San Diego, California
Founder of Hakuna Wear
Years in Business: 2.5 years!
What inspired you to start Hakuna Wear? Hakuna Wear began in 2018 after going on my first tropical surf trip and going on scooter rides and boat trips where I didn’t have a pocket to bring money or our hotel key and losing my bottoms in the surf. I felt pretty unempowered by my bikini and wanted to change that.
What’s the story behind your name? Hakuna Matata, it means no worries, for the rest of your days. Well Hakuna Wear means no worries when you’re in the water, because you have a pocket for your keys, you’re in recycled material, and your suit stays put no matter how wild you get.
What is Hakuna Wear’s mission statement? We are a small brand with a big mission, we believe in all people and giving them the tools for success to have the best time possible in the water. No matter your gender, beliefs, race, etc. we want you to feel confident and unstoppable adventuring alone or together. Sustainability for us follows from that support of people, it isn’t just about sustainable materials but giving back to the community. We do this by hosting weekly surf meet ups and often giving 10% or more of profits to non-profit organizations supporting that community. For example we are currently matching all discounts with donations to the NAACP and giving 10% to support the Ohia Lehua, a native Hawaiian tree, that is featured on one of our patterns. Hakuna Wear is our platform for loving earth and its inhabitants.
What are some challenges you have overcome in starting this business? I think the hardest thing for me is social media, I have always been more of an observer, (ie. I overthink what I post and don’t want to offend anyone) I constantly question whether what I am writing provides value and then I beat myself up when I see others with a lot more followers and engagement. It’s just not my strong suit and I am working with a digital marketing team to get a schedule going so that it is easier for me.
How does your relationship to the ocean inspire you in creating your business? I have loved fashion and wanted to start my own business for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I saw a need in one of my other passions, surfing, that Hakuna Wear started. The ocean and surfing inspire everything about Hakuna Wear, especially the sense of freedom and belonging the ocean provides, our swimwear is designed to help you experience that fully.
In what ways are you striving to be a more ocean-friendly company? We take feedback on how we can be better seriously. For example, initially we were using poly bags to protect each individual piece, they help keep things looking professional, folded, and clean. But some friends were upset about it and challenged our thinking, so we stopped using them. We thought it was going to be a mess with our inventory, but it has actually been no big deal. So if you have suggestions, reach out, we are always open and willing to research alternatives.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of your business? I love when customers try on our suits and it’s got technical features and comfort they have never experienced before. It makes the long hours worth it, I love providing a product that gives someone that little extra joy in themselves and their body.