"Happy in a bikini always."
That's one of Kim Zolciak-Biermann's mantras. The reality star, entrepreneur and mom of six has spent a lot of time posing in swimsuits. (We even dedicated a whole gallery to the many bikini lessons she's shared with her fans on social media.) So it was only a matter of time before she launched a line of her own.
On Tuesday, her 42nd birthday, Zolciak-Biermann announced her foray into the swim industry to PEOPLE exclusively, introducing Salty K, a luxury sustainable swimwear line featuring 10 styles, with the first five launching on June 1.
"There's a few things I'm passionate about — it's hair, makeup, skin care, bikinis and lingerie," the Don't Be Tardy star tells PEOPLE during an hour-long Zoom call. "Lingerie, I don't ever want to design, I just want to own everything Agent Provocateur's ever made, which I do. But I don't want to design it. I'm not passionate enough to design it. But swimwear I want to design — I know how I want suits to look and fit. I have visions and sketches. The whole process will be a full year this July."
Instagram's already verified the Salty K account, and Zolciak-Biermann hopes fans are willing to invest in their swim wardrobe, with bikinis falling at $180 for a top and bottom.
"I think people know that if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it 100 percent, that's it," she says. "I own more over 1,000 bikinis - I know a lot about fit, fabrication and style."
Zolciak-Biermann has already conquered the skincare and cosmetic industries with her lines Kashmere Kollections and KAB cosmetics, but her swim company is the first venture she's running totally in house with her husband Kroy Biermann stepping in as her business partner.
"This is all new for me. I have business partners with Kashmere and KAB Cosmetics that run the day to day. Salty K is run by my husband and myself," she shares. "We've really figured out this whole thing out by ourselves. I thought, 'I want bathing suits, I design them, they're done, and here we go.' It wasn't that easy. From UPC codes, to who's going to ship them to the customer service — we're learning a lot. My husband has been amazing and this would never be where it is today without him."
Read on below for more highlights from our chat with the candid star.
Sustainability is a cornerstone of the line
"My fabric is sustainable. It's made and recycled from all things that are pulled from the ocean — from fishing nets to plastic water bottles. I'm a huge lover of the ocean and that was ultimately my goal. And I mean, I'm 42, my oldest is 23, to my youngest that's 6, and then my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, if we continue to go at the rate that we're going, they're not going to be able to enjoy the ocean like we have and we've experienced. We need to start paying attention. So my goal is to try to give back in any way, shape, or form that I can. The sustainable luxury fabric is manufactured in Bali. These pieces are one of a kind."
Brielle came up with the name Salty K
"I had all different names. I love the beach so I was thinking Teal Tide. But I didn't love anything; nothing was really hitting me. And Brielle, just like she named KAB Cosmetics (after Kim, Ariana and Brielle), Brielle named this swim line. She always says I'm so salty. If I tell Brielle like, 'I don't think it's a good idea that you fly to Miami right now,' she's like, 'You're just salty.' So she came down one morning and I was drawing out my sketches and she said, 'Salty K, that's the name.' And Tracey [Bloom], my chef, was in the kitchen and Kroy and myself, and I looked at Kroy and I said, 'That's it.' And he said, 'I think you're right.' It's perfect. It's beachy."
Brielle and Ariana leaked two of the bikini designs early... without permission!
"We got the bathing suits and I ordered Brielle's size, Ariana's size — Ariana's like a negative zero, she's been running with me and she's super small, so none of her s--- fit, which is stressful — and then my size. That was just last week. And then, without me knowing, these bitches went outside to the pool and started taking pictures and posting posting photos in bikinis that aren't launching 'til the end of June! I said, 'You can't post that Brielle. I don't want people to keep seeing these designs."'She was so mad, she said, 'I'm removing all my Salty K stuff from my Instagram! Why would you give me suits that you're not ready for me to take pictures in?' It was hilarious."
The Salty K logo came to Kim in a dream
"I used to go to the Atlantis all the time with my girls when they were younger. There's this store on the boardwalk there called Calypso, and I had a dream one night where I saw Salty K almost crooked on the front of a storefront similar to Calypso. I woke up and I said, 'This is my logo.' I was so inspired! I want it to be an experience. The bikinis will be being shipped in custom bags, so when it arrives to your door, you'll see a baby pink matte padded envelope with the blue Salty K logo."
The line honors both her "vixen" and "cute" sensibilities
"I love ruffles. I love bows, but I have those moments and I also love to be revealing and sexy. I feel like there's a lot of confusion, especially with my designs and with my drawings. Because there's a vixen side of me that's a sexy thong and very minimal. And then there's this ruffly, cute side of me. And there's no in between, unfortunately, which is very confusing for people that work with me. But it is what it is. I have my daytime and my nighttime."
Kim wants a diverse age range of women to enjoy her suits
"I want my girls to be able to wear my suits, I want somebody my age to wear my suits, and I also want somebody that's 55 years old to wear my suits and still feel comfortable. That was ultimately my goal. In the past, I've found so many suits I could wear for just one season, before I was like, 'Eh, this is out of style,' or 'The fabric doesn't look good out in the sun.' And I wanted the opposite with this line. I want women to have these suits for years to come. The designs are fun yet simple. Timeless."