This Young Entrepreneur Is Making Swimsuit Shopping Actually Fun
Shopping for a new swimsuit is usually the worst. But it doesn’t have to be, thanks to Andie. This rad new brand eliminates all the horrible things about swimwear shopping (unflattering dressing rooms, pushy salespeople, general self-consciousness, etc.) by delivering a curated collection of one-piece suits straight to you. You try them on at home, then only pay for the styles you keep. Genius, right? Founder and CEO Melanie Travis is disrupting the swimwear biz with a female-first ethos, one cute swimsuit at a time. Learn how she’s doing it below—then head to Andie to snag a suit for yourself.
What were you like as a teen?
I was an energetic only child with a love of pop music, team sports, and the latest '90s fashions (remember Limited Too?). In the long hours I spent alone after school, I wrote books (bad), made home movies (slightly better), and taught myself how to play basketball (pretty good, actually…I eventually played in the NCAA). My mom encouraged my creativity and experimentation. We moved to the U.S. from Paris after I was born, so she didn’t know or understand American social norms and had no expectations for my education or professional pursuits. It was a liberated childhood.
As an adult, what do you wish you could tell your teenage self now?
I would tell myself to stay weird—even though I guess I did. All of the things that I would get made fun of for are the things that make me a great leader and entrepreneur today. I would also tell myself that gay marriage would actually become legal and that I would be happily married. I probably wouldn't believe myself, though.
How exactly did you get to where you are now, professionally?
I lived in Vienna, Austria, for a few years after college, making experimental films. I thought I wanted to be a filmmaker, so I eventually enrolled in the MFA program for Film Directing at Cal Arts. While I had a real knack for conceptualizing an idea, bringing the right people to the table, and bringing a project to life, I preferred to apply that skillset to building brands and businesses rather than works of art. I was working on some terrible reality show on TLC about grown men who still live with their moms when I decided it was time to pivot. I started as an intern at Foursquare on the marketing team, then worked on the brand team at Kickstarter, and eventually led brand experiences at Bark & Co before setting out to start Andie. Building Andie really feels like a marriage of all of my past experiences.
What's one thing you wish had known then that you know now about having a career?
That it can actually really be fun to work! I think I was scared of getting a "real job" for a long time, because I just thought it was going to be death for me. So I traveled the world and lived extremely frugally so I could live life on my terms. But having a job doesn't mean giving up your life. To the contrary, building a career can be incredibly rewarding and liberating. You're putting your stamp on something, whether it's a big corporation or your own startup. And, not to sound shallow, but actually earning a living feels great too.
What work advice do you have for teens or for young people just starting out?
People live a long time, so your career will be long and you shouldn't be afraid to try different things. If you find yourself on the wrong path a few years after starting somewhere, it's OK to start over! By the time you're 35, you'll be much happier if you jumped around to different jobs to find what you love rather than staying with something you don't.