As long as I remember I have had an entrepreneurial spirit; selling candy and novelties in elementary school, hosting lemonade stands in summer. I was even accepted to a top-ranked college for entrepreneurship which taught me how to build a business plan and sparked dreams of being a young millionaire.
I worked for big brands — Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and lululemon. However, time spent surfing, doing yoga and hiking allowed me to realize I needed a more cohesive lifestyle that connected my career with my passions.
While at lululemon, I started teaching yoga both on land and sea (Stand Up Paddle) and leading yoga retreats. I was also hosting fundraising events and leading volunteerism retreats with the non-profit Surf For Life. I was enjoying my work and flexible lifestyle.
Then I joined some friends for a surf trip to Mexico. We arrived to perfect waves and surfed until sunset, but woke up the next day to extremely sunburned legs and bums. To unwind from our travels, I led a yoga class for our friends. As achy as we felt, our sunburns weren’t going to stop us — we decided to keep our yoga leggings on and paddled out.
Instantly, we loved the function of the leggings in the water; we felt protected, no bikini bottoms riding up, no chaffing from our boards, no adjusting every time we went underwater. But, the fabric and fit were not ideal. By the last day of our trip, we noticed other women were surfing in leggings. They too, were getting burned, and were inspired by our solution. That’s when we knew our impromptu idea could turn into something more — our own reset.
We spent over a year researching and developing our first product – high performance sun-protection leggings — resulting in the ultimate multi-functional leggings that were just as great in water as on land.
Building your own company is as rewarding as it is challenging. In the same day you get feedback from a woman that “the quick-dry fabric is changing her life” and then news that production is going to be delayed because the sewer mistakenly attached the waistband backwards. You just have to constantly be agile, persistent and very patient. Our mantra has been “do it right, not rushed.”
Last July, another great passion entered my life, motherhood, another reset. It was immediately apparent that raising Tanner would be one of my most important roles. In my current role as Mother and CEO, some days things seem to flow “seamlessly” toting Tanner along to business meetings and other days I’m chin deep in diapers, conference calls, feedings, marketing, playtime and critical decision making.
I am living a life I love – balancing motherhood, leading Okiino and being an active part of my community. I am still not a millionaire, but I am very rich in experiences.