2021 is a year of comebacks. Few businesses saw bigger extremes between last year and this year than the ones that deal in summer and vacations.
What makes for a perfect summer vacation? Is it the saltwater breezes? Stretching out under palm trees and summer sun? Whatever it is, the closest most of us came to it in 2020 was in our old vacation pictures.
The pandemic brought a tough year for those who love to travel and an even tougher year for those whose whole livelihood is based around vacations.
Terilynn McQuiston is a one-woman show, a swimsuit creator propelled to do this from fandom of a certain brash feminist anthem-singing pop icon frontwoman and recent newlywed.
“I’m inspired by Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, everything SoCal,” McQuiston smiled. “She’s bold. She’s unapologetic. She’s a mom too. I’m just a girl in Nashville, so I decided to make something everyone looks good in.”
Handling it all with a sewing machine in her room, living the simple kind of life, McQuiston’s brand is even named after a track on No Doubt’s fifth album.
“Hella TL!” McQuiston said, naming her brand. “It’s a play on No Doubt’s song Hella Good. I can’t see myself not doing this. I guess you could say it’s a dream.”
When people started canceling their 2020 plans for a sweet escape, there came a hard year for this swimsuit designer.
“2020 was pretty scary,” she said. “Nobody was traveling.”
In fact, according to market research company The NPD Group, the travel accessories market nationally took a $1.8 billion loss in 2020.
“I had been working as a pattern maker for a major corporation,” said McQuiston. “They had a mass layoff, and I was one of the casualties.”
So, like a certain famous frontwoman, McQuiston went solo, focusing all her time on her own brand.
“I kept thinking in the back of my head, it’s gonna get better,” she said.
And it did.
2021 is seeing a surge in people packing up their vacation ware, with the NPD Group reporting luggage sales back to 80% of their 2019 levels. As vaccinations got underway, spending on airlines, hotels, and online travel agencies leaped up 90% between just February and March of this year. The best news belongs to McQuiston. Swimsuit sales are up 185% nationally compared to last year. They’re even up 32% over 2019.
“I have more than tripled my sales from 2020,” she said. “People are starting to get out. They’ve been vaccinated. There is nothing like having that feeling of, ‘I can do this. I can make this work.’”
McQuiston said 2020 brought lessons. Don’t speak negativity. There will be a way to reinvent and return. No doubt.