-conscious swimwear. “I saw an opportunity to create something that was both beautiful and fashionable, while being high quality and made from sustainable UPF50+ to block 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays,” Brown continues.

While researching the launch range for Une Piece, Brown surveyed many women to learn more about what they wanted in a swimsuit. One issue that kept coming up was the issue of the harsh Australian sun: women wore rash vests because they wanted to be sun-smart and positive role models for their kids, but they had yet to find one that was universally flattering.

Before the website was even live, Brown had a waitlist of 500 people wanting to buy Une Piece’s first product. Once the site went live, Une Piece sold out of its signature item within a week.

“Originally it was friends and family that signed up to buy the Original Sexie Rashie. Then I shared it on some forums including 'Like Minded B****** Drinking Wine' and Business Chicks Facebook Groups — and from there it grew and grew.”

Today, Une Piece has seen sales in 54 countries around the world through its e-commerce site. The brand has also stepped into a retail partnership with David Jones, Australia’s largest premium department store.

While no path is linear, Brown’s career background is proof that every job contributes to one’s journey. As the head of brand marketing and communications at Revlon for the UK and Europe, Brown was inspired to challenge how the beauty industry marketed to women at the time, thanks to her manager: especially when it came to empowering women, rather than preying on their insecurities.

After her time at Revlon, Brown moved to Uber, which was a shift in gears and also where she adapted to that “Silicon Valley intense speed to market” and the power of disruption.

Brown’s strong marketing background has also served her by emphasizing the importance of customer feedback.

“We’ve had so much feedback that the product makes women feel confident and empowered, making them feel like a Bond Girl! Everything ladders back to our overarching vision of helping women feel empowered and confident, and delivering ‘Stylish Sun-Consciousness’. We now receive so many emails from customers telling us about their experience with melanoma and skin cancer, so it has made me even more passionate about spreading the word about how important it is to protect your skin.”

After the success of the Original Rashie, Brown tested the waters with an active range that includes a hybrid legging — which sold out within 48 hours. Riding on the success of the Original Hybrid Leggings, Une Piece launched a line of Original Hybrid Bike Pants in November.

“The key point of difference for our range is that it’s made from sustainable UPF50+ fabrics to block 98% of harmful UV rays and that are ultra chlorine resistant, designed to take you from beach to barre class,” Brown explains.

Since a large part of Une Piece’s ethos is female empowerment, Brown also partnered with artist and Lusid Art founder Alex Saba, for the art exhibit “Praise You.” (She later joined Saba as a cofounder of Praise You.)

Today, Praise You is Australia’s largest all-female art exhibition: it features a body of work with the power to make a difference, celebrating body positivity and empowering women.

Brown’s impact goes even further: Praise You supports the Butterfly Foundation, Australia’s national organization for eating disorders and body image. All the artists involved donate their pieces to be sold as originals and as limited-edition prints on that evening. (In the past three years, Praise You has raised $25,000 for the Butterfly Foundation.)

For Brown, art is also at the heart of everything she does at Une Piece.

“There is magic in art, and so much emotion. I love that we can weave that magic and emotion into our products and brand.” All of the prints featured on the fabrics are hand-illustrated, unique and exclusive to Une Piece.

Three years into entrepreneurship, Brown returned to her beauty roots by adding a sunless-tanning product to the mix: La Beach.

“An example of creativity in action is the fact that we launched La Beach, a new self-tan brand that was based purely on the feedback we had from our customers. It also complements our existing business and continues to deliver ‘Stylish Sun Consciousness’,” Brown explains. The first products in the range include an Express Tanning Foam and Tanning Water Mist.

Brown made sure to maintain art as a brand pillar, with La Beach’s packaging, which features hand-illustrated artwork by Australian artist, Beth Moffat. La Beach has also been snapped up after one month in market by David Jones.

Up next for Une Piece: Releasing new prints and silhouettes and more of its “petite” and “Mama & Me” pieces, as well as key strategic retail partnerships in 2020 as part of its international growth plans.

In the meantime, Brown is guided by impact and making all the right waves in the world: “I’m passionate about doing good in the world for women. We are passionate about helping women feel confident and empowered — and therefore beautiful — when they are by the water. Body positivity is a central theme in our business and anchors us all the way from the design process through to the execution of our campaign imagery in market. Remaining true to our vision has helped Une Piece gather the affection and momentum it has.”

">

Carly Brown is no stranger to launching new products: as a former marketing manager at global brands like Coca-Cola, Revlon and Uber, she was highly accustomed to innovation, go-to-market strategies and the importance of consumer analytics.

Growing up near the beach on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with a surfer dad and sun-conscious mother, Brown was always drawn to life by the water. So it’s only natural that she felt the pull to create a new spin on the traditional swimsuit: specifically, the one piece. And so, Brown pivoted from marketing exec to founder when she launched Une Piece, which means ‘one piece’ in French.

“I was working at Uber in Australia when I had the idea of a one-piece swimwear brand. The more I researched, the more it became obvious that there was a big gap in the market for stylish and sun-conscious swimwear,” Brown explains. “We launched with one product in November 2016 — the Original Sexie Rashie — and launched it in five colors.”

Brown was telling a girlfriend about her idea for a one-piece swimwear brand, when her friend asked her to make “a sexy rashie” (rashie is a nickname for rashguard), which until then had not existed.

The next day, she scoured brands online and had an ‘aha’ moment when her research showed a huge gap in the market for stylish and sexy sun-conscious swimwear. “I saw an opportunity to create something that was both beautiful and fashionable, while being high quality and made from sustainable UPF50+ to block 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays,” Brown continues.

While researching the launch range for Une Piece, Brown surveyed many women to learn more about what they wanted in a swimsuit. One issue that kept coming up was the issue of the harsh Australian sun: women wore rash vests because they wanted to be sun-smart and positive role models for their kids, but they had yet to find one that was universally flattering.

Before the website was even live, Brown had a waitlist of 500 people wanting to buy Une Piece’s first product. Once the site went live, Une Piece sold out of its signature item within a week.

“Originally it was friends and family that signed up to buy the Original Sexie Rashie. Then I shared it on some forums including 'Like Minded B****** Drinking Wine' and Business Chicks Facebook Groups — and from there it grew and grew.”

Today, Une Piece has seen sales in 54 countries around the world through its e-commerce site. The brand has also stepped into a retail partnership with David Jones, Australia’s largest premium department store.

While no path is linear, Brown’s career background is proof that every job contributes to one’s journey. As the head of brand marketing and communications at Revlon for the UK and Europe, Brown was inspired to challenge how the beauty industry marketed to women at the time, thanks to her manager: especially when it came to empowering women, rather than preying on their insecurities.

After her time at Revlon, Brown moved to Uber, which was a shift in gears and also where she adapted to that “Silicon Valley intense speed to market” and the power of disruption.

Brown’s strong marketing background has also served her by emphasizing the importance of customer feedback.

“We’ve had so much feedback that the product makes women feel confident and empowered, making them feel like a Bond Girl! Everything ladders back to our overarching vision of helping women feel empowered and confident, and delivering ‘Stylish Sun-Consciousness’. We now receive so many emails from customers telling us about their experience with melanoma and skin cancer, so it has made me even more passionate about spreading the word about how important it is to protect your skin.”

After the success of the Original Rashie, Brown tested the waters with an active range that includes a hybrid legging — which sold out within 48 hours. Riding on the success of the Original Hybrid Leggings, Une Piece launched a line of Original Hybrid Bike Pants in November.

“The key point of difference for our range is that it’s made from sustainable UPF50+ fabrics to block 98% of harmful UV rays and that are ultra chlorine resistant, designed to take you from beach to barre class,” Brown explains.

Since a large part of Une Piece’s ethos is female empowerment, Brown also partnered with artist and Lusid Art founder Alex Saba, for the art exhibit “Praise You.” (She later joined Saba as a cofounder of Praise You.)

Today, Praise You is Australia’s largest all-female art exhibition: it features a body of work with the power to make a difference, celebrating body positivity and empowering women.

Brown’s impact goes even further: Praise You supports the Butterfly Foundation, Australia’s national organization for eating disorders and body image. All the artists involved donate their pieces to be sold as originals and as limited-edition prints on that evening. (In the past three years, Praise You has raised $25,000 for the Butterfly Foundation.)

For Brown, art is also at the heart of everything she does at Une Piece.

“There is magic in art, and so much emotion. I love that we can weave that magic and emotion into our products and brand.” All of the prints featured on the fabrics are hand-illustrated, unique and exclusive to Une Piece.

Three years into entrepreneurship, Brown returned to her beauty roots by adding a sunless-tanning product to the mix: La Beach.

“An example of creativity in action is the fact that we launched La Beach, a new self-tan brand that was based purely on the feedback we had from our customers. It also complements our existing business and continues to deliver ‘Stylish Sun Consciousness’,” Brown explains. The first products in the range include an Express Tanning Foam and Tanning Water Mist.

Brown made sure to maintain art as a brand pillar, with La Beach’s packaging, which features hand-illustrated artwork by Australian artist, Beth Moffat. La Beach has also been snapped up after one month in market by David Jones.

Up next for Une Piece: Releasing new prints and silhouettes and more of its “petite” and “Mama & Me” pieces, as well as key strategic retail partnerships in 2020 as part of its international growth plans.

In the meantime, Brown is guided by impact and making all the right waves in the world: “I’m passionate about doing good in the world for women. We are passionate about helping women feel confident and empowered — and therefore beautiful — when they are by the water. Body positivity is a central theme in our business and anchors us all the way from the design process through to the execution of our campaign imagery in market. Remaining true to our vision has helped Une Piece gather the affection and momentum it has.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a freelance journalist specializing in career, fashion, retail, social media, and wellness; contributor for COVETEUR, Create & Cultivate, Teen Vogue, Monster,

...