Standout Students: Holden Bierman

Holden Bierman, rising sophomore at Fuquay-Varina High School, founded the e-commerce company Coastal Cool, selling eco-friendly swimwear and tropical apparel.

When I was in sixth grade, I spent my free time watching Saved by the Bell reruns and daydreaming about taking Zack Morris to the prom. When Holden Bierman was in sixth grade, he wrote a business plan for his e-commerce company, Coastal Cool.

Holden was an entrepreneur from a young age, says Stephanie Bierman, Holden’s mom — setting up makeshift markets in his bedroom to sell toys or organizing ticketed dance parties in their bonus room.

When Holden was in sixth grade, schools went virtual due to the pandemic, the Biermans relocated to their home at Carolina Beach, and Holden decided he wanted to start a business inspired by the breezy coastal lifestyle.

“That time was a boom for online shopping. I started learning about the e-commerce industry overall, and clothing and fashion and suppliers and recyclable swimwear,” he says. “I started reaching out to suppliers, and one day I built this whole business plan.”

After an “OK” from mom and dad, plus a website he built himself, Holden launched Coastal Cool on his 13th birthday, selling tropical-themed T-shirts, hoodies, and tank tops.

Last year, Coastal Cool expanded to include swimwear for men and women, made with ecofriendly recycled polyester, produced from recovered plastic bottles and post-consumer recyclables.

“We realized that sustainability could be a huge market, and realized it was a really cool path to go down,” says Holden, now 15. “A lot of people want to buy products that are eco-friendly and sustainable, rather than something cheap you can get on Amazon.”

The sustainable swimwear, and coordinating cabana shirts, are now the brand’s centerpiece, featuring bright tropical prints and matching collections.

The swimwear fabric is made from recovered plastic bottles and post-consumer recyclables.

“I wanted something I could wear with every style, something fit for any occasion, on and off the beach — an overall lifestyle brand,” says Holden.

“In the beginning, I was creating all my designs on my own, all the T-shirt designs, everything. Then I realized that I could do a lot, but I also needed some help, and that was what helped us expand our styles,” he says.

Now Holden works back and forth with artists to craft the brand’s colorful prints and patterns.

Sustainability isn’t just found in the fabric. Coastal Cool utilizes a print-on-demand workflow, so there’s no inventory to manage and no wasted, unsold products.

“There’s a seven-day turnaround. It takes three days to print, then five days for shipping,” he says.

A rising sophomore at Fuquay-Varina High School, Holden spends time between classes, during lunch, and after school answering emails and direct messages, working on the website, coordinating logistics, and connecting with other entrepreneurs and influencers through social media.

Creating awareness and recognition around the brand is one of Holden’s primary focuses.

“There are so many different brands you have to compete with. … Being different and being new is hard to compete with the big guys.”

“Seeing people wear my products, seeing them post and share and love the products, what we have to offer, the fabric and just the vibe, is one of the best parts,” Holden says, mentioning a teacher at FVHS teacher who wore Coastal Cool apparel on the school’s Hawaiian day in April.

Stephanie describes Holden as disciplined, organized, and independent, with an impressive confidence to ask for and go after what he wants.

“It’s really cool to be able to learn all this stuff from home, all by myself,” Holden says. “There are so many resources. Everything is out there, all online.”

“In fourth and fifth grade, I wanted to create a business; I wanted to have a large social media platform; I wanted to be connected with business people. Fast forward to today, and I am.”

SHOP THE COLLECTION: | @coastalcool_

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