Updated: Aug 24, 2019
By STEPHANIE SAWAKED
The fine print of the American dream states that ideally, everyone wants to be their own boss.
Anya Jones, 2016 alumni, has launched two Los Angeles businesses – Jovita Swim, a body-positive swimwear and Jovi Drive, an accessories line. Anya shared her business passion in a question and answer interview with The Carolinian.
Jovita Swim: to provide high quality swimsuits that women of all shapes and sizes can feel hot in. “Everybody is a beach body.”
Jovi Drive: to create luxury accessories that are available at low price points, “chic for cheap”.
Question. What was your inspiration for the Jovita Swim line?
Answer: I love swimsuits. I would wear a swimsuit everyday if it were appropriate. Creating a swimwear line felt like something I was meant to do. I’m not a skinny girl, not a tall girl but it feels good to me to be in a bikini.
I wanted to transfer that feeling to other women in a way. My goal is for them to realize they don’t need to lose weight or get surgically reshaped to look and feel good in a swimsuit. To that point, I only stock suits that make me feel hot when I put them on, ones that make me want to dance.
You know clothes that you feel so good in, you just have to shimmy a little? Give your booty a slight shake? I want women to feel that way when they put on a suit from Jovita Swim.
I hired my best friend as a model and didn’t Photoshop her body at all. The pictures are color corrected but her body on the website is as God made it, perfectly imperfect. I also modeled for the website, again no Photoshop. When I said, “everybody is a beach body” I meant it and I wanted other women to see that I meant it as well. Rolls, cellulite, stretch marks? All good in the Jovita Swim hood.
Q: What was your inspiration for the Jovi Drive line?
A: Like my swimwear line, my accessories line was derived from a pre-existing love. I’m never without my jewelry. I feel completely undone without at least earrings and a bracelet of some kind on.
My mom is the same way and passed her accessories adoration down to me.
Getting my first high-end accessory, a pearl necklace from Tiffany & Co., was a life changing moment for me. It was, and remains, so precious to me. I feel so glamorous when I wear it and that’s exactly the point.
Jewelers like Cartier, Tiffany’s, David Yurman and Chopard create stunningly beautiful pieces that make you feel like the belle of the ball. However, most people could only ever dream of owning anything from any of those shops. After all, diamonds are a girl’s best friend, not a bank account’s.
I wanted to offer young women a way to get the look for less. Jovi Drive offers top quality simulated diamond earrings and bracelets at affordable prices. I’ve expanded the brand over time to include handbags and necklaces. I’m rolling out outerwear and rings.
Q: What was the process of getting a business started?
Jovita Swim: Jovita Swim is the first business I started. I’ll be honest, it was hard and I made a lot of mistakes. Originally I was drop shipping my merchandise, which wasn’t very successful, even my family was iffy about buying from me.
I used stock images that made my site look disorganized and untrustworthy. I also wasn’t communicating my brand’s mission very well. I ended up scrubbing my entire site and starting over. I purchased swimsuits wholesale, my best friend and I modeled for the website and I took the time to explain the brand vision on Jovita Swim’s website and corresponding social media accounts. I also started advertising.
Jovi Drive: Jovi Drive was a much more painless set up and start. I took the lessons I learned with Jovita Swim and directly applied them. Jovita Swim being already established allowed me to have more money to work with and invest.
Q. How much did you take away from what you learned during your time at Upstate?
A: At Upstate I majored in Communications with a focus on Public Relations. Learning the legalities of advertising correctly and truthfully, the impact of social media marketing, how to manage crises quickly and efficiently and developing networking skills has been a tremendous help to not only my business but my life in general. For example, I ran SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analyses on both of my businesses that led to successful marketing campaigns.
Q, What is your goal for your business?
Jovita Swim to grow to a global scale and to be apart of conversations centered on female empowerment and entrepreneurship as well as body autonomy. Jovi Drive is to be a go-to brand for girls with high standards and low budgets.
• Check out Anya’s line on Instagram at @JovitaSwim for swimwear and @JoviDrive for her accessories. A discount is available for Upstate students. For JovitaSwim.com: 50 percent off. For JoviDrive.com: buy one, get one (of the same value or less) for free. Use code UPSTATE.