Leading Australian sun protection clothing manufacturer Ozi Varmints is close to agreeing a major deal that would see its colourful swimwear and garments stocked in 300 department stores across the US, reports have claimed.

According to Thursday's edition of the Manly Daily, company founder Jacqui Major is negotiating with a large unnamed department store chain in a move that would give the firm a vital foothold in the lucrative US market.

It follows her successful visits to two recent trade shows in the US where she returned with orders from various resorts, hotels and tourist attractions. Ms Major started the Ozi Varmints in 1996 after losing sight of her son on a crowded beach.

"I was already manufacturing baby bibs and T-shirts because I have always loved colour and there was nothing on the market at that stage that was bright and colourful," she told the Manly Daily.

"But that day on the beach I couldn't see my son because he was in dark colours, so I thought if I am doing it with bibs and T-shirts I can do it with swimwear. I went out the next day and designed the brightest swimwear you could imagine."

The firm now has several retail outlets in Australia together with a successful e-commerce and mail order division.