Designing with inclusivity in mind.
Donna Benton, successful entrepreneur and Founder of swim and resort wear brand in Dubai, Caha Capo, shares with us her inspiration behind creating an inclusive, affordable and sustainable swimwear brand that caters to a variety of shapes and sizes.
About Caha Capo
CAHA CAPO was founded by Australian-born Donna Benton, who followed a life-long dream of establishing her own swimwear brand. Inspired by beautiful beaches and her love for travel, CAHA CAPO was born.
The name CAHA CAPO expresses our desire of how the brand should make our customers feel. CAHA CAPO stands for CAring, HAppy, CAsual and POsitive, all virtues that have provided the foundations of our company culture and what we represent.
Designed by an internationally renowned team, our statement pieces are composed of high-quality Italian fabrics, selected sustainable materials in a variety of colours. From swimwear to accessories, our collection embodies a wide range of stylish bikinis, sold as separates, one-piece swimsuits, resortwear and board shorts with free global delivery and free returns. Our design team has surpassed themselves to create a selection that entails our underlying idea of fit, fabric and fun, in order to offer the perfect swimwear for everyone.
1. How did you start your brand?
Growing up on the beach, I realized that there was a gap in the market for swimwear that offers women, men and children variety and options without compromising on quality and fit. I used my experience to create a unique brand unlike anything else that is available on the market. A brand that can easily fit into people’s lifestyle and that makes them feel positive and confident about themselves, all at affordable prices using the best quality materials.
2. What are the inspirations you draw from?
Inspiration is all around; you just need to seize it. While I love to inspire others by showing them what they are capable of doing, for Caha Capo I draw my inspiration from the most stunning beach destinations, and seeing people wear our products.
3. Since Covid-19 has put a strain on travel in and out of UAE, how has this affected your swimwear business?
Covid has affected most businesses around the world, however we launched our online platform in September, followed by the opening of our flagship store in December. Leaders need to make decisions with long-term objectives in mind and we are all forced to rethink and reevaluate our business models. With the country starting to reopen and considering the beautiful weather in Dubai swimwear sales are on the rise.
4. What are the most important factors in creating a successful swimwear brand versus other categories like athleisure, fashion etc.? What’s unique about it?
For Caha Capo, it’s all about the Fit, Fabric and Fun! The name of the brand stands for CAring, HAppy, CAsual, POsitive, and lives and breathes these four core values. The swimwear is designed to offer a plethora of options for the entire family, making sure that each person feels happy and positive about themselves.
Featuring high end Italian fabrics, our products also are tailored for inclusivity with sizing 6 to 18. With premium quality, we are still affordable, therefore we serve a niche market. Our bikini range showcases an essential collection that we call separates. So, if you are a size 12 top and 10 bottom, you can swap tops and bottoms to match and you can also pick and choose different colours, style and sizes. We also offer an array of colors and prints, with 11 different colors in our essential range. To add to the swimwear itself, we also have a resort wear collection that comprises stunning but also multifunctional pieces for everyone. My approach was not only to design versatile and elegant outerwear, but styles that can take women from a day at the beach or pool all the way to dinner.
"Inspiration is all around, you just need to seize it."
5. What’s your opinion about shifting to online shopping when it comes to swimwear – will this be the popular mode of shopping even after the pandemic? Why or why not?
We saw excellent results when launching our e-commerce platform, as our customers were at home and seeking something for the new season or simply dwelling on the hope of potential traveling. However, having a store is equally important, as fit and cut must be spot on.
6. You mention sustainability as part of your brand DNA – how do you incorporate this into your brand?
Sustainability is an important aspect in swimwear fashion, as the item has to resist sun, chlorine and salt water. We are constantly striving towards eco-friendly swimwear lines and we have started to adopt the use of recycled materials within our products, such as the use of sustainable fabrics made from 78% recycled polyester in one of the colours within our range.
7. Tell us about your background before you established Caha Capo and the career shift you have taken?
I came to Dubai in 2000, where I identified a market need for both providing consumers with dining incentives, and enabling restaurants to reach new customers – so the Entertainer was born, providing “buy one get one free” offers to the best restaurants, cafes, night spots and attractions. Word of mouth from delighted customers drove strong book sales and I grew the business into different countries using the same model, while also expanding other product lines to include spas, beauty and hotel accommodation. Consequently, the award-winning Entertainer App was launched in 2013, and transitioned from a print publication to a data-driven technology firm. Under my management the ENTERTAINER contributed US$1.3 billion to the economy and experienced 25 to 30 per cent profit growth each year.
8. How has your experience been setting up shop in Dubai?
Dubai is one of the best places in the world to start any business, because we benefit from great recourses for government services. It was very easy to collaborate with Majid Al Futtaim Group and I was excited about opening a store in Mall of the Emirates.
9. What would you say to graduates that are finding it difficult to gain experience or start their career during the pandemic?
As Michelle Obama once stated, you should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it is important to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages. So, you must not blame the pandemic, but need to plan how to respond to the challenges going forward by keeping your vision in mind.
10. Are you taking interns?
We have had wonderful young interns and I am happy to take interns on board should the opportunity arise in one of our businesses.
About the Editor
Having grown up in Sweden and later moving to the UK, Saja is deeply motivated by emerging social and political concerns around sustainability. Saja currently works as a freelance writer and recently published articles at Eco-Age that explores if sustainability has become a westernized concept.
Saja is currently working as a freelance journalist writing about the intersection of sustainability, fashion and social justice and recently being selected for the FashMash Young Pioneers program, recognized to drive positive change in the industry.