About this episode

Nena & Co. makes unique one-of-a-kind artisan purses, bags, and accessories. This week the founder of Nena & Co., Ali Hynek, unpacks her startup journey for us. While her company may be known for beautiful bags and accessories, the heart of the company is to support individuals and families in Guatemala by helping to create sustainable income opportunities for everyone they work with. They are changing the lives and future for all the individuals and families that serve them to bring these bags to market.

I learned about Nena & Co. from a listener who reached out to me to inform me of the company's HUGE fan base. In fact, the fans call themselves the Nena-verse. Ali and the Nena team release bags for sale every Friday morning and Friday evening. They are sold out within minutes.

So why do they just release products on Fridays? Everything is made by hand in Guatemala, Mexico, and Morocco. When it comes to growth challenges, you’ll hear that Ali will point to manufacturing as the greatest challenge.

Ali’s story is incredible for many reasons. One key thing that makes Ali’s story rise above the rest is just how deep entrepreneurship is rooted in her family. In fact, I might need to invite Ali’s mom on an episode of her own. This is Ali Hynek’s startup story.

In this episode, you’ll hear

  • About her earliest memory of her parents owning a pinata company
  • While her parents were entrepreneurs, the idea of becoming one herself never occurred to her; instead she went to college in Hawaii and took longer than anticipated to finish
  • How she found out travel was one of her passions (traveling to 60 countries has something to do with it!)
  • Her story of trying to figure out what she was passionate about, including people and culture
  • About the time she tried to get a job at Lululemon and they wouldn’t hire her, but Restoration Hardware did
  • The experience and lessons about customer service she learned from her time at Restoration Hardware
  • How her struggle with infertility led her in the direction of Guatemala and the beginnings of Nena & Co.
  • The early days of Nena & Co., arranging to buy bags from Guatemala, setting up a website, and selling and shipping merchandise from her home in Orange Co.
  • Having an intimate knowledge of her buyer persona, how it has affected the growth of Nena & Co., and how she markets the products to her customers
  • There is so much power in asking your personal network to simply help support you
  • Her start on Instagram and the story behind how and why she began to start doing sales on Fridays
  • Having someone believe in you is helpful, but belief in yourself is true empowerment

“As entrepreneurs we do not do a very good job at celebrating the small victories along the way.” – Ali Hynek

Resources from this episode

The Startup Story LIVE! May 7th in Dallas. Tickets on sale now → http://startupstorylive.com

Creedon: Legal partners you want as you build your business and brand. Listeners get a 30-minute brand consultation + $200 discount on a trademark application. Visit http://creedonpllc.com/startupstory

Brex: The credit card specifically for startups. Visit http://www.brex.com.
Listeners, use code StartupStory and get fees waived for life!

Nena & Co.: https://www.nenaandco.com/
Nena & Co. on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nenaandco/?hl=en
Nena & Co. Society on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nenaandcomvp/
Ali Hynek on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ali-hynek-62462a132/

The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory/
The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/

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If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.

He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world.

Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory

Special Guest: Ali Hynek.

Listen Now

February 25 2020
Ali Hynek, founder of Nena & Co.

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