Austin Native Launches Sustainable Swimsuit Brand HANX SWIM
Bryn Recker is a former Division I athlete on a mission to give fellow lake lovers an environmentally-friendly swimwear option
By Kaitlyn Harmon
Photos courtesy of HANX SWIM
After growing up on Lake Austin, Bryn Recker left the Lone Star state and headed northeast to play NCAA Division I volleyball at James Madison University. Although Virginia is a state known for its intense winters, Recker didn’t just pack up her winter coats — she packed swimsuits as well.
“I always found myself buying swimsuits in the middle of the winter,” says Recker. “And I saw that there was clearly still a demand [for swimsuits] outside of just the lower southern states.”
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Two years after putting on her knee pads for the last time, Recker would find a way to channel this love of swimwear and respect for her fellow competitors into her sustainable swimwear brand, HANX SWIM.
Founded in 2021, HANX SWIM was initially developed for athletes, but since its launch, the brand has adapted to catering to the everyday girl. The company believes in providing products — specifically swimwear for now — for all women.
Recker has put her full effort and personal sincerity into the business. The brand’s name is derived from a tradition of her parents, who would text one another “HANX,” their own acronym for “hugs and kisses.” Recker even hired her own friends and fellow former athletes to model the suits for her website, with each “swimmy” shown on models in natural settings like playing by the pool, swimming and laughing.
Another aspect of the business that was personally important to Recker was sustainability. She sought counsel from fellow entrepreneurs who ultimately advised her against pursuing a sustainability model. Sustainable products are more expensive to produce thanks to pricier materials, making it a riskier investment when starting a brand. Despite this, Recker stuck to her gut. With a birthday on Earth Day, caring for the planet has always come naturally to her.
“It was really important to me that I was starting a business that also coincided with my personal beliefs,” notes the Austin native. “I decided I was going to take the risk and maybe not have as many products to offer, but make them from quality, sustainable materials.”
HANX SWIM first launched on Earth Day 2021 to commemorate this commitment to sustainability. Launch day was a long time coming for Recker, and starting a business was not as easy as she first thought.
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To make her entrepreneurial dreams come true, Recker dove into research, learning the ins and outs of the materials that would eventually comprise her swimsuits. Recker landed on a formula of 78% recycled polyamide and 22% elastane. With branding built on the foundation of movement, Recker’s swimsuits feel similar to spandex, a material that is crucial to a volleyball player’s uniform. This material allows the swimsuits to mold to each woman’s body, something that Recker says was always intentional in the design.
In addition to the suits’ materials, the poly mailers each product is mailed in are made from 100% recycled material and each poly bag the swimsuits sit in are biodegradable, compostable and contain no petrochemicals. In other words, each swimsuit is made from fully-recycled ocean waste, and Recker’s goal is to reduce her carbon footprint with every aspect of her swimsuit.
With four tops and four bottoms on HANX SWIM’s website named after her former teammates, Recker has found a way to pay tribute to her volleyball career. The pieces –– the Taylor Top, the Kelly Top and the Tilbe Bottoms, among others –– create a personal, community-focused feel. With a second collection tentatively coming in early 2023, Recker plans to continue naming her swimsuits after her college teammates.
“Obviously, I had a finite number of teammates, so as I make more swimsuits for men and women, I just hope to name them after people that have been influential in my life,” says Recker.
The entrepreneur recently wrapped up her 2022 collection with the launch of the high-waisted Rhys Bottoms, named after her younger sister. With an upcoming 2023 second collection launch, Recker doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. The founder hopes to expand her swimsuit designs into a men’s line and has aspirations to make HANX SWIM an everyday outdoor brand like Tyler’s or Billabong, all while keeping her sustainability model intact.
“I want to be a proud partner of that movement,” she says.
Recker wants her products to be easy-to-wear options that go beyond trends and work for all women.
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“HANX SWIM is your no-brainer, simple basic that you can wear in front of your boyfriend’s parents on the boat or with your family,” describes Recker. “It’s simple, everyday swimwear that comes from being an athlete and getting in a routine and not needing to keep up with the same trends throughout the year.”
Recker’s pride in her brand is evident as she builds the Austin-based swimsuit company from the ground up. With her mission to serve all body types and a personal and professional commitment to sustainability, Recker is confident in the lasting impact of HANX SWIM.
“[HANX SWIM] is something that will always be in style.”