Meet Millennial Swimwear Designer Altcichia Cook

Meet Millennial Swimwear Designer Altrichia Cook

(Image: Allusions by A.Lekay)

(Image: Allusions by A.Lekay)

How much capital did it take to start your businesses and what 3 big steps did you take to begin ?

Upon relocating home, I stayed with my parents to save and relocate to Atlanta. When I returned home from Puerto Rico, I uploaded photos from the trip on Facebook and Instagram. I received simultaneous comments and messages inquiring about my suit. Immediately, I knew that this would be my business. Prior to my trip, as a believer, I prayed and asked god to help me create a business to efficiently create revenue for myself. So when I received immediate response and inquiry about the suit that was mine,  I heard a voice from heaven tell me “this is your business.”  It was on a Tuesday afternoon, and I knew that this would be it. Instantly, the name and everything came to me. I knew it was God sent. As I had been working since July 2011, I had money saved. I took about $3,000.00 to purchased fabrics, create a website and pay my manufacture to start my business.  I did some research, purchased samples of textiles and fabrics, I consulted with several business owners and a local fashion school.  Upon creating an unplanned business, I relied heavily on social media, the same entity that helped me even think about this as a business, to promote, advertise and sell my product.

What were some of your biggest fears during your time of transition into entrepreneurship? How did you overcome them?

I have come across so many quotes, and heard so many people say, “you shouldn’t be afraid to fail.” To hear it sounds a bit absurd. I say this because, as children, we are taught not to fail and to never give up. Naturally, even as a 25 year old, when I started my business in March 2013,  I was fearful as first, because once I had put it out that I was starting my business, especially without it being planned and not necessarily having everything in order and just going for it, I was afraid to fail. Now, I know and truly understand, that we must embrace failure. Embrace failure to learn the things to do better. I have always been fearless in setting out to do whatever I wanted to do, but this was different. I overcame the fear of failure by being told no so much .  When I knew that this would be my business, I had already thought in terms of global. For this, even without a proper marketing plan, I reached out to magazines and never heard back. When I followed up, I continued to hear, “no, not now, this isn’t a good fit.” To me, that simply meant, “not right now,” I kept pushing. Additionally, when I successfully, completed my 4-year degree, while working full-time and raising my son, I think that prepared me for this.

What was your big “aha” moment as a fashion designer?

Biggest “aha” moment? I have a few. My first biggest “aha” moment was September 2013. I had been in business for just 6 months and I submitted for New York Fashion Week. It took almost a month before I heard back. Showcasing in fashion’s most anticipated event and only being established for just 6 months was overwhelming for me. Seeing my designs on the runway and having bloggers interview me and even having customers internationally all under one year was truly an “aha” moment. My next big “aha” moment was when I was fortunate to connect with Cosmopolitan Magazine and collaborate with the Executive Fashion Editor. She loved my brand and it’s underlying message, “to empower women to live life fierce and fearlessly,” I sent pieces to them and Nicki Minaj graced the cover of the July 2015 issue in one of my exclusive pieces! It was jaw dropping to see.

Marketing is a large part of business. How did you get your swimwear in the hands of Nikki Minaj?

Back to being fearless. In my quest for success, even when I was a mother, in college raising my son at age 18, I knew that in order for others to know your desires, you must let them know. Using strategy in communicating my vision as a business owner, I try to think outside the box. I attended a conference that Cosmo hosted and introduced myself to their staff. I then followed up and it happened just like that, I was fearless to introduce myself and then I followed up. She had already had the pieces in an attachment that she loved and referred to Nicki Minaj as “the model” and gave her measurements, and not knowing at the time it was Nicki Minaj, I was just ecstatic to collaborate. I knew that that was a great chance that my designs would be worn by a pop culture star.

Why is it important for you to empower women and what do you want them to feel while wearing you unique designs?

To empower women is so very important to me because, as women, not only are we the minority, but no one understands us, like us! In a society where we are not always given a fair chance, to me, lifting each other up and striving for unity will allow us to conquer the world. In addition, women have such a strong influence that when we are unified, the unification grows; a unified community, a unified, economy and unified nation–more than anything else, girls rule. Because we are women it is so necessary to speak life into our sisters, to encourage them, support them and to be honest with each other.  I truly believe that, individually we are all powerful, but together we can conquer the world.  We need more of women empowering women, especially when naturally we are emotionally driven and jealousy, enviousness, and hate is so much easier to do, raising the standard and empowering each other will flourish.