Melissa Cricks is founder and CEO of BandaBeau. Made in California, BandaBeau seeks to provide stylish solutions for beach goers. Their most well known product is the towel tamer which secures towels to lounge chairs in the wind. I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Melissa at a fashion networking event.
Q: What inspired you to start BandaBeau?
After moving to LA in 2014, I decided to take a work sabbatical to re-charge the batteries before searching for a new job. During this work break, I spent a lot of time at the beach and pool, which I found so peaceful and relaxing. Except for one incredibly annoying detail – my beach towel never wanted to stay put! It repeatedly would either slide down my lounge chair, or the wind would have it whipping around, often slapping me in the face while I was trying to read or nap.
I found myself trying to find clever ways to keep my towel in place – to no avail. One day I searched online for a product to solve this incredibly annoying frustration – but much to my surprise, there was only one product out there and let’s just say it wasn’t something that fit my fashion sense (like, not even a little bit)! I asked my fashion-designer friend if she could hand-make me a more fashionable solution, and thankfully she was up for the challenge. The homemade solution wasn’t perfect, but it worked and looked way better than the competitive option, so I was more than happy to use it at the pool and beach. Then something unexpected happened… my fellow sunbathers kept asking “where did you get that, I need one too!”. Which actually got me thinking about turning this idea into a marketable product! Since I had about 20 years of experience bringing products to market in my corporate marketing roles, I decided to use my business acumen to give it a go for myself. From fine-tuning the product concept to a re-design to production, it took 1.5 years and more hours than I’ve ever worked in my life, but it was an eye-opening and life altering positive experience and the one job on my resume I’m the most proud of.
Q: What is your favorite pool to relax by?
Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes – the adults-only pool (one of several pools on the property) has the most incredible oceanfront views that make you feel like you’ve been transported to a luxury resort in Mexico instead of LA!
Q: You have a full time job and are running a business on your own! What is one thing you must do to stay sane?
For me, I find stress relief in the form of exercise – and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work out while at my full-time job. They bring in a personal trainer to lead a variety of group classes that they offer during lunchtime for all employees to enjoy. The best part is not having to find time before/after work to fit in a workout – which means I can utilize my free time during the weeknights and weekends to focus on my business.
Q: Proudest moment to-date?
Getting my products featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair and Conde Nast Traveller!
Q: What's your typical Sunday like?
I like to start my Sunday mornings with a competitive game of co-ed volleyball, which is a great workout and perfect excuse to get in some beach time. Then I’ll usually spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool (I’m lucky to have one in my apt complex) with my laptop, getting in more work on BandaBeau.
Q: What's your go to way to unwind and relax?
Sunbathing poolside or beachfront with a “can’t put down” beach read!
Flash Round Answers:
Current book you're reading: The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey (in the audio book form)
Favorite time saving app: ColorStory – I used it to upload photos to Instagram and within seconds I can add a photo filter to my social media photos to keep all photos on my feed looking consistent from a color perspective
1 thing you need when traveling: When I travel to a beach destination, I always need my BandaBeau towel tamer to keep wind-blown towels in place when sunbathing poolside or beachfront
Song you're listening to on repeat: Halo by Beyonce
Favorite vacation destination: Hawaii