CEO and Founder, Ahna Hendrix. Photo by Lindsey A. Miller
What is your position with Anahata?
I am the founder and CEO of Anahata Swimwear. My own personal challenges with finding swimwear led me to the idea for AS, and I'm excited to watch it evolve and help women see how beautiful they are - as they are.
Where are you from?
I am from Kansas City, Missouri - far from a beach. My parents moved to North Carolina when I was very young, so I grew up in the mountains of NC. Again, far from the beach, haha.
How did you get started with Anahata?
At the end of yet another uncomfortable and unsuccessful bathing suit hunt in 2016, I left the store beating my body up, thinking up the next diet I'd try or ways I could cover up.
But then I saw how wrong it was to be so cruel to myself. And even more, how screwed up it was that I was basing my self-worth on the inconsistencies of size when a S/M/L/XL hasn't ever fit me correctly. Every woman has a unique shape, but bathing suits rarely appreciate that. And the process of finding the suit that does is maddening.
I'm Latin, i.e. curvy, so my bottoms are often XL while my top is XS, and I know this is a universal problem for women. So I decided to change it. But not just change the physical product, change the way we view ourselves in it. The swimwear industry needs an overhaul, and Anahata Swimwear's mission is focused on changing it.
What are some of your favorite things to do/hobbies?
I'm a nerd, so my "hobbies" aren't cool, haha. I love listening to business/leadership podcasts, writing poetry or journaling, exercising (we all need sanity), spending time with my loved ones (probably my #1), trying new foods, traveling to new places, meeting new people, networking events, brainstorming about business, and geeking out with my entrepreneurial friends.
Business is my life, but when you love it, it's never a chore.
What is one interesting/shocking/fun fact about yourself?
I have intense social anxiety, i.e. I'm super shy. People never know it though, and that's because I made a decision to hide it at a young age. I knew it wouldn't serve me, so I put energy towards ignoring it. But I'm not always successful.
Who is someone you look up to?
I'm very cautious about having idols, heroes or anything of that nature. We're all human, all fall short, and a hero will eventually let you down. So instead, I fall in love with small things in people, and then there's always something to admire.
But with regards to Anahata and what we're all about, I would say that I admire my sister. Regardless of who's tried to put her down, told her to cover herself up or tried to destroy her self-confidence, she continues to accept who she is and how her body was made. We both have thick legs (thanks to our heritage) and one day she told me that she didn't like her legs, but she refuses to cover them up and not enjoy them. I LOVE that about her.
We can all learn from that perspective.
What is your guilty pleasure food?
Hah! Where do I start? Loveeee food. So, pizza, peanut butter (out of the jar with a spoon!), ice cream, cereal, and cookies. Besides peanut butter, I can't buy these items or I will eat them ALL. And sometimes, that's a-okay.
What is your ideal way to relax and unwind?
Family time. Reading. Wine and conversation with friends. Quiet time. Exercise. Annnnd movies. I'm not good at relaxing, but I'm better than I used to be!
What is your favorite thing about Anahata?
One thing? Pfft. Honestly, it's the honor of being given the dream to build it.
We all look for purpose in our lives and whenever building AS gets tough, I sit back and think about all the things that are most important to me, and they all fall in line with what we're creating in AS.
It's a pleasure to work with amazing women. It's a joy to be so challenged. It's incredible to be learning so much. And it will be a pleasure to watch it unfold over the coming years.
In all things with Anahata Swimwear, I am forever grateful for the opportunity.