Q&A With Our Founder Lauren Browning

Q&A With Our Founder Lauren Browning

Enjoy this Q&A with our founder, Lauren!

If someone had never been to Sea Island, how would you tell them to spend a day?

First, I’d get up and walk to the beach. You can see dolphins between 9:30-10am, which is a really great way to start the day. There is a lot of conservation land that’s worth checking out, like the sea turtle nests that they mark every year to guide them into the water. I actually saw a bald eagle there once too! There’s an easily accessible bike path that makes it easy to bike into town for breakfast. I’d start with a donut or biscuit at Dulce Dough, then go to the beach club for the day. They have pools and a beach, so I’d start with the beach in the morning and head to the pool in the afternoon. There’s also a bunch of activities, like shuffleboard, which can be a fun way to break up the day. When I’m in Sea Island, I just like to relax. For dinner, you can stay on the island and eat at St Simons or check out Nats, which has live music on the weekends. If you’re looking for an adventure, I’d check out Southern Soul barbecue. It looks like a gas station and has some of the best barbecue in the world. There are a lot of traditions baked into the community – like bingo on Thursday nights and line dancing after. It’s really special. 


How would you describe the overall vibe of Sea Island?

It’s definitely a vacation state of mind. Some people live there year round but there’s actually only one resort on the island itself. It’s country, southern living. I never realize how stressed I am until I go there to unplug. It’s just a relaxed, vacation state of mind


What does your perfect day in Sea Island look like?

Sea Island is part of the Golden Isle. There’s a lot to do like Jekyll Island, which is a gorgeous beach full of driftwood. There are a ton of options for playing golf, pickleball, and tennis. It’s very easy to rent a bike, so I’d definitely spend some time riding a bike looking at the different cottages and exploring the different islands. There’s a nature center in downtown Sea Island that has an incredible marine life program focused on rehabilitating animals before putting them back in the water. After a full day, I’d cook dinner at home at watch the sunset. 


How would you describe Sea Island to somewhere who had never been there?

It’s the best place to find island time in the United States.


What is your favorite memory from Sea Island?

I grew up going to Sea Island during April break ever since I was two years old. We spent the pandemic there with my Mom, and made the best memories with my Dad. I started this company as a tribute to my father, and that’s where I feel him most. My favorite memories with my family were spent there. We were all so happy there.


Why did you decide to start the Ricki Beach club?

Growing up, I was very academically-motivated. I got good grades at school, I was a student class officer, and was really involved on campus. When I entered the real world, I didn’t feel inspired by my work. I felt like I wasn’t good at anything, despite my overachieving mentality. 

After I lost my Dad, everything changed. It made me realize life is too short to do something you like and it’s too long to do something you don’t love. Then, when I was 24 years old, I came up with the idea to make better swimwear. I realized how much this industry needed to change. 


I built this company slowly and intentionally over the past 8 years to get to where we are today. It took three years to drop our first line, which we launched with a Kickstarter. Over the past 5 years, it has quickly evolved from a side hustle. I decided to go to business school to expand my network and pursue the business full-time.


Over the past year, I decided to shift from Ricki Rum to Ricki Beach Club and work with creative partners to launch bespoke collections. We wanted to tell other people’s stories and celebrate beach communities that shape us. I built this supply chain operation in four different countries with women that have a story to share. It’s a different kind of brand partnership that’s way more authentic – we’re so excited to bring these collections to their communities.


What sources did you draw inspiration from to design the core collection?

I wanted to explore colors and prints that I hadn’t done in the past. We haven’t done a lot of green and I worked with a graphic designer on the beautiful trellis print that reminded me of Sea Island. Green is also my Dad’s favorite color, so it feels like an homage to him too. We also chose a beautiful lilac color that I’m really excited about. We wanted to keep the collection tight and celebrate the entire family. The blue rose garden print comes in womens, mens, and kids, so everyone can match. We’re also adding beachwear this season, so we’ll have a full look. 


What are you expecting to come out of this year/what are you looking forward to?

I’m sitting on the edge of my seat to see how this season goes. I love throwing parties, so I can’t wait for the events. I’m also really looking forward to getting feedback from our community, so we can continue to grow and be even better next year. More than anything, I hope people feel confident in these looks. I’m so excited for what’s to come.


How do you hope that people describe the core collection in terms of style?

We have some classic pieces like a white and black suit that’s an easy summer go-to. I’ve always gotten feedback on our prints, which we design to be truly original. I hope people look forward to wearing swimwear – and feel truly confident in our looks.