|Michele Letarte Ross packs a lot of aloha into beach bags around the world.|
Michele Letarte Ross
Co-Founder and CEO of Letarte Swimwear
From her NYC-area business offices, Michele and her Maui-based sister, Lisa Letarte Cabrinha, have created a decade’s worth of elite swimwear, coordinating cover-ups and sportswear that are found in over 400 distinguished retailers and exclusive resorts. Thanks to Michele’s business expertise, what began as a single bathing suit – sold at a Hawaiian beachside bungalow in 2000 – is now a multi-million dollar empire of luxury resort wear.
Letarte’s signature trademarked prints, intricate adornments and lavish detail have made the label a coveted brand for loyal fans around the globe. Celebrities, including Kate Hudson, Brooklyn Decker and Cindy Crawford, fill their closet with Letarte’s collection . Over 50 swimsuits have graced the pages of the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition over the past 10 years!
But it’s not just Letarte’s creative designs and luxe fashion that have made the Maui company such a success. Michele’s strong business initiatives – including a female majority staff & a company directive to always stay true to the brand – have helped the Letarte label continue to grow and remain nimble in a downward economy.
In 2007, Letarte started to offer more size selections, and in 2010, expanded the product line beyond swimwear & tunics to include cashmere robes and after sun skin care products. The Letarte sisters successfully opened two freestanding Letarte boutiques on the resort and vacation islands of Maui (in November 2008) and Nantucket (in May 2010). Michele has also established in-store Letarte shops within specialty boutiques, helping to increase those select boutique’s business by almost 100% in the past twelve months.