Meet The Makers — The Core of Oy

Meet The Makers — Der Kern von Oy

The siblings Zelia and Dario form the core of Oy. Read about their roots and hear some answers on questions they get asked a lot!

“I got into it out of pure joy”. This is the answer you get, if you ask Zelia Zadra, why she started Oy. Though it was never a goal of hers to found her own company, Oy was started in 2012 with the creation of the first surf bikinis that stay on and the launch of the online store a year later. Throughout the years, Zelia has been guided by her passion for surfing. Together with her brother Dario, she discovered the bliss and beauty of surfing during a family vacation almost 20 years ago. To this day, surfing is one of the things that connects them and influences their journey in many ways.

Dario has been involved in the company since the early days, especially when it got to the development of the website. After spending a lot of time helping out here and there, he got to the point where he decided that it would only make sense to join the company full-time. Today, the siblings form the core of Oy. Zelia runs the business from Zurich, takes care of communications and marketing, creates the designs, and supervises the production in Portugal. Dario, who studied product design and lives in Berlin, has since been in charge of the online store and sales for Europe.

Zelia, what is your favorite Oy bikini?

Buri, Mako and Orfe when I want maximum sun protection. And I always need a dry bikini with me for when I get out of the water. My favorites are Ora and Oroshi.

Dario, what is one thing you can’t live without?

Spaghetti, spaghetti and more spaghetti. I need at least one double portion of spaghetti every week, a massive load of carbs. Fun fact: To get into university to study design, I had to take an entrance exam and I designed a spaghetti vending machine. I got in!

What is it like to work together as siblings?

Basically, it’s like with any other team, each member has different skills and strengths, which contribute to making a team work. At the same time, each member has their own preferences and ideas, for example, when it comes to developing a new product or designing a new campaign. Sometimes, this can lead to long discussions. The best thing about working as brother and sister is the unconditional trust towards the other. That brings great serenity and makes working together very enjoyable and fun.

How did Oy make you even more aware when it comes to sustainability?

As a manufacturing brand, we are always in a conflict between consumption and sustainability. We want to have as little impact on the environment as possible and sell our products at the same time. One would think that the logical consequence would be not to produce any products at all. However, knowing that there is a great demand for good bikinis, we have chosen to deliver a product that is as sustainable as possible, with the aim of pushing less sustainable bikinis off the market. We were able to learn an incredible amount about different materials and processes over the ten years we have been producing bikinis. We started working with recycled materials relatively early on, and by moving our production site to Portugal, it was possible to shorten the transport distance. We are very proud that our high-quality bikinis last more than just one season – in terms of design and quality.

What is most important to you?

As a brand, we want to constantly inspire and set a good example, especially when it comes to sustainability, and personally, we want to do what makes us happy. With Oy, we have both: We launch a meaningful product and stand behind what we do 100%. We want to be more than just a product; we want to offer our customers added value by sharing our experience in bikini production and our knowledge of leading a more sustainable lifestyle.

What’s currently the biggest challenge you’re facing?

Right now, our biggest challenge is to get the product produced on time. At the moment, there are extremely long delivery times for materials, which forces us to already start planning the 2024 collections. In addition, the demand for local production facilities in Europe has increased enormously. In other words: The order books of the manufacturing companies in Portugal are already full for the next couple of months. It is therefore quite difficult, especially for smaller brands, to compete and get a production slot in time. We are incredibly grateful for the good relationship with our sewing factory in Portugal, and that the production of our bikinis is secured.