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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Former Semi-professional Soccer Player Cofounds Sport, Swimwear Line Catering to Black Women

Summer is in full swing. The time has come for soaking up a little sun outdoors while exercising, stepping in sand on the beach during a getaway, or showing up for a pool party while taking a much-deserved social break from isolation early in the pandemic. Tiffany King, a Northern Virginia resident, taught herself how to sew and make patterns a few years before the world shut down. She took a plunge into entrepreneurship with her husband, Patrick King, by founding Regalia Swim in 2018 and RGN Sport in 2020, to help Black women feel and look stylish on and off the beach.

“Swimwear was where we started to understand the process of creating garments and working with stretch fabric. Patrick (my now husband) gifted me with a sewing machine. I started sewing and making patterns in 2017, knowing the goal was to build the knowledge to start RGN Sport,” Tiffany said. “Plus, we love to travel and creating unique collections with an African influence that are limited has been a passion that is received well.”

Patrick King and Tiffany King are married entrepreneurs from Northern Virginia. They cofounded two brands—Regalia Swim and RGN Sport— for Black women to accommodate curvy and thicker body types. Collections are sold online. Photo credit: Tiffany King and Patrick King

 By day, Tiffany works as a project manager. However, the athletically talented woman who played Division 1 college soccer at Colorado College, then semi-professional soccer from 2011 to 2013 for the Washington Spirit (formerly DC United Women), did not stop there. She tried her hand at catering to Black women who typically have a range of body types, including curvaceous ones. Tiffany and Patrick  foster inclusive body positivity through their fashions.

Flattering one pieces and bikinis are sold under the Regalia Swim brand. Sport bras; biker shorts; and leggings are sold through RGN Sport. Regalia Swim sizes range from XS to 2XL and fits true to size. RGN Sport’s sizes are available in XS to XXXL. It caters to all body types. Black women in their early twenties to early forties have been the bulk of the King’s customers.

“RGN Sport is made by a Black woman for Black women. So often our needs are overlooked in any and every industry, until we take it upon ourselves to solve our own problems, so that’s what I aimed to do. The problems we face in apparel for having curvier hips, thicker thighs are everywhere,” Tiffany said. “Things almost never fit us the way they fit the model on the website, and I’m setting out to change all of that, not only in having apparel that prevents chafing and riding and provides more support, but also by having various body sizes and skin tones out front and center on our website and in our marketing.”

Although Regalia Swim opened in April of 2018, RGN Sport was being created behind the scenes alongside the opening of the first company.

“From creating designs, our custom prints, testing fabrics, and creating relationships with manufacturers it took over two years to bring RGN Sport to life in 2020,” Tiffany said.

Tiffany wants RGN Sport to be the brand women can embrace exactly as they are without weight loss goals or feeling the need to lose pounds or inches. She strives to reinforce confidence in women who wear the brand.

Patrick, co-founder of RGN Sport and Regalia Swim, mentioned that ensuring that the correct patterns were developed to support the body types that he and his wife wanted “to represent,” and “fostering the needed manufacturing relationships to bring this to life took quite some time to develop” were a few business challenges the couple faced. They persevered. Patrick would currently love to see Nordstrom pick up the brands. Expanding into men’s apparel is another goal.

Creative entrepreneurship has its perks for both Patrick and Tiffany. Patrick likes that he and his wife provide products for women who feel left out while shopping for popular fitness apparel and athleisure brands. When customers purchase products in several colorways, Patrick feels that they are on the right path. Unique prints are custom designs.

“The most rewarding thing about entrepreneurship is seeing people confidently wearing my apparel. We have a number of women who have worn our signature shorts during half marathons and 10-milers,” Tiffany said. “And to see them coming across the finish line with their shorts not riding up, and their pockets full of their race day necessities, (while) beaming with pride has got to be one of the best feelings in the world.”

Visit www.regaliaswim.com and www.rgnsport.com to order swimwear and sport apparel.

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