How a college Facebook friendship turned into a bikini blog that ballooned into 1 million Instagram follows and a multimillion-dollar swimwear line

How a college Facebook friendship turned into a bikini blog that ballooned into 1 million Instagram follows and a multimillion-dollar swimwear line

09/21/2020
  • Devin Brugman has been an entrepreneur since college, when she and best friend Natasha Oakley started "A Bikini A Day," the blog that catapulted their success. They had become friends on Facebook.
  • The blog's success catapulted Brugman and Oakley into a venture a few years later, Monday Swimwear, now a multimillion-dollar brand.
  • Now with an Instagram following that tops 1.3 million, Brugman's business savvy extends far beyond her early days on the social media platform. 
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Devin Brugman's start as an entrepreneur came in college, right when she begun working alongside a new friend, Natasha Oakley, at Oakley's production company in Los Angeles.

Brugman had been living in LA since she moved from her native Hawaii for to attend university, where she studied photography and marketing, and Oakley herself had moved from Australia to the same city. The pair had already become close friends on Facebook, Brugman said, but soon they were inseparable.

"I would assist Natasha on her shoots when I could get breaks from school," she said. "We loved working together and we would even do little shoots of our own in our free time." She said that was how the blog AA Bikini A Day" was born, in 2012.

The blog exponentially grew Brugman's social media following, which became crucial for her career. 

Instagram's impact 

"Starting 'A Bikini A Day' and realizing that we can make money off our passion project was definitely a milestone and a big break in my career," Brugman said, adding that she and Oakley started the blog as something fun, and didn't realize how many people would resonate with the platform.

"We also had very little experience in advertising so being able to offer brands an opportunity to advertise on our platform was never our intention from the onset." Recognizing this, and utilizing the traffic from the blog to work with multiple brands to make a steady income doing was a big step forward, she said.

These days, Brugman has channeled that blog audience into a following of over 1.3 million on her personal Instagram account alone, and along the way she and Oakley cofounded Monday Swimwear, which has grown from a $30,000 loan into a multimillion-dollar brand in less than a decade.

"Instagram is a huge part of my career," she said, adding that the platform has given her the ability to grow her personal brand and her swimwear line with Oakley. "Throughout the years, I've tried to stay true to sharing with my followers brands, tips, and advice that is true to myself and my brand." 

And Instagram has been equally vital to Monday Swimwear's success. "We take pride in sharing inspirational imagery and aesthetics with our followers and collaborating with so many amazing women through Instagram," she said. 

What she's focused on moving forward

An influencer herself, Brugman knows how much strong public relations matter, both for her own personal career and in her role at Monday. 

Now at a stage in her business where she feels fairly certain customers love her brand, she said her focus now is to work with maintaining Monday's image.

Monday has worked hard on customer support, she said, and now over 40% of customers are returning customers. "At this point, we're working on getting our brand loved by celebrities and garnishing and maintaining strong relations with other influencers, creatives, and brands that align with Monday Swimwear."

And having largely taken on the task of maintaining Monday's branding herself, Brugman works consistently with the company's PR team to set defined goals for the year. "When the COVID outbreak first unfolded, we had to immediately cancel travel and restructure our summer plan. This meant virtually connecting with influencers and creatives to build strong relations."

So far, that work has been successful, with Monday being seen on celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner. 

With that in mind, Brugman said she feels lucky to do what she does, and is always looking ahead. "Shifting gears and focusing on growing my brand personally has paid off tremendously, but I'd love to get involved in other ventures down the road," she said, adding that most of her time is invested in Monday Swimwear and her personal brand. 

"I'm so fortunate to say that 2020 has been one of my best years yet for my personal career."

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