Redefining Retail: Onia Swimwear

Onia is a luxury swim and ready-to-wear apparel company started in 2009 by Carl Cunow and Nathan Romano (pictured right). With Carl formally of Steven Alan and Nathan formally of New Balance and Ed Hardy, they were presented with the unique opportunity and expertise to put Onia on the map.

Onia began as strictly high-end men's swimwear until 2015 when they expanded and began to carry women's swimwear and ready-wear styles as well. Since then, their women's line has become nearly 50% of their Ecommerce business and they have seen mark-able growth over the last year, which is not something that most apparel companies are touting these days. 

I begin working at Onia as a Marketing and Ecommerce Associate in just under a month, so naturally I have been doing my research. With companies like Pac Sun and Victoria's Secret looking down the barrel of bankruptcy, I had to know how Onia is seeing the success that seems to be evading their lower-end competition. From my perspective, here are the 3 tactics that Onia is using in order to stay relevant and continue to grow:


Born and bred online, Onia breathes new life into the retail industry. 


Luxury = Longevity 

As a college student, my bank account has effectively been in the negatives for the last four years, but soon I will be a young professional who no longer has to shop the sale rack (hopefully). When that day comes I will be more than happy to spend the money to receive quality products and I am not alone. It is not a coincidence that high end retailers such as Saks, Bloomingdales and Barney's don't often see the sort of losses that low or middle end retailers do. This is because just as McDonald's is recession proof, so are luxury goods. High end shoppers are often loyalists and will continue to buy the same brands for as long they find the styles enticing. High end clothing companies also usually have a few off-shoot brands that sell for less, without saturating the brand.

With that being said...


Luxury doesn't always break the bank

Onia is known for the $200 swimsuits sold on their site, but what many people don't know is that you can purchase one of the brands under Onia's umbrella, Trunks, for a fraction of the price. Trucks is sold wholesale to retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Amazon and Urban Outfitters for around $50 a pair. Trunks is a men's swimwear label and has a volume of about 20% more than Onia, bringing in the day to day revenue that their more expensive products don't. In addition to Trunks, Onia also designs and manufactures swimsuits that are sold under several of their partners brand name including but not limited to the retailers listed above. High volume and low price is a great way to attract customers who can't afford certain pricey items but aren't willing to skip out on quality.


Partners in Crime

Onia has a long list of retail partners who have helped this start up become a force to be reckoned with. Some partners are no-brainers such as Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, MR Porter and Theory but some of their most interesting partners are the ones you'd never expect like Ritz-Carlton and UBER?!

Onia and The Ritz have a long standing relationship built off the strong foundation of beach towels. Every room has an embroidered Ritz-Carlton towel made with the same high quality products that go into all of Onia's apparel.

Their most unique partnership was with UberRUSH during previous summer seasons. UberRUSH is a same day delivery service available in select cities. Although this service is no longer offered it allowed Onia to push their Ecommerce presence that much further by being there for customers before they boarded the Jitney sans swim trucks.


Be sure to check out Onia's new Spring 2016 line at!