Highlander Magazine

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Volume 1 // Issue 1

Letter From the Editor Hey there, friend. Welcome to Highlander Magazine! My name is Mady Koller, and I’m the managing editor for this lovely publication. We’re new on the block, so I think an introduction is in order. Let’s start with how we got our name. You see, back in the ‘60s, a group of Utah State University students moved to make the university’s official mascot the “Highlanders” in an effort to show that USU had become more than an agriculture college. According to history, the name was a nod to our longstanding “ideological tie to Scotland,” which was largely a result of our setting “on a hill in a high mountain valley.” The Scotsman is also a product of this tie, though it caught on a lot better than the Highlanders.

I can’t think of one school that this applies to more than Utah State University. We are fiercely proud of, and loyal to, our Aggie name; no matter where you go in the world, that white and blue ‘A’ is the mark of a friend. It is my hope that as you flip through the pages of this magazine, you will feel the sense of pride that we have for our land, our culture, and our people. That’s what Highlander Magazine is all about. We may be Aggies in name, but we’re all Highlanders at heart. —M


Now, you’re probably saying, “Well, that sure is neat Mady, but we’re the Aggies now. Get with it.”

Thanks to a certain Mel Gibson movie (*cough* “Braveheart”), the Highlands of Scotland are most commonly known for their clans. These fiercely loyal, and tightly-knit groups, controlled the North of Scotland. The Highlanders fought for their land, their language, and their people. They were dedicated to preserving their culture.

Alright, so maybe we were never officially the Highlanders, but the ideals live on!

Mady Koller // Editor Hi! My name is Mady. I’m a Scorpio, and I like long walks on the beach. (I actually don’t know anything about astrology, but I do like walking and the beach.) I’m an Outdoor Product Design and Development major with a minor in Journalism, and, as you can probably guess, I love writing about the outdoors almost as much as I love being outdoors. I love climbing, hiking, camping, backpacking, paddleboarding, etc. Fun Facts: – My favorite color is any shade of blue – I love true crime podcasts – I’ve read “The Hobbit” over 20 times – I speak Croatian – My favorite genres of music are opera, ‘70s and ‘80s new wave, and depressing indie rock If you have questions or concerns, you can contact me directly via: Email: redlandia17@gmail.com Instagram: @mastermiyagi Facebook: Mady Koller

The Scottish thistle stands for strength, bravery, durability, and resilience, which is why we chose it for our logo.


Megan Nielsen // Lead Designer

// Writers

// Editors Bennett Fisher

Matthew Halton Shelby Smith Miranda Lorenc Allyson Myers

// Contributors Chase Anderson

Chelsea Morley

Hannah Madsen

Cory Griffey Amiee Griffey Kason Frigetto Veronica Villhard Zoey Marty Cale Colburn Alexa Okurlund Chantelle McCall Jacee Anderson Marissa Barlow Kästle Christensen Hannah Smith Tayla Larsen Zach Buffaloe Connor Petersen Jacob Gates Taylor Hilton Mackenzie Garrison Jason Rimando

Living Greener with True Blue Reuse // pg. 8

Shelby Black

Fire Safety // pg. 23

Adventure Spread // pg. 16

Spring Backpacking Tips // pg. 6

5 Ways to Get Outside at USU // pg. 14 USU Aquaponics // pg. 10

Q&A with Nani Swimwear // pg. 28

A Peek Into Patagonia // pg. 22

Environmental Activism through Art // pg. 18

#Vanlife-Not a Millenial Fad // pg. 26

Socks for the Adventure // pg. 24

You check the temperature, the weekend highs read a beautiful 60 degrees. Maybe, by some, this would still be considered bundle up in front of the T.V. weather, but you get ready to lace up those boots and hit the trails. Something about inhaling that fresh, crisp air makes the thirty pounds strapped to your back seem lighter; You are greeted by chirping birds and soft winds. The empty path (courtesy of those who haven’t yet pulled out of their winter slump) is yours for the taking. However, you know that as you gain elevation you’ll find you haven’t quite escaped the snow yet. Fear not, despite miles of soggy trails and chilly nights, here are some tips to share to make the most of those early spring backpacking trips.

// Chelsea Morley

Stay bear aware

Wear synthetic materials

One of the best things about springtime is all the new life that can be seen. With this, though, comes bear season. If you are headed to a bear area, make sure to follow all the proper precautions: don’t cook where sleeping quarters are set up, and keep food high up. Scent-proof bags can be purchased relatively cheap and are reusable. If frequent visits are made to bear country, it might be smart to invest in a bear canister. They may not be the most exciting piece of gear to buy, but you can’t put a price on peace of mind.


It is highly likely that if you are hiking in the mountains, you will be crossing through any combination of mud, snow, and dewy vegetation. It’s pretty hard to avoid collecting moisture along the way. Cotton and other natural fibers will absorb water much more quickly and hold onto it longer. Stick with nylons and polyesters; they dry fast, wick moisture, and even provide better UV protection.


Try out trekking poles

Spring Backpacking Tips

Slippery trails are certainly a concern with spring backpacking. If it’s late enough in the season, you may not want to deal with crampons or snowshoes. Poles provide that extra stability where traction may be of concern. Not only do they help you manage wet terrain, but they offer really great benefits for the knees and back. Some people use them yearround, just one trip you can feel a difference.

Don’t breathe in the bag With the still low temps you will almost certainly be experiencing, it can be very tempting to nuzzle into your sleeping bag. Unfortunately, this traps moisture inside, which reduces the effectiveness of the insulation. Opt to throw a hot water bottle in your bag to help warm up and cinch the bag in so you can breathe out of it.


Living Greener with True Blue Reuse // Mady Koller Picture this: it’s 2012. The Twilight Saga movies have just ended with Breaking Dawn: Part 2, and The Hunger Games have just begun. The world is bouncing back from the whole “KONY 2012” fiasco, and Macklemore has just released his hit song, “Thrift Shop.” You know the words: “I’ll wear your granddad’s clothes I look incredible I’m in this big a** coat From that thrift shop down the road.”


Over time the trend faded. For me, thrift stores went back to being used primarily for finding the most ridiculous outfits for girls’ choice dances, Halloween costumes, and cheap books. That is, until I went to college. I quickly discovered that one of the themes throughout my major was sustainability, especially as it pertains to personal lifestyle choices. I began to realize how unsustainable my own choices were and wanted to make a change. I noticed that many of my peers shopped second-hand in an attempt to be more eco-minded. Why shop new when you could shop perfectly good used? I was convinced these people were thrift wizards. They were always finding the most incredible


Did you know that Utah State has its own thrift shop right here on campus? True Blue Reuse is a secondhand store filled with clothing donated from other college students like yourself. Around finals week of Spring semester, students can donate clothes they don’t want and the store fills up with brands like Lululemon, Nike, and Levi. If you’re like me and have never heard of True Blue Reuse, you might be wondering a couple of things. Where is it? How can I donate? How can I get involved with the store? Well, let me let Zoey Marty, the current head of True Blue Reuse, answer all of those questions for you. MK: Where is it? ZM: It’s always in Mountain View Tower basement, right by the Junction and the cemetery. It’s kind of sketchy, smells kind of weird, but we’re happy with it.


In under four minutes, Macklemore redefined fashion: suddenly everyone was shopping at the local thrift store. Hand-me-down flannels and gas station wolf shirts populated schools around America, and mom jeans became all the rage. It was cool to wear clothes that once belonged to earlier generations, and it was all sold at killer prices.

pieces: vintage Pink Floyd t-shirts, brand-new Dr. Martens, trendy button ups, you name it. I, on the other hand, was more like an off-brand magician hired for children’s birthday parties when it came to thrifting. The talent for finding “the good stuff” was not one I possessed. I spent hours sifting through musty clothes designed circa 2001 (and not the good Britney Spears denim-on-denim 2001) only to come up empty-handed. I nearly gave up thrifting forever—until I found True Blue Reuse.

MK: How can I donate? ZM: We collect during finals week. We put bins out all over campus in the social areas. We do have a couple collections throughout the year, but if you want to donate you can bring it in to [the Sustainability Office] pretty much any time. MK: How can I get more involved? Can students volunteer? ZM: There’s so many opportunities. We have meetings every week in which we talk about all the events coming up. Volunteering is mostly through AggieSync, so it’s really easy to find stuff on there. Just search True Blue Reuse and you can log your hours on there. But we don’t really need a ton of volunteers until May, but come finals week it gets crazy. You can also volunteer through the Sustainability Office or go on sustainability.usu. edu/index and hit ‘contact us’ to sign up for the newsletters. Though the eco-friendly to-do list can appear to stretch for miles, organizations like True Blue Reuse are taking big steps to making that list seem a little smaller. With some luck, you could even become a thrift wizard yourself.




PONICS highlandermag.com

Plants grow in the window of the lab where students learn how to build a self-sustaining aquaponics system and raise fish with new eco-friendly methods.

Right: Professor Gary Stewardson stands with his plants that are fed by the koi fish kept in the tank.

U SU A quap o n i c s Aquaponics is taking root at Utah State University. Professor Gary Stewardson, along with USU students, have built a self-sustaining aquaponics system to grow their own crops and raise fish. The system is a sustainable innovation. Farming with aquaponics is more energy and water efficient than traditional farming methods, and crops can be grown year round. This new green technology is advancing agriculture and Utah State’s system is growing along with it. // Shelby Black Farming for the future is happening at Utah State University. USU has its own fully functioning aquaponics system­­—a system capable of growing a variety of crops more sustainably than other growing methods.


The system is ran by five main components: a sump tank, fish tank, swirl filter, grow beds and LED grow lights. These elements combine together to raise fish and grow plants at the same time.

Left: Professor Gary Stewardson’s plants grow in his aquaponics lab under purple grow lights.

The sump tank houses the water that is pumped into the fish tank and used throughout the entire system. The fish live in a large-sized tank so they can grow along with the plants. The swirl filter is the middle component that takes the solids from the fish tank and sends the nutrient-filled water to the plants. The grow bed is where the plants grow and the bacteria and nutrients feed them. Finally, the LED grow lights provide special lighting that help the plants thrive. With help from students, Gary Stewardson, professor of technology and engineering, built the self-circulating system. Stewardson learned how to run the system from watching YouTube and reading books. The system is fairly simple and runs itself well enough that most people can build one themselves. They created a version that would sustain itself and only need to be monitored by him and the other students.

The system at USU uses koi fish. It takes the waste from the fish and uses it as nutrients for the plants. The fish are fed with an automatic feeder and the plants are watered by a flood and drain system. The lights run on timers, so Stewardson gets to watch the growth occur day by day. For Stewardson, he is particularly proud of the fish in the system. “If you are worried about spilling water or killing fish, you shouldn’t be doing this. I’ve been doing this two years and haven’t lost one fish. I’m quite proud of that fact,” Stewardson said. To always keep the system in check, many students take turns recording the pH levels and status of the fish. Over the summer, Jessie Oliver, technology and engineering education major, took care of the entire system all by himself. He said it was a great learning opportunity for him. “It was a cool learning experience. I got to make the fish feeder and I realized how diligent you have to be. If you mess up it can be hard to fix it. We used litmus paper to test the pH and that was inaccurate. It took me the entire summer to get the pH back to

The technology can be used to grow a wide variety of plants. Currently the grow beds are growing tomatoes, peppers, chard, and brussel sprouts. Due to the system’s ability to control the temperature and oxygen in the water, the plants can really grow well. According to professor Stewardson, it is an “efficient way to create a protein in someone’s diet.” The system is much more sustainable than traditional farming as well. An aquaponics systems uses only about 10 percent of the water that would be used in a traditional field farming. This technology can be used in places where there is not a lot of water or poor soil and it will still yield a large amount of produce. You could feed one person or provide enought for a family. Emma Larson, technology and engineering major, said, “It’s hard because it’s a little expensive to get started but I think it will be a lot more accessible for individuals. You could have a small system with goldfish and grow lettuce year-round in the future.” The possibilities are endless when it comes to implementing aquaponics. You can grow tomatoes in the winter or have kale year-round. Oliver believes there could be several uses for aquaponics in the future. One of his ideas includes restaurants using the system to have quick access to really gourmet or specialized ingredients for dishes. He also thinks that it would be useful in highly-populated urban

areas or really disaster prone areas. The biggest place he believes aquaponics will be used is in the classroom. “It’s the right blend of technology and good old fashioned hard work that a lot of kids will learn where plants and food actually comes from,” Oliver said. One of Stewardson’s main goals for this technology is to have it be accessible for kids and teachers in schools. The aquaponics system covers most of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and will keep students interest. Stewardson also hopes that aquaponics will bring more females into the field. Emma Larson feels that she provides a unique aspect to the field. “I think sometimes I bring a different perspective to look at different ways to solve problems. But it’s fun to be surrounded by other people who are passionate about it no matter who they are,” Larson said. With the many benefits of aquaponics, it is possible there will be more systems put in place in the future. Stewardson and his students are paving the way for increased learning and education about aquaponics for youth for a more sustainable future.


“We have to constantly monitor the quality of the water to keep the system in balance. We monitor everyday, even Christmas,” Stewardson said.

a safe level. We didn’t lose any fish, but the plants got a little messed up,” Oliver said.

5 Ways to Get Outside at USU With its campus at the base of the mountains, Utah State University provides many opportunities to get involved outdoors. Whether the Wind Caves was your first hike ever or you’ve been camping all your life, there is something for everyone at USU. Here are just a few of USU’s outdoor clubs, classes, and programs to help you get outside and meet people with similar interests.. // Hannah Madsen


Canyoneering Club The USUSA Aggie Canyoneering Club helps students foster a love for the outdoors, develop the technical skills needed to safely enjoy canyoneering, and create a community of canyoneers here at Utah State University. It is for seasoned canyoneers and beginners alike. The club practices anchor building, knot tying, first aid, and map reading. They meet every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in Widtsoe Hall room 330. To join the club mailing list and learn about future trips, email aggiecanyonclub@gmail.com.

Aggie Sustainability Club If you care about the environment and are looking for ways to get involved with going green on campus, this is a great way to meet people who share your sustainability beliefs and are proactive about them. They meet every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in TSC room 332. They are currently having Meatless Monday movie night with free homemade soup every week at the library. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

Kayaking Class This class is a great way to meet other people who love the outdoors. The instructors are experienced and will work with you to help you learn proper techniques and stay safe on the water. Cale Colburn, a student in the class, said, “After a few of the in-pool sessions, you’ll go out onto the river and actually experience what it’s like to catch eddies and surf waves, and if you do roll you’ll know what to do.”

Utah State Outdoor Programs Utah State Outdoor Programs provides courses, trips, and rentals to USU students. According to OP’s “About Us” page, their programs are intended to help students connect responsibly with the environment, push their limits, and build relationships through dynamic recreational experiences. Whether you’re interested in joining a guided activity or just need some gear for your next adventure, they’ve got you covered. Visit them at usu.edu/campusrec/outdoor_programs to sign up for a course or trip or to learn more about equipment rentals.

Outdoor Women’s Association All are welcome! The goals of the Outdoor Women’s Association are to learn from females in the outdoor industry, participate in outdoor activities, and create a safe space where women (and men) of all ages, races, sexualities, and backgrounds can enjoy Mother Nature. The best way to stay up-to-date on events is to follow their Instagram: @usuoutdoorladies.


Cottonwood trees in Moab, Utah release their seeds into the wind, giving the appearance of a snowstorm in summer.




Left: Bark beetles burrow into trees from the outside, leaving a network of holes. They bring with them a black poisonous fungus that aids in killing trees.

Environmental Activism Through Art: The Bereavement of the North American Forest System // Chelsea Morley Bark Beetles have long inhabited forest systems worldwide and they can have a major impact on the ecosystem. However, in recent years these tiny insects have caused colossal destruction throughout North America; tens of millions of acres of conifers have been affected.


Bark beetle populations have increased drastically due to rising temperatures and drought, which create favorable conditions for the beetle to thrive in. Alexa Okerlund, a photography student at Utah State University, saw the effects of the bark beetle infestation and became inspired to use her art to raise awareness of climate change.

Right: A mature, otherwise healthy, fallen tree. Not an uncommon occurrence in the forests of eastern Utah and southern Wyoming. Far Right: Pine cones are a symbol of new life and young forests. This photograph of dead pine cones represents the morbidity of the artist’s outlook of this epidemic.

She started photographing natural subject matter last year as she hiked the Uintas. “When I ran across an area affected by bark beetles, I was baffled, so I did some research and went from there. I’ve always loved spending time in the outdoors and photographing but that was the first time I combined those two interests and I’ve never looked back.” Seeing the effects of the beetle infestation stunned her, and she knew it would impact others too. The fact that climate change could manifest in such an obscure way fascinated her. “To learn that humans were ultimately the cause was incredible, and I wanted the viewer to undergo that same process,” she said. When asked what she hoped people got from her photo series Alexa said, “I hope that this makes people realize what their actions are capable of. Reducing one’s carbon footprint may seem small, like the actions of one person couldn’t possibly have a big enough effect to make a difference. But change has to start somewhere and others can take inspiration from even one person living sustainably.”



Her projects are primarily centered around the effects the human race has on the environment. I received some insight from Alexa about her work and what she thinks the next step is. Do you think artists have the ability to implement change on the human impact on the environment? “I know they do. Ansel Adams’ photographs were indispensable in the creation of the Kings Canyon National Park. They worked as evidence of the value that the land has and convinced politicians to protect it. If photographs of the beauty of nature can influence that level of change, then certainly photographs of the destruction thereof can influence people to take interest in the cause and effect. I just hope that these images are able to communicate that and inspire people to adapt their lifestyles and minimize their impact.”



Join the Highlander.

Write. Photograph. Advertise. Highlandermag@usu.edu highlandermag.com

A Peek Into Patagonia // Mady Koller Patagonia is a household name among outdoor enthusiasts. A brand committed to its mission to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis,” they are a powerful force in the design field, sustainability movement, and business world, respectively. Most anyone in the outdoor industry would give an arm and a leg for a peek into the world of Patagonia, and it’s no surprise that that’s not an easy task; they accept only the best of the best out of over 9,000 applicants. But one student knew what she wanted and applied herself, working hard until her opportunity to intern for Patagonia came.

Whenever she had the chance, Veronica sought opportunities to familiarize herself with the many tools and facilities common to the outdoor industry. Luckily for her, she said, “my advanced sewing classes taken through the Outdoor Product Design and Development Program (OPDD) prepared me to quickly adapt to the sewing facilities and get to work on projects.” Veronica is a transfer student from an Industrial Design Program in Kansas, a sometimes difficult transition to Logan and the OPDD Program at Utah State. But evidently her sacrifice and hardwork paid off and “resulted in beautiful opportunity after opportunity to bring value to a company in the outdoor industry and work with increasingly incredible causes and people.”



Veronica Villhard spent the summer of 2018 working as one of only sixteen interns at Patagonia’s home base in Ventura, California. While there, she got the chance to work on a wide variety of projects, including kids, climbing, and mountain biking

equipment. “One of my favorite ways to support designers was assisting with making mock ups. Exploring details of their design [in the] Forge prototyping facility was a great part of my day.” Her weeks were filled to the brim with meetings, designing, and of course, surfing the Golden Coast.


Socks for the Adventure // Bennett Fisher

Why do socks matter and which should I choose? A good pair of socks are an essential piece of gear for any trip, whether it’s a 3-mile day hike or a 5-month trek. That’s because a pair of feet contain 250,000 sweat glands producing up to half a pint of sweat a day. All that moisture can get trapped in a bad sock, and by time you get back to the trailhead, get in the car, and let your feet breathe, the chance of developing blisters increases and the smell may be unbearable.

Your basic cotton sock is the worst sock you can wear when heading out on an adventure. This is due to cotton’s poor ability to regulate moisture. Think about your bath towel-most bath towels are made from cotton because cotton is so absorbent, with the ability to absorb up to 20 times its weight in water. When you wear a sock made out of cotton, all the sweat you produce will be soaked up into it and will not be able to evaporate, keeping your feet wet. This doesn’t allow your body’s natural temperature regulation to occur because all your heat will be lost into the wet sock, resulting in cold feet.

Socks Built for Adventure Now that we have cotton out of the way, the best sock for your outdoor expeditions will be Merino Wool. Yes, even in the summer Merino Wool is the way to go. Advantages of Merino Wool: • Breathability—porous construction of merino wool increases airflow through the sock. • Odor Resistant—due to its antibacterial properties you’ll stay fresh even after days of use.

Popular Brands: • Darn Tough • Smartwool • Point6 • Fits • Icebreaker • Swiftwick I have backpacked over 6,000 miles in a variety of Merino Wool socks and they undoubtedly make a difference, from the damp east coast Appalachians to the west coast Sierras—wool socks are a must. Merino keeps the feet feeling dry and warm (even when wet) and can be worn for days on end. The longest I’ve worn a pair without washing or blisters was eight days of hiking. They are durable and survive long days on trail and repeated hot washes. For the Pacific Crest Trail I only used six pairs for 2,650 miles of backpacking. Merino Wool is a go to for me for a variety of activities, ranging from large expeditions to walking the dog on a cool morning.

Other Options Merino wool can seem pricey, usually $20 a pair, so other good options include polyester and nylon. Note: Most merino brands come with a lifetime warranty against holes and elastic so be sure to read the packaging. You could be buying a $20 pair of socks that will last you the rest of your life—which helps with the heavy price tag.




What is a bad sock?

• Moisture-wicking—Merino Wool takes sweat from against your body and wicks it outward to the edge of the sock where the sweat can evaporate. • Temperature Management—unlike cotton, Merino can only hold about a third of its weight in water. This means more evaporation is taking place, keeping you cool in the summer and dry in the winter.

#Vanlife - Not a Millennial Fad // Chase Anderson If you’re an outdoor enthusiast—and even if you’re not—and you’ve been on Instagram the last few years, you may have noticed a craze that is taking millennials from the stability of a traditional home to living on the open road and immersing themselves in #Vanlife. According to Kevin Eyre, while the phenomena may seem new, Westfalia Vanagons have been around since the 50s and every generation seems to rediscover them. Kevin is a Logan resident, ski patroller of 45 years, and what I would call an expert on all things Westfalia. As we chat in the backyard of his Logan home, we stand amid four vans in varying conditions (and there could have be more scattered around the yard).

Kevin got his first van, a new 1971 Westfalia, while in graduate school and made it a home for his wife and child for six months. The ability to pick up, head to the mountains, and camp at a moment’s notice has always been the appeal. After that, he was hooked. Over the course of the years, Kevin and his family would hold 3-4 vans at any given time while buying, repairing, selling, and most of all, enjoying them. With plenty of stories to tell of his travels, Kevin mentions fondly the numerous trips across the


One of the most impressive facts is that over his lifetime Kevin has owned over 100 Westfalia vans of varying models. Kevin says that he’s owned 25, or 2 percent, of all 4-wheel drive, Syncro-model Westfalias imported to the U.S. As far as Kevin knows, he’s owned more Westfalia vans than any other individual in the country. He doesn’t seem to mind the interest people in the community have taken in his hobby. Asked how often people knock on his door to inquire about the 4 vans in the backyard, Kevin says people come by all the time. His two kids seem to take after Kevin and each has their own van now that they are grown. They both look fondly back on memories of the open road and camping with family. While van life continues within the family, one hasn’t remained brand loyal and picked up a Sprinter from Mercedes-Benz. Kevin continues to buy, sell, repair, and enjoy his vans. The convenience of hitting the road with everything you need for a camping trip packed into a van means as much as it did when he bought his first in 1971. When asked what keeps Kevin coming back to the Westfalia, he simply replies, “There’s nothing else like ‘em.”


When asked why the renewed interest from younger people in vans and van life, Kevin replied, “I don’t think there is a resurgence. New people have come along and they think they’ve found something new.”

country, seeing locations many would dream of, and doing it all with 4-wheel drive, 25 miles per gallon, and a built-in sink and stove, without the hassle of an RV.

Q&A At 17 years old, Marissa Barlow saw a need for swimwear designed for the active woman. Instead of waiting for the perfect swimsuit to pop into existence she decided to take matters into her own hands by starting Nani Swimwear, a brand that is “on a mission to transcend, innovate, and create high quality swimwear that supports, flatters, and keeps up with active women.” Marissa shared the process involved in starting a business as a teenager, the inspiration behind it all, and the values of Nani Swimwear.

Q: What inspired you to start the business?


Q: Once you got the idea for the business, what were your next steps? A: Lots and lots of Google. Q: Do you feel like people didn’t take you as seriously because you started so young? A: Yes, this has been and still is honestly one of the hardest parts! It sucked at the beginning always feeling like I had to prove myself to people, but it made me a stronger person. If you start young, just be prepared to work twice as hard for half the acknowledgment. Q: How do you compete against some of the bigger brands that already have a following? A: As we are expanding our orders, we aren’t competing against these brands—we’re competing with them. We also are a lot more personal than bigger brands and people love that.


A: Active moms and young adult women. Whether it’s paddle boarding, swimming, or hiking, we design suits for active women who want to look good and not have to worry about constantly adjusting their suit.

Q: Who inspires you as a businesswoman? A: Phil Knight. His autobiography is one of my favorite books. Q: How do you personally define business success? A: To me, business success is about making a living by doing what you love while having a positive impact on other people. Q: What values do you think are the most important to Nani Swimwear? A: Nani is the Hawaiian word for “beautiful”. Our goal is to provide swimwear that empowers women to live a nani life by seeking adventure, being kind, and striving to give back. Q: Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next ten years? A: Nani currently is in stores all over the U.S. as well as Mexico and Canada. I believe and hope that we will continue to grow and sell this brand all over the world! I see Nani growing exponentially as we keep innovating, perfecting our product, and zoning in on our target customers. In ten years I would love to sell the business and start with something new! Q: How did you move past any fears to start Nani Swimwear? A: There is a quote hanging on my wall that I would read constantly when we were first getting started with Nani. “What if I fall? Oh my darling, what if you fly?” Fear is natural. Fear is good. But, fear can either serve as a motivator or your biggest limitation—you choose.


A: This is one of the questions I am most asked, and honestly, there was never a defining moment in the process. When I was 15 my family was going on a cruise, and after searching online for a new swimsuit for hours I went up to my mom and asked her if we could start a swimsuit line together. She laughed at me! Now, almost five years and lots of hard work later I have realized there is only one thing that inspires and keeps an entrepreneur going—passion.

Q: What’s the target customer you’re designing for? How do you connect with them?

“Find a tree. Talk to it. People will let you down but a tree will not.� - The Highlander Guru