On a recent French and Italian Riviera cruise aboard Celebrity’s new Beyond, I found myself in the women’s spa locker room admiring a fellow traveler’s pretty fabric bag that she had tucked under her arm. The coral pattern had caught my eye, and so my fellow traveler, also named “Mary,” as I soon discovered, happily showed me her bag.
A Wander Wet bag, it featured a waterproof lining and a zip top, and was designed to carry one’s wet bathing suit or gym clothes. On this particular spa day, Mary had filled it with toiletries and other sundries. Now that’s a clever creation, I thought—and perfect for spa-goers who like to soak and swim and more often than not do not know what to do with their wet swimsuits post-spa. (Who wants to carry around a plastic bag?)
As it so happened, Mary knew Eileen, the creator of this stylish, and more importantly, brilliantly practical bag. Once home, a call was in order.
“I decided to create my own super cute wet swimsuit bag that would be beautiful, reusable, reliable, and, most importantly, would make me smile every time I used it,” shared founder Eileen Zimmerman, shown here holding her pineapple design. “The most popular designs are coral, seahorses, pineapples, and palm fronds.” Eileen is from a beach town in Southern California, and came up with her creation back in 2015. At the time, she was in a transitional stage in her life and had decided to leave a tech start-up to spend more time with her children, then three and five. Eileen thought she’d do a little marketing and consulting—but that simply wasn’t in the stars.
The perfect bag for spa-goers who like to soak and swim and more often than not do not know what to do with their wet swimsuits post-spa . . .
“The summer before I left my job, I had made myself a bag,” she explained to me. “I hadn’t sewn since seventh grade, so I went to Joann Fabrics and found a vintage print of seashells that was so pretty. It was peach and mint green.” She asked the sales rep for waterproof fabric, and the rest is history. “It wasn’t well-sewn, but I did the best I could do with my seventh-grade skills,” she reminisces. She was so proud of her bag that she took it to work and showed her girlfriends. One of them suggested she set up an Etsy shop.
Soon after she resigned, her sister-in-law asked Eileen to sew her a bag, and then another friend saw it and requested one. It wasn’t long, Eileen shared, before “I went downtown and started cold-calling the surf shops.” One of those shops placed an order for 10—and Wander Wet bags was off and running. “I put together a business plan, found a manufacturer, and so here we are,” she cheerfully states.
Today, there are 15 different patterns to choose from and six different collections, including the Resort Collection, the Coastal Collection, and the new Minimalist Collection. The standard size is a handy medium, measuring 10 inches by 12 inches, and Eileen tells me she will soon be reintroducing a hotel-laundry-size bag. Keep an eye out.
Mary Bemis is Founder & Editorial Director of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com. She is a pioneering spa journalist, most recently honored as one of the "Top 30 Influential Voices Transforming Wellness." She is an inaugural recipient of Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and was honored by ISPA with its distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She is a Global Wellness Day Advisor, and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.
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