Know your worth. As a young female with no background in fashion, I cannot tell you how many people have tried to undervalue my opinions and voice. But I am confident in my knowledge of what women want and how to support them. This really became apparent with our joggers. I chose to work with a production team of a very high caliber. They really were not confident and the direction I wanted to go with the fabric and fit of the joggers. I stuck to my guns and turns out they are our biggest seller.
Allie Lindenmuth is the founder of Anook Athletics, the first of its kind activewear brand for expecting and new mothers. As both a veteran of the nonprofit space and prenatal yoga teacher, Allie’s career has always been rooted in giving back to the community. When she became pregnant and had her first child in 2016, Allie’s eyes were opened to the pressures new mothers face. She sought a way to support women through all of the challenges motherhood brings — and Anook Athletics was born. Launched in Fall 2019, the brand helps women defy expectations, live actively and unapologetically, and find empowerment through community. To learn more, visit http://anookathletics.com.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Allie! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have a background in nonprofit work and have taught yoga for the last 10 years. I have really focused my energy on supporting mamas over the last decade and it just felt right that this would be the next step. When I became pregnant and a mom in 2016 I noticed the complete lack of athletic wear for pregnant and nursing moms. What did exist did not feel like high quality to me and honestly felt like an afterthought. I set out to change this and put together a team with backgrounds ranging from Nike to Lululemon.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The women I have met along the way has been the most interesting part about this journey. My entire team works remotely and while it was not completely intentional, they are all mamas. Our team is based in Portland, Denver, LA, Santa Barbara and Austin. We have women all over the country who are interested in this brand and helping it to succeed. It is crazy how helpful and excited everyone has been to watch this company launch and how quickly they are to jump in.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Honestly, I have made more mistakes than I can count. I come from a public health and yoga teacher background. I know literally nothing about fashion besides what I love and what I think many women want in a product. The lingo, International holidays that affect production calendars, and manufacturing process…it is all so new! The entire journey has been one of the biggest learning curves I have ever faced. The biggest lesson I have learned is to meet every obstacle with grace. I do not know what I do not know, but I can always learn and move forward.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are creating something totally different than what is already out there. By providing moms stylish athleticwear for all stages of their journey, we are filling a major gap in the market. We are focusing on moms and their needs. Unfortunately, moms are usually the ones who get forgotten once the baby arrives. We want to change this.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are currently working on our second collection that will be geared towards more high impact workouts. A lot of moms find they can keep up with most of their pre pregnancy activities during pregnancy and postpartum, but do not feel supported by the garments they are wearing. We are looking to change this. Women can do it all and we want to highlight this strength!
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Transparency. When you are able to meet your team with an honest and authentic voice, it cuts the drama.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Connection. I think having everyone on the same page and having a clear direction defined is crucial. It is so easy for everyone to go off on their own and to lose site of the brand/goal. I think this is where mistakes are made. While individuality and independence are so important, knowing that you are apart of a team and all work together is immensely valuable. I believe in connecting daily or weekly with your team to access goals and needs.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband. He believed in me and my idea and really pushed me to take the leap to start my own business. As an entrepreneur he was used to taking risks and ensured me that whatever happened as a company, we would be ok as a family. He has always stood up for me in a masculine world that wants to define my company as a pet project.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We live in a society where many women feel alone; where societies have shifted from a tribe mentality to an I can do it all alone mentality. It truly takes a village to raise a child. We want to offer community to all women and mothers during one of the most vulnerable times in a woman’s life…motherhood. Our brand goes beyond a product. We are here to make shifts in how we view motherhood, community and women’s health.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why.
- Stay focused and remember your brand identity. In the beginning we made sure to spend a good portion of our budget on branding. It helped tremendously in understanding our brand so that we could clearly define who we are as a company. I’ll never forget when the lead at the branding agency said, “if you stick to your branding guide, you will succeed. If you stray, I cannot guarantee anything.” I think having a clear focus is crucial. It gives a roadmap for the entire team.
- Know your worth. As a young female with no background in fashion, I cannot tell you how many people have tried to undervalue my opinions and voice. But I am confident in my knowledge of what women want and how to support them. This really became apparent with our joggers. I chose to work with a production team of a very high caliber. They really were not confident and the direction I wanted to go with the fabric and fit of the joggers. I stuck to my guns and turns out they are our biggest seller.
- Find people smarter than you to work with. I am a firm believer in working with people who are more experienced in their specialties than you. Everyone can’t be the best at everything. Because of this I have found and brought on people who specialize in their fields. It can be incredibly hard to let go of all control over your business baby but trust is huge in finding success.
- Have fun and set boundaries. When you own your own business it is incredibly easy to get lost in the work. As a mom, I end up feeling guilty by the amount of time I spend working when I could be spending time with my son. It often times leaves me depleted. But a good friend reminded me to look at my business like a good friendship. I need to create boundaries and remember that it will grow with time. This allows me to meet my relationship with my company clearly and honestly excited to see it.
- Be honest and clear communication. I have learned that the team you work with throughout the growth of your company will evolve. It is best to define your needs up front and listen to those of the person you are working with. I find that this ends up cutting out assumptions which only leads to disappointments.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Promoting movement for all. As a society I feel like we are inundated with the image of what active people look like. It is usually a toned white male or female in their 20s and 30s. I want to create a movement that inspires all demographics, abilities and shapes to move their bodies. For Anook Athletics, this will be promoting women of all skin tones, socio economic statuses, body sizes and ages to move their bodies in an authentic and meaningful way. To move from a place of letting go of perception and into a place where we are tapping into our true nature. Movement and health are directly related to one another. I want women to know that even if they cannot purchase our product that we can move together as a community of women as being a part of our #anookoutercircle
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
You Are Not Everyone’s Cup Of Tea :
The world is filled with people who, no matter what you do, no matter what you try, will simply not like you. But the world is also filled with those who will love you fiercely. The ones who love you they are Your People. Don’t waste your finite time and heart trying to convince the people who aren’t your people that you have value. They will miss it completely. They won’t buy what you are selling. Don’t try to convince them to walk your path with you because you will only waste your time and your emotional good health. You are not for them and they are not for you. You are not their cup of tea and they are not yours. Politely wave them along and you move away as well. Seek to share your path with those who recognize and appreciate your gifts, who you are. Be who you are. You are not everyone’s cup of tea and that is OK.
I have always struggled with being a people pleaser. But it is incredibly important for me to be my authentic self. You can’t please everyone and be your true self. I want Anook to encourage women to be their authentic selves. We all need a little reminder sometimes that it is ok to not please everyone. When we try to please everyone we lose sight of our dreams and direction. When we move confidently in the direction of our aspirations, we are able to make a greater impact.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Whitney Wolfe Herd. I am really inspired by how she has created such an incredibly impactful community. Her business is focused and expansive at the same time. I thinks she is able to engage in the conversation of her biggest beliefs without being offensive. I want our company to have a strong voice but also be approachable for all. I think she is definitely someone to look up to.