Q+A with carl + nathan, founders of onia
Posted: January 27, 2020
Travel has always been a point of inspiration for our brand, motivating us to develop products that are efficient and easy to use while on the go. To our great pride, many of our most loyal clients actually first encounter our products while passing through an airport lounge or staying with one of our boutique hotel partners. We recently had the opportunity to connect with a brand whose founders discovered MALIN+GOETZ in this exact way. Founded by fashion retail experts Carl Cunow and Nathan Romano, Onia marries style and functionality to create high-quality and timeless swimwear and lifestyle pieces for modern voyagers. We sat down with the two entrepreneurs to discuss our shared inspirations, their daily regimens and how they built their distinct brand in an ever-evolving retail landscape.
can you tell us a bit about yourselves and what inspired you to launch Onia together?
Carl Cunow: We are both from New York. Born and raised. There was a huge void in the market when we started over 10 years ago for a clean, well-made swimsuit. It then trickled down to other travel/resortwear items that you could wear on vacation and on the whole journey on the way to where you’re going. Nothing was really built for this travel, we knew there was a need here and went after it!
in what ways have your travels informed how you’ve developed the brand and run the business?
CC: Traveling around the world is key to how the brand and the business is developed and run. Seeing trends, seeing different retail setups, seeing how consumers are wearing product, where, why. This influences tons of design and branding decisions on a daily basis.
Nathan Romano: Definitely traveling light. I'm always thinking of innovative ways to use anything I carry in a multifunctional way. Product we make definitely reflects that.
what do you consider the most important elements of designing your swimwear?
CC: It all starts with the fabrics. We get fabrics from all over the world, and then we start plugging away with design. The fabric is everything. It dictates the fit, the feel of the season.
NR: Yes, fabric is paramount to the build of any product we make. We are also always thinking of ways to simplify product so it becomes functional and timeless.
what do your typical morning routines look like – either at-home or on-the-go?
CC: I wake up around 6 am. Check all my emails from the night before, get myself ready and then help my wife get our kids up and ready for school. Then head to the office. I try to get there super early, these last few weeks even earlier since we are gearing up for 2021 design season.
NR: I'm definitely a morning person. Certainly my morning routine is focused on my morning bathroom hygiene. I take time to enjoy my coffee while reading my emails to prioritize my day. Then, I am ready to go!
what are the items that you always have to have with you when traveling?
CC: My laptop, an outfit for dinner and going to the gym and obviously my MALIN+GOETZ mini travel companions!
NR: My neck pillow for sure. Just started using it while traveling – it's a game changer!
how did you discover MALIN+GOETZ?
CC: I actually discovered the brand when I was on a business trip traveling, forgot my deodorant before a big meeting and went into the hotel gift shop and found the eucalyptus deodorant. It is now the only deodorant I've used the past 7 years. After that, all the products are now in my bathroom: the body wash, shampoo, conditioner and face wash!
NR: I discovered it a little over 5 years ago – I spotted it in a unique hotel overseas, and slowly started discovering the brand's offering in specialty shops and even airplanes now!
what's coming up for Onia in this new decade?
CC: We are starting to open small retail shops, expanding our product lines and offering more exclusive pieces to our customers.
NR: We are cooking up some exciting things – stay tuned!