Penny Klein Interview

I’m looking forward to my relaxing summer break and, other than my Winser London summer pieces and some lovely new sandals, I'm turning my thoughts to beachwear and a few new pieces for the holiday. I love the Heidi Klein collection for beachwear and when I recently chatted to one of the co-founders, Penny, who is the business talent behind the brand, I asked her a few questions...

In launching Heidi Klein in 2002 with Heidi Gosman, you set out “to provide everything one might want to feel confident and gorgeous on holiday – all under one roof”. How have women and trends changed over the years in what women want out of swimwear and holiday accessories?

We have noticed that customers want more out of their swimwear piece in order to feel more confident on the beach. Whether it’s a new Mum wanting additional tummy control or someone who is conscious of having a larger cup size, women want to find that perfect fitting swimwear to complement their individual silhouette. The control one-piece is also back with superior fitting to elongate and flatter most body shapes. The trend in accessories is to keep it simple yet chic. I personally love the oversized Canvas Bag that is ideal to store travel essentials on the flight and then transforms as a tote for the beach.

Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur? What have been the best elements and the toughest challenges?

I always wanted to have my own company and found the right opportunity with my business partner Heidi Gosman when we were out shopping for swimwear out of season. We noticed that most department stores were not stocking much swimwear during the winter months. We saw this gap and opened our first store in 2002. The best part of running our own business is seeing our styles come to life and hearing the positive feedback from customers. Their inspiration feeds the momentum to continue designing perfect fitting swimwear in fresh and elegant prints. The toughest challenge is finding the time to do everything.

You started Heidi Klein as a bricks and mortar retailer and launched your website a few years ago – how have online sales changed the shape of your business?

Online sales are integral to the business now. Having an online presence has been crucial in extending our reach to an upscale global clientele.

Heidi Klein’s new ‘My Body’ range sounds like a clever concept based on the desire to help women feel more confident on the beach.

Do tell us some more. My Body is an innovative range of fifteen pieces all crafted to create perfectly fitting, instant toning swimwear that’s expertly cut to flatter any shape. This beautifully cut beachwear will offer the flexibility to hide minor imperfections by supporting and lifting the bust, controlling the tummy and ultimately delivering a contouring and slimming effect to the female silhouette. With a mix and match range of sizes in various colours and styles to choose from, the My Body line includes stylish ruched control bottoms, D-G Rectangle tops, D-G control one-pieces and chic halter push-up tops, all expertly designed to deliver exceptional support, camouflage and lift while gifting the wearer with a renewed brand of self-confidence.

What do you choose to wear on a beach holiday?

What are your favourites? What are your tips? I usually wear a classic bandeau bikini and Fold Over Bottom, which I update ever year in a few new prints. I also love a simple white shirt as a cover up, such as the Seville Pink tuck Shirt, which easily takes me from the beach to the restaurant. I keep accessories simple with a few tie bracelets.

Which Summer 2014 holiday trends do you think we should all be considering?

The trends are always great to keep in mind, but I always advise clients to find a style that suits their individual silhouette. Regarding print, the classic navy and white nautical is always a popular trend, as well as the bold solid print and animal prints. These sell well each year and so we keep these trends fresh with new design twists each year.

Many find smart packing a challenge, particularly for a beach holiday. If we only want to take one suitcase, but have perfect outfits for two weeks, what are your tips?

Pack a couple of mix and match bikinis as well as a reversible bikini, to give you a selection of styles to choose from to keep the look fresh. Roll up at least three lightweight cover-ups in different lengths, from a knee length kaftan to a longer Maxi Dress, and pack them inside your summer hat to keep the shape during the flight. Also, pack a pair of gorgeous, comfortable flat sandals that can transform from day to night. You can easily pack for two weeks in one suitcase if you keep it simple, yet chic.

I know you are already a Winser London shopper - if you were to select three pieces for your holiday, what would you choose - and why?

I wear a Silk Cashmere Waterfall Cardigan that’s become a go-to favourite in my wardrobe. I also have a pair of white Cotton Side Zip Capri Trousers which I update with various tops during the summer. And I have my eye on the Grace Dress … a classic Winser London dress that’s chic and elegant from day to night.

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