Boss Ladies / Inspiration

Boss Ladies | Ali Hynek

02.02.17
Alejandra Hynek is the Founder & Creative Director of Nena & Co., a one-of-a-kind artisan handbag company featuring the work of Guatemalan artists. 
Growing up I really wanted to be
A fly girl on the show In Living Color.

My most-used emojis are
The blushing smiley face and the windy eye and tongue out face.

My go-to order at a coffee shop is
I prefer fresh pressed juice! Anything with ginger is my go to!

I don’t know how I ever lived without

Smart phones. I’m sure a lot of people say that but remember when we used to call 411 for a number or an address?

One thing people don’t know about me is
As the owner of Nena & Co. one thing people may or may not know is that I’m actually half Guatemalan!  A love for my heritage is the true reason behind starting my brand.

My real life hero is
My mom is an example of selflessness unconditional love. Once I became a mother, seeing her qualities were even more impressive. 

What I love about my work is

Being able to be creative! I love starting a project and seeing it completed. More than anything I love working with the people of Guatemala. It’s humbling to work with these gracious people.

The hardest thing about my work is
Running a business. It can’t always be fun and creative. In fact, it’s very intense and stressful. And now that I have triplets, it’s difficult to find balance in being a new mom and running a successful company.

How I got started with my current career
After a visit to Guatemala to see family I felt like it was the right time in my life where I could make a difference in others lives by creating opportunities for them that they might not otherwise have. I had recently gotten married and was committed to not entering another male dominated office. I wanted to work with creative people who had a positive outlook on life. I wanted to work with people that motivated and inspired me. Creating Nena & Co. has done that for me in more ways than one.

The dumbest thing I did when I was starting out

Hire people out of desperation. Sometimes it’s better to go without than to hire the wrong person. It creates so many more problems in the long run!

My typical day looks like
First thing is to feed the triplets around 7am. They go right back to bed and then I hop on my emails for about 2.5 hrs. I feed the babies again with my nanny and then pack one of the babies up and we head to my office. I schedule meetings ahead of time so people are prepared for the short amount of time I have at the office. I currently focus on product development, marketing strategy and sales. I have small teams in each department that I work with. I usually stay until the baby is ready to head home (I keep them on a pretty good sleep schedule so we all keep our sanity). Then the cycle repeats itself! Feed babies, play time, put them to bed and work while they nap! 

I used to think success meant

I used to think it meant money, but after being in the work force I realize success is finding happiness in what you do. We all need money of course, but if you can find something you take great joy in as well…I think you’ve been successful.

An example of when I had to push through my insecurities was when
I haven’t been formally trained in what I do, and many times I’ve felt insecure. But the best advice I’ve heard is “do what you know, talk about what you know.” When you are trying to sell something you know, you most likely know best. Trusting your gut is sometimes a hard lesson but one I now appreciate!

I know my work/life balance is out of sync when
Feeling guilty is a characteristic most women have. I try to steer clear of that feeling as much as I can. So when I start to feel down, I ask myself, “What could I do to NOT feel guilty about this?”  I want to be the one feeding my babies and playing with them when they are awake. So I work when they are sleeping. Or I take one of the triplets to work with me so I at least get to spend time with just that one baby.

The last time I created something I was proud of was

Now I can say the thing I’m most proud of are my 5 month old triplets! But in work I would say, creating sustainable work for talented and deserving artisans in Guatemala that otherwise would not have the opportunity to earn fair wages and provide consistently for their family.

I wish I could tell my younger self
You will make a lot of mistakes. Don’t dwell on them. Learn from them. Most are not permanent and they will lead you to greater things.

The legacy I hope to leave is
Beautiful children who contribute to this world in a positive way.

XO,
Ali

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