As summer beckons, we’re all ready to dream of tropical vacations and safe, socially distanced outdoor exploration. Created in 2018, King of Redonda is an island-inspired children’s swimwear and lifestyle brand with roots in the Caribbean. Founder Jenesy Claire, now residing in artsy Austin, Texas, combines her illustration, design, and writing gifts to fully bring this adventure-oriented brand to life.
What inspired the name of your brand, King of Redonda? For a time I ran a small boutique hotel in the Caribbean, on an island called Nevis. There was a small uninhabited island just of the shore called Redonda. Legend had it that a little boy used to tell people “Someday, I’m going to be the king of that island.” One day when he grew up, he went to the consulate, and said he was the king, and they granted it to him. then all these people started to come out and say, “No, I am the king of Redonda! No I am the king!” I thought it was so charming and silly. I wrote a story down in my sketch book, and put it away. Ten years later, when starting this company, I found the story again with the sketched image, which is our emblem today.
What sets your swimwear apart from other brands currently on the market?
All of the designs are done by me, and completely original. We also have hidden pockets and snap goggle loops to help carry treasures on adventures!
Would love to learn more about your background in children’s swimwear/fashion, can you tell a bit about your educational, design, and life background? I actually went to school for metal sculpture, then when I graduated worked in hospitality, and was a preschool teacher for a couple years. All the while I was freelance illustrating and writing children’s stories in hopes of one day becoming a children’s book writer and illustrator. All my designs are derived from elements of illustrations I do.
What inspired your spring/summer 2021 collection?
I was inspired by a trip I took with my husband snorkeling in Bali. The reefs and coral were so bright and vibrant, I wanted to stay down there for hours just looking at how incredible it all was.
As Covid-19 has led to more close-to-home activities like backyard pool time, have you seen an increased interest in your swimwear, or perhaps a shift in preferred styles?
Definitely! We live in Austin, so many people have pools and go to watering holes as the season is much longer down here. Our swimwear is meant for active kids and adventurers, with cross backs on the tankinis and one-pieces, quick drying surf shorts with full stretch, and full zip rash guards for sun protection.
What are your current or anticipated bestsellers for this season?
‘The Pearl’ full piece suit with long sleeves has become very popular, 50 UPF and a half zip to easily pull on and off. The Euro short is also very popular since the full stretch fabric allows for the kiddo to grow, as they do so quickly!
Looking ahead, what are your goals for King of Redonda for the rest of 2021 and beyond?
We just released the first in the King of Redonda children’s book series, which I have been working on for over a year. Each book has a fun activity to do at home, like “build your own compass.” I would love to incorporate into events and adventure day camps. I am also working on releasing a winter line of super soft Long Johns, to be worn under snow gear, or just jammies!
You also have a companion book, King of Redonda. Would love to learn more about the inspiration behind creating this book and how it compliments the swimwear.
King of Redonda is an adventure lifestyle brand, where we make fun and functional products for kids to bring on their adventures in the backyard and beyond. The book is the story of our namesake, how he finds the island, and then the friends he meets along the way. The activities are a fun way to bring in safe life skills for such adventures, like how to make a compass, making sun protection out of found items in nature, and how to build a backpack out of sticks.
The suits and rashguards contain UPF, was this an important factor for your swimwear? Definitely! Many kiddos are sensitive to certain creams, or simply don’t like getting lathered every time they get wet. So the more we can help parents alleviate part of the worry, the better!
Any parting thoughts?
We know parents and kids are very aware of the need to reduce our footprint and reuse when possible. We are doing what we can to partake in a circular society: from using a green factory that recycles water, uses solar energy and practices safe labor, producing some styles that are made entirely out of recycled fabric, and finally creating products that are meant to last for generations of kids and many hours in the sun, sand, and sea.
To learn more about King of Redonda, visit www.kingofredonda.com.