Jamie Alexander is a father that came up with the idea for the company Rubies after he and his trans daughter Ruby were getting ready for their trip to Panama and he wanted to protect her from any possible hurtful reactions.
Ruby was just 11 years old at the time, and she had already identified as a female for a few years. However, going to the beach presented a whole new challenge.
The dad, from Toronto, said that in the early years, when she was socially transitioned, they put her into boys’ clothing for gym and swimming, and she was reluctantly going along with them.
At one point last year, though, Ruby said that she wanted to wear a bikini before going on a camping trip with family friends.
Alexander said that no one cared or really said anything about the fitted girls’ bathing suit bottoms, but that was in a group of trusted friends. The dad worried about what might happen months later, on the trip to Panama, so it started him on a hunt for a solution for his daughter and others in her position.
He said that he and his wife were motivated to find another option so his daughter, now 12, could feel comfortable, and “out of their own fears for her safety”. So, he joined Facebook groups for parents of trans children and found that swimwear was a very common issue.
Thankfully, he had business experience, but he acknowledged that he knew nothing about the clothing industry when he started researching the market. This is the 12-year-old Ruby Alexander in one of the t-shirts her father created, along with the swimsuit bottoms for trans girls. The shirt reads “Every girl deserves to shine” on the back.
The dad presented his idea to Ryerson’s Fashion Zone, which is a business incubator that brings fashion and technology together, and he decided to start a small and focused business with basic swimwear bottoms for trans girls, offering smoothing compression technology.
Alexander said that he’s not trying to be Lululemon, and his company doesn’t even make bathing suit tops, since he wanted to spend his time and resources tackling a problem.
He said that trans girls can buy a separate bathing suit top to combine with the plain-colored bottoms. He only made the bottoms in black at the beginning, and he has since added some pairs in sparkly pink.
He also added that a group of 25 trans girls have been testing the bathing suits, and the girls live in Canada, the U.S., and Australia.
The suits sell for $62 for a pair of bottoms.
Alexander doesn’t want the price to be a barrier for kids who might be encountering difficulties, and he wants to send a thousand pairs for free to kids who can’t afford them.
Ruby said that she thinks her dad is amazing.
Everyone who orders a pair also receives a postcard with a handwritten note, and Ruby said that she wrote one note that read:
“You are like a star that shines bright, that’s more special than anyone else. And don’t let anyone dim that light.”