Each journey, trip, or vacation you take is as unique as you, and Akinda Johnson believes that your outfit should be too. Akinda Co. transforms your outfit into an experience to compliment your travel. They design timeless, modern luxury to reimagine the travel wardrobe and inspire spontaneity. The design house started with the bodysuit, thoughtfully created to be worn from the beach to brunch with versatility at its forefront.
Using traditional manufacturing and high-end craftsmanship in Los Angeles Akinda Co. creates premium suits from top-quality materials. Each detail has been thoughtfully designed to bring comfort and elegance to the customer, so they can travel with no extra baggage (literally, pack less with this multi-purpose bodysuit).
The core mission of this premium lifestyle brand is to outfit women for the world ahead so that they can focus on experiencing the moment. Akinda Co. keeps packing simple by creating elevated essentials that mix and match to meet any occasion.
Where did the idea for Akinda Co.come from?
Our story began when I was long-distance with my partner and living several states away from my family. With an intense schedule, packing was the last thing on my mind. Yet, just nights before each trip I would spiral into a frenzy, clothing piled at my feet, trying to curate a special wardrobe. Whether it was a weekend in LA, hiking in the Rockies, or walking the hills of San Francisco I craved outfits that complimented my unique experiences.
I started Akinda Co. to create a hand-curated travel wardrobe to empower women to simply live in the moment.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am a planner, so each day begins with a reflection on my greater plan broken into daily mini-plans. A typical day involves working on the product for the next collection, whatever stage it is at from conception to production; creating content; and strategizing marketing.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am all about testing fast and bringing ideas to life that focus on the main goal. If an idea comes up we will evaluate its potential to help our main goal, usually growing sales, and assess the resources needed to make it happen. If we can quickly ideate, test, and learn we will move forward with the idea. I strongly believe that innovation happens in the smallest of changes, so I push to never feel too comfortable with current methodologies.
What’s one trend that excites you?
A return to a focus on quality. When it cost more to create a product fast-fashion companies like Ralph Lauren and Zara cut costs by price bucketing items and gutting quality. This tactic makes a silk dress, strappy sandals, and a tote all cost the same $19.99 – realistically, the quality and demand of each item should dictate price and reflect longevity.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
With starting a company there are really no set work hours, so to take a breather and regroup, I make sure I cook a meal at least once a day. I love the feeling of completing a project and being in control of the outcome, something I don’t always get in business, so making a meal is highly rewarding and something I’ve been doing since I was young. Taking an hour to prepare a meal, cook it, and clean up may sound like wasted time, but it’s so grounding that I’ve made it part of my daily routine.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Just start. I constantly tell myself, “if not me, then who?” If I want to make something happen, I have to do it. To be a self-starter you have to take risks, and as a perfectionist, I have learned to just start rather than ponder scenarios.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The work that goes unseen often is more important than what is seen. As an entrepreneur, the hustle, the grind, and daily life are all remarkably commendable, but not what our customers see. However, this doesn’t mean we need to flaunt the #startupgrind across social media – show your hustle through measured success and outcome.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Stay creative, flex your brain in new ways. We are all in unique industries, but as entrepreneurs, we are innately creative. I try to push myself to try new things outside of the business (recipes, aerial yoga, unique concerts) to simply refresh my brain.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
A misconception about a lot of entrepreneurs is that they seek out risk. At Akinda Co. we like to think about understanding the risk and diffusing it through iterations and understanding our customers. Having the ability to innovate through calculated risks that have been proven profitable is what has helped us to iterate quickly.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
On a daily basis, there are often small failures on assumptions when you are scaling fast. The key is to focus on seeing these failures as part of an iterative process while keeping a clear grasp of the customer and our long-term goals.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I grew up on the St. Croix River outside of Minneapolis, MN where we lived for summers. Long days at the beach led to hunger, which led me to Taco ‘Boat a Party. If only there was a taco boat that cruised the river line, serving hot, delicious tacos… I’ll let you guys figure out the rest.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The most recent $100 we spent was on targeted ads that drove 96,000 people to our Instagram. Check it out @akindasuits.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Sketch. I have a background in graphic design, even so, Adobe’s complexity and level of depth is something I often do not have time for. Instead, I use Sketch to help with the day-to-day graphic design. The simplistic interface is an easy to use tool that helps me craft emails, resize images, create lookbooks, etc.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Venture Deals by Brad Feld, it is a simple and straightforward guide for fast-scaling companies to understand how to finance their business and avoid painful mistakes.
What is your favorite quote?
“Make it happen” – myself
- For the perfectionists out there – just start. If you want to make something happen you have to own the process and stop worrying about how to make the end outcome perfect. To be a self-starter you have to take risks and just start rather than pondering scenarios.
- The work that goes unseen often is more important than what is seen. As an entrepreneur, the hustle, the grind, and daily life are remarkably commendable, but not what our customers see. However, this doesn’t mean we need to flaunt the #startupgrind across social media – show your hustle through measured success and outcome.
- Stay creative by flexing your brain in new ways. As entrepreneurs, we are innately creative. Try to push yourself to try new things outside of the business (recipes, aerial yoga, unique concerts) to simply refresh the brain.
- A misconception about a lot of entrepreneurs is that they seek out risk. Try to think about understanding the risk and diffusing it through iterations and understanding your customers.