An American Made Success Story: Racysuits

We love seeing American Made blossom, and it’s all thanks to the strength of relationships between factories and brands. This week we sat down with Marina Barnes to hear how she is using Maker’s Row to launch her business.

The Beginning Of Racysuits

Racysuits is a New York City-based clothing company offering premium bodysuits and catsuits fitting for sports or leisure.  Marina Barnes, the founder, was inspired to create the young company after rediscovering the fashion of her grandfather.  In the 1980’s, Marina’s grandfather Bob Bernard was a professional ski-racer who became fascinated by the work of Norma Lausmann.  Norma Lausmann handcrafted flashy body suits, and Bob was determined to have one of her signature suits.  

ski

In 2009, Marina started wearing the bodysuits again at festivals and other events.  The responses and reactions that she received convinced her that “there was something more” and these have to get to more people.  She started small, “I ordered a sewing machine on Amazon, getting old samples from Norma shipped to me and trying to hire someone to come to my house to sew the samples. But my tech job was the main daily focus and everything was happening at a glacial pace. I decided to save for a few months and I switched to full-time Racysuits in June 2015.” So in September 2015 Racysuits launched its website. Ready to offer quality body suits.

Getting Connected with Maker’s Row

Once Marina was ready to take on Racysuits full-time she hired a technical designer to help her with grading, sampling, and pattern-making.  She said she “got lucky” because she was able to find someone who could do all those things without using any references.  Once samples and prototypes were done, Marina was ready to take it to the next level and manufacture her first small batch of bodysuits.  

In August 2015, while attending a General Assembly class on e-commerce product to concept, she became very overwhelmed by researching factories. She describes her frustration as “google search was too broad and I didn’t know if I could trust those companies.” So she reached out to her General Assembly instructor, Chad Rubin, who recommended Maker’s Row.

Working With American Spandex 

AmericanSpandexSmall

After reaching out to a few factories, Marina decided to partner with American Spandex to produce her small batch.  While visiting American Spandex in Long Island, Marina met with Raymond Mora.  When asked why she chose that factory, Marina said “You just go with your gut.  Raymond spent 2.5 hours with me and gave me a lot of direction.  I can call him and he picks up. I can text him. That played a big role in my decision.”

Working with experienced makers made the process enjoyable and comforting.  To provide warmth, bodysuits require thick layers of fabric.  Raymond was able to give his expertise advise on efficient ways to produce the product.  Marina really appreciated Raymond’s partnership in the development of the product because “each order involves a lot of fabric and quality is worth it.”

Looking Ahead

racysuitssurfCurrently, Racysuits can be spotted at the latest ski and surf events.  Marina shares “Now that I am giving it my full attention we are picking up momentum. Also, I love running Racysuits, it is incredibly rewarding to spend all your time doing something you love!”  Marina is looking forward to her first order being completed and ready for Spring Launch. As the company continues to grow, Marina said she will continue to look for experienced professionals on Maker’s Row because “you’re never done finding the perfect fabric. There is always room for improvement.”

When asked what she loves about Maker’s Row, Marina highlighted the online community. “Coming from a corporate ad tech background and transitioning to small business/e-commerce, I realized I needed online resources the most.  I love that I can be very scrappy, and living in NYC I can even walk into the garment district alone….There is a lot of information about how to start a business, and what to look out for.   A year ago I didn’t think that was possible.”  Marina suggests Maker’s Row for not only finding a factory, but also for being a part of a strong community that inspires and equips aspiring entrepreneur to take the leap and start their business.

racysuitsmidbodCheck out the fun and funky Racysuits for more!


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#IAmAmericanMade:

  • Emmaly Knecht

    So amazing, to not only revive an old school style and make it cool again but to just take the leap and say, “yah im going to make this work.” Its always nice to hear that when you yourself are starting an ecommerce site.

    http://www.ebatotes.com

    • Marina Corinne

      Thanks Emmaly! How is your production going? Your bags look fantastic!

      • Emmaly Knecht

        They will be in production hopefully in a couple of weeks, scary but exciting. Production has a lot of moving parts for me. You have to order zippers here for a custom size, i have to have the hang tags made by another company its a lot!! But it will be worth it in the end. Has it been the same for you?

        • Marina Corinne

          Yes, I source everything from different places and ship to the production facility. I am about 3 weeks in to my first big order so it is definitely a little scary. I just check in with them often and ask for photos along the way. Good luck!

          • Emmaly Knecht

            Glad its a least moving along!! I am curious to see how everything goes with production. Honestly the funding has me holding my breath right now. But i just keep handing out my business cards haha. Thinking, “damnit i will make this happen.”

          • Marina Corinne

            If you are in NYC we should grab coffee some time and trade production stories! Always good to see how other new brands are doing it!

          • http://www.ebatotes.com Emmaly Knecht

            Im in Santa Barbara CA! Bummer. But their is always email :) hello@ebatotes.com

  • http://www.carladawnbehrlenyc.com/ CDB

    Love this whole story, the product origins and and revival adventure – all wonderful-keep up the good work!

    • Marina Corinne

      Thanks CDB!! It has been so much fun to bring the suits back to life!