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Morgan Smith’s lifestyle brand Minnow makes a splash on King Street with its classic swim and resort wear for the whole family

Morgan Smith’s lifestyle brand Minnow makes a splash on King Street with its classic swim and resort wear for the whole family
June 2024

Minnow opened its flagship store on King Street last year

Minnow founder Morgan Smith in the flagship store that opened last fall at the corner of King and Queen streets.

The parameters were straightforward: clean lines, above-the-knee cut, classic style. And yet Morgan Smith couldn’t find suitable swim trunks for her 14-month-old while summering in London with her family in 2015. “Everything had cartoons or decals and hit at his calves,” remembers the spruce mother. She’d previously purchased vintage suits on Etsy but hadn’t yet found a consistent destination for classic children’s swimwear. So, she decided to create one.

Smith’s line, dubbed “Minnow,” calls to “discerning parents who value design, travel, and high-quality products.” Though not a trained designer, her marketing career has included roles with Kate Spade, as well as Elle magazine, Guess Inc., and Dutch stroller company Bugaboo. Despite its petite moniker, Minnow has become a big fish in the social media sphere, catching the attention of celebrity moms such as Daphne Oz, Molly Sims, and Lauren Conrad.

Each season, the company transports customers to enchanting destinations using swoon-worthy seaside photographs of nostalgic childhood escapades. The popular spring 2024 line got a 1950s Hawaii vibe from floral prints and a breezy palette. To mark the launch of its patriotic summer collection, Minnow is hosting a surf camp in the seaside hamlet of Montauk, New York. And later this year, the brand plans to make a splash by the pool at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds on Lake Oconee in Georgia with a pop-up shop and kid-centric events. 

Styles for women and children from Minnow’s spring collaboration with J.Crew.

Like the Smith family, now raising three children ages four to nine, Minnow has grown swiftly over the past eight years, including a coast-to-coast move from Newport Beach, California, to the Lowcountry in 2019. Though swimwear remains its number-one seller, the label now boasts clothing and accessories for everyone in the fam, including popular French terry staples and buttery pima-modal pajamas. The company’s retail footprint has also expanded to include a Charleston flagship store at the corner of King and Queen streets.

To further Minnow’s place in the market, Smith collaborates with brands such as J.Crew, Love Shack Fancy, and Fanm Mon. “We choose partners with strong design perspectives and value systems, then create something unique and beautiful together. One of my favorite parts of this job is working with other female entrepreneurs,” says Smith, who participates in local, woman-owned small business groups like Lady Business and Magnolia Labs. (Look for events from both at the store this month.)

As Minnow’s retail numbers have quadrupled over the past five years, Smith says she has had to grow from a solo founder to a CEO managing a team. Staying true to the brand’s core values helps (so do cute ruffles). “Minnow brings high-quality and beautifully designed products to enhance family experiences,” says the founder. “I feel deeply grateful for the support and loyalty our community has to the brand.”

By the Numbers
■ Employees: 30
■ Sales growth: Nearly 400 percent since 2019
■ Outside investment capital: $0
■ #1 seller: Swim