How it all began...
It was June 2016, and we were sitting in a bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Two vibrant women took their ten-year friendship to a new business venture. Velvet, at 62, an author of graphic memoirs, was about to graduate with her Masters in Creative Writing, and Rachel, at 70, is a writing professor and author. While sipping wine between classes at the nearby university, Velvet and Rachel decided it was about time that women of all ages, stages, sizes, and shapes should have the opportunity to feel great about themselves in swimwear.
Rachel: "Summer is coming. I loved it when I looked good in a bikini, but now I dread showing my arms and legs, all my frailties and wrinkles and crinkles."
Some of us hate exposing our skin at the lake, pool, or beach and would prefer to keep our bodies to ourselves.
Velvet: "Oh, to have those nice long, discreet swimsuits of the 1900s!"
Rachel: "Yes, to cover up the top of our arms, the top of our legs, and to cinch these tummies with some flow to disguise it all."
Given Velvet's pension for sketching, she picked up a cocktail napkin and threw together a design.
Velvet: "There! I've drawn it. Now you're the writer – you name it." Hmmm.
Rachel: "Bathing Boomers!"
It was only a boozy dream that we've made real for you!
About Velvet and Rachel...
Rachel Manley (pictured right) is a poet, professor and writer who was born in England, raised in Jamaica and settled in Toronto. If her last name is familiar, that’s because she is the daughter of Michael Manley, considered one of Jamaica’s most popular prime ministers, who was voted into power twice, once in 1972 and again in 1989. Her grandfather, Norman Manley, is a Jamaican national hero – a Rhodes Scholar, lawyer, First World War veteran and founder of the People’s National Party – who led the negotiations that ended in Jamaica’s independence from Britain.
Rachel wrote about her family in Drumblair, which won the 1997 Governor General's Award for non-fiction. It is the first volume in a trilogy of stories about her family.
Velvet Haney (pictured left), too, dug deep into her childhood for an autobiographical book following a successful career as a model and a stint as a host of a CBC fitness show. One of six kids, she was raised by a single mother in the Alexandra Park neighbourhood of Toronto. She found her way into the story of her extraordinary childhood and unconventional parents when she started drawing. Her graphic book, The Mousehouse Years, was published in 2014, and uses illustrations that convey the darker side of the story with some levity.
Garlande Haney has previously worked in TV marketing and publicity and is now the Chief Operating Officer of Bathing Boomers and runs all facets of the business alongside Velvet and Rachel.
Velvet's husband, Trivial Pursuit co-creator John Haney, helps out on the business side of the start-up.
Looking to contact the team? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you!
See below for more information on Velvet, Rachel and Bathing Boomers: