Hakuna Title 9 Interview For Women Who Run The Show, Run Their Mouth and Occasionally Run Wild
You may remember that recently Hakuna Wear was a finalist and runner up in Title Nine’s Pitchfest. Title Nine creates and curates “the world’s best athletic clothing and women’s workout clothes, made for women who run the show, run their mouth and occasionally run wild.” They are “dedicated to providing athletic wear women need whether they’re training for a race or just squeezing in time for a workout.” The outdoor apparel brand supports female business owners annually with a pitch competition where woman-owned brands compete to have their products sold online on Title Nine's store. The winner earns the moniker Title Nine Mover and Maker, and a spot for their products to be sold online at titlenine.com.
We recently had the chance to ask Hakuna Wear's founder Jessica Boynton to share her experience with Pitchfest - what she’s learned so far and what mountains she has yet to climb.
How did you become involved in Title Nine’s Pitchfest?
I heard about the brand through a consultant I worked with, she mentioned how she always buys her swimwear from them. I've been following them and waiting for a moment to participate in the community. When I saw PitchFest 2020 applications I applied immediately.
What did you learn by participating in the Title Nine’s Pitchfest? Did anything you learn change how you think about or act on anything in your business or life?
After listening to all the support of women owned businesses, I really started to analyze my perspective. Part of Hakuna Wear is being inclusive, never making any of our customers or supporters feel excluded or like they couldn't be a part of our community. That includes men, and so we promote supporting both equally. However, after working with Title Nine, I started to see how that view is similar to saying "all businesses matter" and of course they do. But until we have the number of businesses owned by women representative of the population of women, "Women owned businesses matter".
On a more business level, it was really great to get to pitch, meet all of these awesome entrepreneurs, and feel empowered to take the leap when Hakuna Wear is ready. I feel like I have a community of mentors to go to now, and that is an incredibly valuable asset.
How does Hakuna Wear’s values intersect with Title Nine’s?
We have so much in common with Title Nine's values and mission. We feel so honored to have been selected to be a finalist and a runner up!
1) Building community, we are more than a swimsuit
2) Empowering women through fashion and beyond
4) Celebrating functional products
5) Inclusivity and celebrating difficult women
I have to say Title Nine’s line, “for women who run the show, run their mouth and occasionally run wild” and their practice of celebrating difficult women soothes my soul in a way I can’t quite express. Cussing, messy hair, barefeet and not doing what I’m “supposed to” has been a cornerstone in my life, so to see this revered by those outside of my sacred circle is a breath of fresh air and one of the reasons we love you both so much.
Title Nine’s Values in Action
"We believe a fit woman is fit for everything. Fit to run, fit to lead, fit to win. But we know there’s a reason why they say that talk is cheap, so we’re putting our money where our mouths are. In the end, we’ve found that the women we meet and the lives we affect do so much more to inspire us than we could possibly do for them. But we’ll keep trying."
I was taken by this Title Nine’s Values in Action. What is your take on “a fit woman is fit for everything”?
To me, this reminds me of the reason I got into being "fit" which was a mental health thing. I realized when I exercised I felt better. A lot of that for me was through running because it helped me push through when it was difficult or painful. That mentality carries me through the day and makes me realize that training your brain to push through can be really helpful to make sure you are "fit for everything" in a sense. Discovering this correlation has been huge for my ability to overcome the tough days mentally and physically.
This is fun. It reminds me of David Goggins - the ultra-endurance athlete - and how he says to be mentally tough you must do something you hate every day and that he doesn’t stop when he’s tired, he stops when he’s done.
What type of women inspire you? What do they inspire you to do differently than if you didn’t run across them?
Women who live their passion. They inspire me to live my passion. There have been so many women that I have run across and hearing about their leap into working on their passion full time helps me to continue to believe in myself and our mission and eventually take the leap.
Please fill in the blank. Companies are in a unique position to help women ___________. What do you think the steps are that companies can take to achieve this?
love themselves. Companies can take a lot of steps to achieve this by discontinuing to prey on people's insecurities of looks and play more to making women feel amazing in their own skin. That is what Hakuna Wear is all about, we want you to think of your body as this amazing and powerful part of you that helps you do all the things you want. Our swimwear is designed to celebrate the functionality of your body to help you feel that way.
1) Use inclusive marketing
2) Stay away from marketing benefits that involve physical appearance
3) Use models that showcase people in their element with diversity and relatability
Awesome! Let’s do another one. I’d love to see women achieve _____________ in my lifetime. How can Hakuna Wear help foster an environment where this can happen? How can individuals?
Confidence. Hakuna Wear fosters confidence by providing an environment of inclusivity, using real water women as our models, hosting a weekly surf meet up to build a community of support in the ocean, promoting be free to be you, and celebrating the function of our bodies. Cause we are all powerful women, worthy of the love we want to have!
Individually, constantly think about how you treat women in your life, what you think about the women in your life, and make sure you are always aware that growing up in a sexist culture means that we all have work to do to overcome sexism, personally and societally. We can build confidence by showing up for the women in our lives.
This gives me the chills. It conjures for me a picture of all womankind really knowing themselves without outside influence and wearing it fully. It reminds me of a question someone wonderful once asked and that I go back to often: What will it look like when you start accepting yourself as is? And then what if we all did? It would truly change everything. Bravo for being on the march to get there.
What are the mountains you have yet to climb a) in business b) in sports and/or c) in your personal life?
Mountains to climb:
In business: eventually get the courage and calculated risk to take a leap and quit my full time job to pursue Hakuna Wear.
Sports: Learn to get comfortable getting smashed, aka trying to get barreled.
Personal life: Believe in my vision and not let every criticism or feedback get me down or question my vision.
This is exactly why we love to love Hakuna Wear. For propagating a spirit of digging deep for what is right, and healing, and joyful. For rising by lifting others. This is the kind of thinking we can put our consumer dollars and energy behind. We’re here for it and we have a feeling everyone else will be soon, too.