Swimsuit company racks up 750,000 followers, makes small fortune from ‘giveaway’

Sunny Co Clothing wins the internet with their viral swimsuit giveaway

If you went all day Tuesday without seeing something about a swimsuit giveaway on your Instagram timeline, you probably didn’t spend very much time online.

Sunny Co Clothing was started just a few months ago by a group of students from the University of Arizona. On Tuesday, they had an idea for a contest, that would hopefully generate some engagement for their Instagram. They would “give away” free swimsuits to anyone that was willing to re-share their post and tag their account.

The giveaway quickly blew up, garnering more than 300,000 likes and skyrocketing their account to over 750,000 followers – from the mere 7,000 they had on Monday.

The internet quickly realized that this surely had to be a scam… right?

… Not exactly. While Sunny Co’s website now has all of their promo products marked as “sold out,” the young marketers weren’t ever posed to take a loss on the promotion. Free isn’t actually free when you’re asked to pay shipping.

Let’s look at the numbers.

Buyers were charged $12.98 for domestic shipping, which is significantly more than it costs to mail something in the United States.

“A package like that would cost $2.77 to ship using USPS First Class, and about $0.10 in packaging” said Barrett Shepherd, CEO of Simpl Fulfillment, a company that specializes in e-commerce fulfillment.

And that bathing suit definitely wasn’t worth $80 either. Suppliers on Chinese wholesale site Alibaba offer the same suits Sunny Co was selling for as little as $2.87.

Sunny Co Clothing's bathing suits on Alibaba

Sunny Co is looking at profits upwards of $6 per swimsuit ‘given away’ – not to mention the value added from building their email list, growing their Instagram to three-quarters of a million followers strong, and the future organic sales that will come from each.

While the e-commerce company may have been ill-prepared for their overnight success, they’ve certainly positioned themselves to make a great deal of profit on the sale of ‘free’ swimsuits – so long as their customers are willing to wait a while.

  • Daniel Currier

    Why do you call this success? Id call it fraud

    • Fraud how so besides that the journalist who wrote this took shipping costs from China for granted so they are getting a good deal on the giveaway.

    • Gio

      Interesting. Perhaps you should factor the import costs. : )

    • Definitely not fraud…a little misleading but not fraud. Companies do this kind of promotion all the time. It’s your choice as to whether or not you want to pay for shipping once you find out how much it costs.

      • BeanMeister22

        It’s fraud because they are straight-up lying about the value of their products, they are lying about them being free, when clearly they are not, and that paying for shipping and “handling” is one of the biggest scams out there.

        • You still haven’t described the fraud.

          Everyone knows that Jordan’s don’t cost $200 to make. Or that that the pair of jeans you spent $50 on, actually costed that much to make. So why should we treat this company any differently than 100s of thousands of other companies?

          They’re a business. They’re selling their brand. They have a right to make money. And it’s your right on whether you’d want to pay the shipping fees. And keep in mind, it’s not just shipping you’re paying for. It’s “shipping and handling” meaning you’re paying for the time it takes them to prepare each shipment.

          Just because the shipping may be deemed to be a little high doesn’t mean it’s a scam…just don’t pay it.

          And I have no ties to this company at all. I just respect their grind and the ingenuity of this promotion.

          Now here’s where they went wrong, they mentioned that EVERYONE gets a bathing suit who pays for shipping and reposted their pic. And that’s not true because they ran out of inventory so fast because they weren’t expecting to receive the kind of numbers they received. They should have capped it BEFORE throwing the giveaway and not after.

          Although you may think it’s a scam, there were thousands who didn’t and wanted to pay shipping to get their “free” bathing suit but couldn’t. That’s where they went wrong and what led to their account being shut down I believe.

          Because they overpromised, not because they scammed people.

          There’s a difference.

          • Neil Martin

            Ha, just read your comment. Jordan is pretty much the first thing I thought of too. Wow,,, this guy must have No Idea how much anything is worth if he thinks the value is what he pays. Why even run a business if you are going to sell everything for its value? :-/

          • Lol… I know. People just mad that these 2 college kids gamed a system that usually is played by the big guys. That’s all this boils down to.

            If Jordan ran the same promotion with the same terms, no one would say anything.

            The only thing this company did and I think they learned their lesson is that they overpromised.

            That’s it. No scam involved. If you don’t like it, don’t pay for shipping BUT a lot of people from what I’ve seen had no problem paying shipping because they felt they were getting a deal since the swimsuits were selling for 5-6x more than the shipping costs on their website and thats how they were looking at it.

            Instead of hating this company because they got popular so fast, people need to learn from them. I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m in my 30’s and these two “kids” have taught me a couple of things that I could possibly do to strengthen my brand.

          • Shauna Mills

            Agree with you. It’s honestly hilarious to see everyone getting upset about a few kids who made a killing $$ from a tactical business tactic. People can’t seem to understand that this is business. A lot actually think they are just paying how much it actually costs which is far from true ahhahaha

        • Neil Martin

          Oh noooooo, a company lied about the value of their products? OH MY GOD. This must be the first time thats ever happened! Wow,,, what an idiot. Do you realize Jordans dont actually cost $250 to make? Or MK bags dont cost thousands of dollars to produce?
          What is wrong with you? Shipping and “Handling” is the price that they want it to be. If I want $6 to mail you something then I want $6 to mail you something. You don’t have to pay me, you can go get it yourself. Thats how Capitalism works.

    • I agree @danielcurrier:disqus . I’m currently doing a giveaway, and I’m being totally transparent upfront. I am giving away Four ( 4) $35 Giftcards on May 24th. Check my YouTube Channel, under this name, for details. It is a 30 day giveaway, and only 11 days are left to enter.

      • BeanMeister22

        Your so-called giveaway looks pretty shady to me. And I’m no YT prude, I’ve done several legit contests over the years, including giving away a Wii, several Death Star LEGO sets, and a few odds and ends including a $250 cash prize, and one where a winner got to pick the charity where I donated $500…but none recently because all those were back in the day before YT frowned upon giveaways unless you were a mega Tuber. This was because of all the smaller YT channels scamming people. YT does not let you run any contests where you require people to sub, to like, to view, to share, or to comment on a video…which really took all of the motivation out of putting on a contest. It’s been my experience that all the gift card contests by small channels have been fakes.

        • MAS Googler

          I see plenty of YT giveaways, where they have an AI randomly pick a comment.

  • Very clever thinking!

    • BeanMeister22

      Very unethical thinking on the part of that scam swimsuit company. If the shipping and handling covers the cost of the shipping and the product with a small profit left over, then the product is not free and they are committing fraud. And for the people who believe those swimsuits are an $80 value, they almost certainly deserve to be scammed in this manner. So I guess all is well, in online world.

      • Shauna Mills

        No, this is how business fucking works. You people think you pay the exact cost of what it takes to make? Just because people like you are too stupid to realise this doesn’t make it any fault of that company for ‘outsmarting’ you. After reading your other comments on this page, all I can do is laugh at you.

      • Damian Nunimaker

        I suppose youre the guy “beanmeister” that believes when you buy one ice cream cone and get one free, that it’s actually FREE?? No, you’re paying for the ice cream cone, and getting TWO for the previously established value of one. Every product you buy has markup. Every sale doesn’t put the seller at a loss, it’s simply reduces the margin of profit to move the product. In the end, if people pay 12.00 shipping, then they’ve decided, quite CLEARLY, it’s not free. It costs 12.00, that they re-share and tag. For them, that’s a deal. If the person offering the deal makes a profit, now they’re scammers…lol?

  • Cherry 🍒

    I find it funny that people are butt hurt over this. This is no fraud actually clever way to grow their social media platforms.

    How is it fraud? Nothing in this world is free so why it befuddles me that people actually assume it was free. How can it be free? There an loophole someone since its for promo. That just common sense. If you don’t have anything and believe it would be 100% then you should be responsible in buying anything period.

    No where did that ad say it was 100% Clearly states “24 HOURS will receive a FREE Pamela Sunny Suit” as in the Suit is free and the not s&h.

    There so many companies who say the same thing. Like people on Twitch and Youtube will say “oh we are giving out free shirts to the first 100 ppl” meaning you must pay for your own s&h. That just common logic that most younger people actually know.

    Why would a company give everyone who follow them and repost the ad 100% free shipping. We don’t know where those people live and how much s&h cost.

    There so many companies on TV that does this same thing. The notorious being QVC and HSN.
    There shoe store that say we are giving free shoe to the first 5 ppl but they have to pay the taxes or small fee.

    Then to say oh the company suits doesn’t value at $80 because a knock-off company on amazon has something similar . Fashion Nova one of the biggest Social media fashion company is not value at their prices but people still run to the site and buy buy buy! There so many asian sites that has the same clothes for cheaper like $4 but the shipping may cost more or cheaper but it takes 2 months for the clothes to arrive.