We had the good fortune of connecting with Jasmin Suayan-Baykal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jasmin, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
My parents met in Chicago in the 80’s after they both immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines, in search of a better life and more opportunities for their future and their children’s futures. I was born in Chicago but my parents moved us to California when I was a toddler.
My parents are very traditional in regards to Filipino culture (they are all about family, respect, caring for each other and those around you), and that carries into the way that I am today. They both worked multiple jobs with 12 hour shifts to make ends meet, and they really pushed us to work hard, take care of each other, and take advantage of all the opportunities and resources we could find that we otherwise wouldn’t have. They also taught me not to waste resources (food, water, plastics, etc.), which I have carried with me into adulthood.
It was tough sometimes because I wanted to do things they didn’t approve of, like learn to surf, start a business (I have always had a notebook full of ideas!). and travel the world. They thought these things were too risky and wanted me to work in the medical field for stability (which I did, and love it!) but after I got my degree, I used some of the money I saved to pursue these dreams and couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is called Do Good Swimwear (aka Do Good Surf Club on Instagram). I started the business a few years back after a surf trip where we would find so much litter and plastics in the ocean and on the shores, it was unbelievable. I looked into what could be done with recycled plastics and found that it could be made into swimsuit materials, which was exciting because I had always looked for cute, functional surf bikinis but couldn’t find many at the time. (There are so many great sustainable surf bikini brands now, love to see it!) I did a deep dive into starting the business, and there was definitely a steep learning curve, but I got a lot of help and advice from friends.
I believe my business is different from others because it is focused on being inclusive, affordable and sustainable at the same time, and the bigger piece is giving back to the Earth and the community. I had always wanted to buy ecofriendly swimwear but found that the price point was always too expensive for me and most of my friends, so I wanted to create a brand that was more affordable for people. I’ll admit that the profit margin could be much bigger but I want to keep things affordable.
I make a point to be inclusive and like to showcase every day models of all different sizes, shapes, and ethnicities wearing the swimsuits (we get a lot of photos from customers and share them on Instagram or on our website) because I want to spread the message that every body is beautiful, and you don’t need to be a model to rock a bikini.
I also wanted people to also feel good about what they were buying and know they were doing good too, so I partner with organizations that help with environmental causes that help with carbon offsetting, ocean conservation, and social causes that support families and women in need.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a great question, and one of my best friends actually is coming to visit next week so I will just give you guys our itinerary!
We are going to be going on a road trip down the California coast. We are going to go south first and hit some of our favorite surf spots on the way down to San Diego (can’t name all the spots of course!). We will definitely be getting some street style tacos from City Tacos, and grab some beers at Karl Strauss or Coronado. We will camp out at San Elijo for a couple nights so we can hit the surf in the early morning, and hang with friends in the area for dinner. We will definitely have to do a little hike at Annie’s Canyon on our way up, and stop at Guicho’s or Pizza Port on the way up!
We have plans to stay a couple nights in Temecula and do some wine tasting and maybe a girls spa day after all the activities, but if the surf is pumping, we will keep driving the coast and catch more waves before hitting the road back home!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could not have done any of what I’m doing without so many people, but I’ll just name a few people off the top of my head. My husband has been a huge support for me through this whole process. He puts up with all of my crazy ideas and is a good sounding board; he is always honest with me and can tell me when something I design doesn’t look good or if it looks great! He even helps me put the padding into bikini tops and helps me tag stuff, which is super tedious but he claims to enjoy it. LOL
My friends, Mandy and Megan, who always have my back with the business, encourage me to keep going, help me out as my resident photographers/ models, and are my always-down-to-surf friends. And to all my friends and family who support me in all these adventures, THANK YOU.
Megan Youngblood, Sienna Morales, Zia Suarez and Armand Pou, and Ciara Boggs