Identical twin sisters, Ayca and Zeynep Sadikoglu have taken the swimsuit industry by storm with their line, OYE Swimwear. The premier bathing suit line has garnered a celebrity following including Demi Lovato, Kylie Jenner, and Jennifer Lopez. We sat down with the founders to learn more about OYE and female entrepreneurship!
Where did your passion for swimwear come from?
We grew up in a shipping family, and have been on or near the water from a young age. We thought that a high-end swimwear brand would be the perfect marriage of our family history, connection to the sea, and our love of art and design.
When did you start creating your first pieces and how has your approach and the procedure changed?
We took a trip to India 11 years ago, and came across some beautiful natural stones while we were exploring. Drawn to them immediately, we decided to incorporate them into bikinis for the two of us to wear. Our friends saw them and loved them immediately and wanted us to make them suits, as did friends of friends, and our business started to slowly grow. By chance, the owner of one of the most prestigious department stores in Turkey saw the suits and immediately bought what became OYE Swimwear’s first collection. And, as they say, the rest is history!
Do you split work and if yes, who is responsible for what?
Ayca is responsible for all creative decisions for OYE Swimwear, while Zeynep handles the business side of things.
As role models to women worldwide, what advice can you give young women who want to start their own business?
It is so important for more women to be running their own businesses. Young businesswomen need to realize that while it can take time to be successful at what you really love, keep at it, because to live your passion every day is worth the challenges and hard work. It’s also so important to have a strong support system around you – OYE Swimwear would not be where it is today without the constant love and assistance of our wonderful family and friends.
Where do you get inspiration from? And how do you translate this inspiration into actual pieces?
We are both big movie buffs, and we get always inspired by strong heroines in both modern and classic films. As we are constantly traveling, we are continually inspired anew by the different cultures we experience, and always find ourselves incorporating the vibrant colors, textures, and ideas we discover into OYE.
What was the biggest accomplishment so far? Was there a turning point so far in your career?
We are fortunate enough to be sold in some of the biggest retailers in the United States, which is an honor and definitely signified to us that we have “made it.”
OYE has gained a large celebrity following, and it is always a delight to see such strong, confident women wearing our pieces. It’s always fun seeing how they style OYE to fit their own personal aesthetic.
How has your life changed since you are not following a “normal” career path? Do entrepreneurs still have a private life besides business?
For us, our professional and private lives are constantly intertwined. We are always traveling, and while we definitely take some time to explore these beautiful places, most of the time we are on our laptops working. For Ayca, there are two months out of the year where she is based out of our atelier in Istanbul working with our team to design the new collection, reviewing prototypes and making sure everything is perfect.
We are lucky that we can work from anywhere as long as we have our laptops available and a good WiFi connection. We love our nomadic lives – it never gets old!
The brand is Istanbul-based? Do you aim to expand or redefine the spot for your headquarters? What about New York?
Our atelier is in Istanbul. We are very close with our team there – many of them have been with us since we started the business a decade ago, and it’s like a family when we are together. We pride ourselves on the impeccable quality of OYE Swimwear, which is in part due to our seamstresses who work tirelessly to make sure everything is perfect.
As mentioned before, we travel a lot, and besides our atelier, HQ is anywhere we are with our laptops – from London to New York to Mykonos.
Are there any aspirations and projects for the nearer future that you can share with us? What’s next?
We have some exciting collaborations coming up – Ayca is currently working on an exclusive collection of cover-up with Harrods, as well as a collection with Neiman Marcus. Other than that, we are excited to continue on this journey – we can’t wait to see where OYE takes us next!
At BELLA we believe that Beauty is Defined by You! How do you define beauty?
A woman is beautiful when she is comfortable with who she is and confident in her own skin.
By Alissa Zarrabi