A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to meet Ali, founder and successful business owner of Nena & Co in her beautiful home. She is the mother of 3 adorable triplets who absolutely stole our hearts! What fascinated us most about Ali and her company was the mission behind her brand and her mission to give back. We asked her a few questions that we HAD to know about her and where she started.
A little about the company-
Alejandra Hynek created Nena & Co. in 2013 to bring some of her Guatemalan culture to your colorful lifestyle. In Spanish, nena means “baby girl” or “darling”. But it’s also Alejandra’s nickname. As a nena, Alejandra was taught her Guatemalan culture by her mom and abuela (grandmother). Guatemala (Guate) quickly became a magical place for Alejandra as she learned all she could about her heritage of the lush, green country. She learned how to cook all kinds of ethnic foods like tortillas, black beans, and arroz con leche (rice pudding). She also learned how to make dozens of Guate handicrafts like piñatas out of traditional patterns. After years of learning about her culture, Alejandra had a brilliant idea. She realized that Guatemala’s colorful fabrics had more to offer than she could have ever imagined. Combining her love for design with her Maya roots, Alejandra created Nena & Co., the one-of-a-kind artisan handbag company.
Today, Mayans still wear these patterns/designs on their hand-loomed huipiles (shirts) and cortes (skirts), continuing a tradition that has been passed down for centuries; however, Alejandra and her Nena & Co. artisans have modernized these works of art into handmade artisan bags and other fashionable accessories. Every product is beautifully hand- loomed and one-of-a-kind, which means that you can always find the perfect bag just for you to take on your next adventure.
“I fell in love with these textiles as a young girl and never stopped loving them. They are a true reflection of the Maya culture with patterns/designs that have tested the sands of time.” – Alejandra Hynek
Above photos by Becky Kimball
How she juggles work and life at home –
Being business owners ourselves we wanted to get some insight on how Ally strives for balance between family and work, especially with triplets.
“Striving for balance is an everyday thing for me. It doesn’t come easy and as a mom there is always guilt if I feel like I’m not figuring out how to make time for everything. But the most important thing for me is to be with my babies when they are awake and need me. I don’t want to miss a thing they do, especially right now when they are changing so much! So babies and family comes first and then business.”
Tip for entrepreneurs from Ali-
One of our top questions we had to ask was any tips for other entrepreneurs since she has been successful in her business in just a short amount of time.
Starting a new company is a lot of work so I’d say make sure you love what you are getting yourself into. Cause even then, there will be times when you want to quit. It’s important to know who you’re biggest supporters are so that you can lean on them for that positive boost that you need from time to time. It’s also good to know when to start hiring people. Sometimes when you keep yourself busy with things that aren’t your strengths, it takes away from the things you are actually good at. I personally need to focus on creative and so I try and hire really great people to help me in with other areas where my time and energy is wasted. There are so many good talented people out there but sometimes they are hard to find. Waiting for the right person is well worth it.
Ali is truly and inspiration to us and learning about her company and her mission behind it made us fall in love with her even more! Make sure you enter our HUGE giveaway with over $2,500 in prizes going on now here. You can follow along her personal feed here as well as Nena and Co here.
We want to again thank Ali and her Nena & Co for this fun collaboration!
THE LULU AND ROO TEAM