Astrid Pedregal ’07 loves sunshine and warm temperatures, so much so that the Venezuelan native moved to Miami after graduating from Babson. Of all the warm cities in the world, she chose Miami in part because of fond memories from childhood trips to visit family in the vibrant city, and her sister, Alexandra, lived there as well.
Pedregal was working for the financial services company, UBS, but, a year later, it relocated her to New York City. Away from the tropical metropolis she had come to adore, Pedregal felt out of place. “New York is a great city, but I just didn’t feel like I could be myself,” she says. “I remember how sad it was after Labor Day that you couldn’t wear white. I wore my white linen dress, and everyone looked at me weird. They were wearing boots already!”
She worked for three years in New York City before finally convincing UBS to transfer her back to Miami. Throughout these moves, Pedregal and her sister talked about starting a business together. Being entrepreneurial, the two wanted to give their own business a try but couldn’t settle on the right idea. Then while vacationing with her boyfriend on the swanky Caribbean island of Canouan a few years ago, Pedregal found herself checking out the men—their swimwear, to be exact. “They were all wearing very boring swimsuits, including my boyfriend,” she says.
Solid colors, stripes, and low-quality fabrics abounded. Sensing an opportunity, she immediately called her sister, and the two began hatching plans for a luxury swimwear brand for men. Within two months, Pedregal left her job and devoted herself full time to the new company, which they named Crasqi for an island off the coast of Venezuela. Crasqi swim shorts feature vibrant colors and patterns and a trimmer profile than most swim trunks. “Shorter is better,” Pedregal says. “Men usually have nice legs, so why hide them under long, unflattering shorts?”
Many men spend most of their lives restricted to the “typical corporate uniform of black, grey, and brown,” Pedregal says. The bright colors of Crasqi trunks offer an opportunity for them to cut loose. Says Pedregal, “Summer is all about the freedom to be who you really are.”
The toughest part of running Crasqi, says Pedregal, is the uncertainty that comes with any startup. “We constantly have to make decisions based on assumptions,” she says. “Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong. The key is to celebrate when we’re right and not lose the enthusiasm when we’re wrong.”
The best perk related to her new venture? Pedregal loves what counts as a business trip. She and her sister (Crasqi’s creative director) traveled this summer to Europe to expand the reach of their brand, which already is available in upscale men’s clothing stores in Miami and luxury boutiques at various beach resorts. Their first stop was Florence, Italy, for Pitti Immagine Uomo, a men’s clothing trade show, and then they visited summer hot spots to meet with retailers. And, of course, their itinerary included time in the sand. “When we go to the beach, even if we’re relaxing, we’re still working,” she says. “It’s a great way to do research.”—Erin O’Donnell