Source: Carve Designs

Exclusive: Carve Designs Co-Founders Thayer Sylvester and Jennifer Hinton Are 'Totally Dedicated to Making Women Feel Effortlessly Beautiful'

Jun. 21 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Jennifer Hinton and Thayer Sylvester found that there was an "absolute dearth in the market for the provision of board shorts for women."

"At the time, the style was for women to wear board shorts while surfing, and the only brands that actually fit athletic women were male brands. At the same time, we were in our late 20’s and both desperately wanted to strike out on our own to create a business," Sylvester exclusively tells Morning Honey.

From there, the two launched Carve Designs — without much experience at all. "We didn’t know anything about the apparel industry, but had good taste, a prescient vision for the market and intense determination. Combine the two, and you have a co-founded business that is 20 years in the making," Sylvester shares.

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sylvester headshot
Source: Carve Designs

The duo co-founded Carve Designs.

Meanwhile, Hinton, who is also the Creative Director, always "loved clothes and fashion," so it made sense for her to dive into this new job.

"I always loved fabrics, textiles, and prints. I also love being active and to be able to combine all these loves. It was and is a dream — not sure I ever said it out loud exactly like that, but It’s clearly what was meant for me and something I believe I subconsciously always desired," she says.

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Source: Carve Designs

The brand sells shorts, dresses, swimsuits and more.

Now, the brand — which sells swimsuits, shorts, dresses and more — has grown over the years. "What began as a surf apparel company selling rashguards and boardshorts in 2003, has grown into a complete beach lifestyle brand. We are dedicated to providing effortless, feminine clothing that fits real women while keeping us connected to the calm content feeling that inspires us at the beach. Sustainability has always been part of our ethos. As a company that was born at the beach and is endlessly inspired by nature, we believe that the outdoors is not just ours to enjoy, it's ours to care for. Proudly, 95 percent of our line is made from recycled, upcycled and sustainable materials," Sylvester says.

She adds, "I didn’t even know there was a market when we realized no one was serving it. We decided to go surfing in Mexico and literally tried to find clothes to wear and failed. It was super frustrating and during a lull in the waves we joked that we should make clothes for women like us. Eventually, we felt like we would be best at providing our specific niche and we went for it. The rest is history."

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carve lifestyle
Source: Carve Designs

The ladies decided to take a chance and start their company.

Though there's been a lot of wins along the way, there's also been some ups and downs the ladies have had to tackle.

"The most challenging part of the job is navigating huge shifts in our culture: online shopping, social media, stock market crash, COVID, presidents and navigating the climate. We started in 2003, and since then, the shifts in our world have been big and swift. Understanding these shifts can be difficult. We started the company with a website that wasn’t shoppable, we missed the bus on social media and the 2006-08 stock market crash was painful as was COVID. But we are still here. We seem to have grit and knowing that everything is temporary has been something to hold on to. The best part of my job. The people. Hands down the people I have met, have the privilege to work alongside and learn from of makes everything absolutely magic," Hinton says.

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The duo are excited for what the future holds when it comes to Carve Designs. "We are and have been totally dedicated to making women feel effortlessly beautiful. That means they can shop for us and feel confident to find what they want, all the time, whatever the season. I hope we are able to continue to spread this confidence to a larger audience," Sylvester notes. "I am concerned about our ability as a society to keep professional women in the workplace. I hope to able to continue to nurture an environment in which women are supported during their child-rearing years and realize the benefit of staying in the workforce despite the enormous challenges it presents."

carve lifestyle
Source: Carve Designs

The ladies want to uplift others.

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"Goals, I have a few, and number one on the list is to become a circular company where we can close the loop — send in old clothes and swim and recycle them into something new. Second is trying to figure out how to recycle swimsuits; this is proving to be hard but it is definitely top on the list to figure out. The third thing is I love supporting women in the workplace. Internally we have a few things set up for them like business coaching and flexible work environments, but it would be very cool to figure out how to help with childcare, as I think that’s the one place that keeps people at home. It's cheaper to stay home with kids than to hire a sitter or daycare. It’s super expensive in today’s world," Hinton adds.

Ultimately, Hinton, who loves the Elba top, Jacey dress, The Logan One Piece and the Nyla Twill Jumpsuit, hopes she's making others feel good while helping the planet.

"So much inspiration comes from women living at large in the world. From high fashion to stay-at-home moms. I watch and read it all — all the time. My brain literally never stops. I also pay attention to the kids and what they are wearing, how they configure a look to work for them, what they talk about and listen too. Kids are always on the cusp of new stuff. It's really important to see what they are doing and how they are interacting with the world," she says of her designs.

"It’s just fun. It’s challenging to think about how to create for an active woman and then illuminate it. But when work involves working with and for said active women, the work becomes fun and inspiring," she concludes about the perks of the job.


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