Name: Altrichia Cook
Occupation: Founder/Creator, Allusions by A. Lekay Swimwear
A mother at 18, I have learned to appreciate my life’s journey so far. I raised my son, worked two jobs and maintained full time student status at Florida State University for my Bachelor’s and Florida A&M University for my Master’s degrees- all because of determination! I had a lot of sleepless nights, even times where I literally cried myself to sleep. Life is not easy, and those who seem to have an easy life are constantly working and creating ways to expand. All in a short amount of time, Altrichia started her swimwear collection and landed an NYFW runway two years in a row.
What was the inspiration behind creating Allusions swimwear? Was this always something you wanted to do?
Allusions by A.Lekay initially conceptualized as a personal idea with no intention of it evolving into a business entity. The idea was to simply mask abdominal imperfections from child bearing. I had my son at 18, all throughout college for spring break vacations and summer getaways, I was never able to wear a 2- piece bikini as my abdominal imperfections discouraged me. In March of 2013, I was preparing for a vacation to San Juan, PR and I had ordered some high-waist swimsuits, but the suits were not high enough to accommodate my situation. I then took matters into my own hands. I designed my very own and consulted with my tailor to have it produced. The rest, within just 19 months, has become history!
How did you put your plan together?
I have always desired to be my own boss! Upon relocating back to my hometown of Lakeland, FL to work as a probation officer, I decided that this job would not be my end. I explored business ideas from owning a trucking company to establishing a child care learning facility. I began diligently seeking ideas, and ways to start my own business.
It wasn’t until March 2013, when I visited San Juan, PR, [posted photos of the swimsuit I designed for myself on my social networks and receiving tons of questions from friends] about where could they purchase my swimsuit from. It was as if a light bulb went off and the business idea immediately hit me! I did some research and hit the ground running. I never looked back!
What is a day like for you?
My days are unconventional. Although most of the same things occur each day, my days are very thorough. As as a mother, employee and business owner, I start each day as early as 5:45AM and end as late at 1:00AM. As a mother, I must balance and devote time to my son, Anthony Jr., from sending him off to school in the mornings to reading and completing homework assignments in the evenings.
In addition to being super mom, I am currently a probation officer and work 7 AM to 5:30 PM, four days a week. Balancing the dynamics of my business on down time throughout the day, my days are eventful, non-stop. During my work hours, I supervise probation clients, conduct intake appointments, prepare and process legal documents. In the evenings, I am making dinner, ensuring his homework is complete, football practice and preparation for the next day. Once that portion of motherly duties has been delivered (and technically, they are never ending) I spend time following up with customer related queries, working with my team regarding an array of branding ideas, marketing strategies, and proposals. I also try to schedule interviews with bloggers and journalists in the evenings. In the meantime, I am thinking of new designs that are relevant with the fashion trends. I dedicate time to my community. I realize that my life’s purpose not only involves me, but it involves how much I am a service to others. My involvement for each community association involves volunteer work from monthly meetings to coordinating events.
How has life changed for you since creating Allusions?
Since Allusions by A.Lekay Swimwear, my life has changed. Definitely more consumed in my dreams. Through developing my business I truly learned and identified my passion. As a business owner, of course generating revenue is top priority and in addition to that, my business allows me a platform to empower, uplift, and encourage other women, men, boys and girls. In life, we must embrace life as we have it; we must create what we want our future to be and how we want it to look. After that, we must execute the necessary duties to have whatever we want!
Since March 2013, I have truly identified the power of social media, the importance of networking. All in all my life has changed for the better. From every accomplishment, to every lesson that I have learned, to all that I can improve upon. The accomplishments I have earned has reinforced true belief in my personal quote, there are infinite possibilities to those who are determined. A lot can happen in one year!
What is faith to you?
To me, faith is putting all of your trust, confidence and unwavering belief into something or someone.
Website: Allusions by A. Lekay
Thank you for sharing your story Altrichia!