Merrilee started out sewing bathing suits for friends and family in high school, but word quickly spread amongst local beachgoers and demand for her hand-sewn bikinis grew faster than she could keep up with. To keep up with the demand, she was permitted (by her mother, of course) to stay home one day a week from school - under the condition she keep up her straight A’s while sewing her increasingly popular suits. Every weekend she would set up shop on Main Street selling these bathing suits out of her leather suitcase.