Q & A with Kara Palmeri- Creative Director and Owner of Mazu Apparel!


(1) Did you have any previous background within the fashion industry before creating Mazu?

Yes! I worked at J. Crew Corporate for 9 plus years! It was a challenging and intense experience that helped mold me into having a very focused work ethic and my love for apparel. Fun Fact – Before I entered the fashion world, I was a producer for an on-air talent for a tv/radio show!  

(2) In what ways has your background prepared you to be the creative director/owner of Mazu?

Again, I attribute a lot to my work ethic that formulated through the years. I worked in environments that truly pushed me in every aspect. I also established a very strong stomach and thick skin (lol) – Much needed assets in the fashion world! I believe in never doing anything less than 100%. I’ve looked at every opportunity good, bad, or indifferent as a chance to learn. I also have an amazing partner (and husband) Frank that helps make this all possible!

(3) Why was it important for you to create an inclusive swimwear brand for Women?

I always saw a void in the swim market when it came to fashionable, confident designs, and silhouettes for women of all sizes. We have been all inclusive since the inception of the company. Many of these big companies joined the band wagon way after us because they saw the trend. But it wasn’t a trend for us, we believed in inclusivity way before many of the other companies!  I also noticed how many men were making decisions about women’s swimwear which seemed counter intuitive to me. That’s why I made sure Mazu sustained an all-women design team that was dedicated to my ideals, principles, and standards.

(4) Do you ever take feedback or ask the women in your life about what kind of swimwear they feel confident in (friends, family etc.?)

Oh my gosh – ad nauseam! I give my friends and families so much credit for always entertaining my swim and activewear inquisitions. And as I mentioned, I look at all these moments as an opportunity to learn and grow (and I know they’ll always be brutally honest!)

(5) What is your personal go-to swimsuit in terms of print, color, and style- Do you have a Mazu favorite?

If I had to pick one – it would be the Grecian Skater. I love it in every single print and solid color we have. If you see me on the beach, I’ll be in one for sure!

(6) How do you and your business partner/husband Frank manage your work life balance- owning a business and raising a family of two boys?

It’s truly a wild rollercoaster ride we’re on. We work A LOT, and the boys have very busy lives (they are currently on 4 baseball teams plus a million other things). So finding that balance can be tough but we make it work with a lot of patience and perseverance!

(7) Are there any specific places/ways that you get inspiration from when designing upcoming swimwear lines?

We’re so fortunate to have our headquarters located in NYC’s garment district and fashion capitol of the world. There’s constant inspiration around! We also attend numerous prints & trend shows in the city. We also spend hours looking though artwork and designs from around the world!  It’s just amazing!  We consistently shop the market and always stay on top of current colors and trends – I also constantly look around wherever I am. I’m always asking people questions and perspectives!

(8) Any advice for a woman who is searching to find a swimsuit that they feel confident and comfortable in?

 Look for all the design elements found in a Mazu swimsuit! Look for a suit that contours and flattens problem areas – look for interior structures that sculpt you on the inside and camouflage and conceal on the outside!  Look for ruching, strategic wrapping, power mesh and adjustable straps! And of course, look for gorgeous prints!

(9) Any top highlights/moments that stand out to you throughout the years of running Mazu?

So many – but here are a few!  When we were featured on Good Morning America and 4 amazing Mazu customers wore their swimsuits for the live TV show in the middle of Time Square!  When we were chosen as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things!  When a mother who just had a double mastectomy contacted me and said her Mazu swimsuit got her out at the pool feeling confident and beautiful again! (This one is truly the most rewarding!).

(10) Lastly, what do you find is the most fulfilling part of owning an inclusive swimwear brand for women?

Female empowerment has always been one of my guiding principles. Not only in business, but in life. We’re a special tribe! We should always be lifting each other up to make any woman feel beautiful and confident. Its such a life reward and I’m forever grateful for Mazu, and the amazing tribe that has become a part of the Mazu family!