After searching for a high-waisted bathing suit in 2013, Altrichia Cook decided to make her own. The strong response to her suit inspired to launch her swimwear line Allusions by A.Lekay Swimwear. In just two years the brand has women feeling sexy in a two-piece around the world, including Nicki Minaj. See how this determined single mom inspires women through style.

Name: Altrichia “A.Lekay” Cook

Age: 28

Title: CEO / Owner, Allusions by A.Lekay Swimwear

Hometown: Lakeland, FL

Twitter: @allusionsbabe

LinkedIn: Altrichia “A.Lekay” Cook

Instagram: @allusionsbyalekay

The gig: I am the owner and designer of luxury swimwear brand, Allusions by A.Lekay Swimwear. I design highwaist swimwear and am responsible for every spectrum of my brand from sourcing the fabrics to overseeing the production.

The journey: After aimlessly looking for a high waist swimsuit that masked my  abdominal imperfections from child bearing in 2013, I took matters into my own hands! I designed my very own swimsuit. Working closely with a tailor, my design was brought to life and by huge surprise, my very own business, Allusions by A.Lekay Swimwear, was born.  As I uploaded photos from my trip, many of my followers and friends inquired about where I had gotten my suit from and the idea of it becoming a business sparked!

Becoming a business owner: When I thought that I could capitalize on this idea, I did some research, had my attorney friend to draft a contract and hit the ground running. I used social media and my ambition and I contracted with a tailor. Six months later I debuted at New York fashion Week. I made some buddies and we still keep in contact. We truly rise by lifting others.

Confessions of a teen mom: At age 17, just one month before I graduated high school, I found out that I was pregnant from my high school sweetheart. I was class president, cheer captain and homecoming queen. I had already been accepted into Florida State University and was determined to still go. I had my son that December. I attended classes, worked two jobs and took care of my son. After college, I relocated to my hometown Lakeland, FL to work as a Probation Officer, supervising misdemeanor offenders. Many of my clients were young girls and mothers that were unsure of their aspirations and needed guidance. 

Her best advice: To embrace failure. As children we are taught to not fail. To me failing is not just a report card grade; its growing pains and lessons.

Her biggest career accomplishment: I have women email me about how they are so inspired and uplifted by my story of true fearlessness. One customer expressed her excitement to wear a two-piece swimsuit again after 20 years. Then the Queen Rap Nicki Minaj graced the cover of Cosmopolitan in my design this summer!

Her tech must-haves: I love my ipad, selfie stick and the Express tech portable charger clutch!

Her beauty bag: Maybelline FIT me!, Laura Mercier Mascara, Chanel lip gloss and Bare Minerals Foundation Powder!

Her boss accessory: A fitted blazer. Love the ones at ZARA!

Her mantra: Oprah once said, “In life, you only get what you have the courage to ask for!” I have learned that people will only be able to help me, if I ask for it!

Her theme songs: “Eye of Tiger” by -Katy Perry and “Boss” by 5th Harmony

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