It's time to give a round of applause to Altrichia Cook, whose range of bikinis to promote confidence in new mums (and hide any caesarean scarring) are transforming the way women view their bodies
Back in 2013, Altrichia Cook (her friends call her A.Lekay) was desperate to buy a new bikini. But – try as she might – she couldn’t find anything that covered her caesarean scars.
‘I had my son at 18, [and] all throughout college for spring break vacations and summer getaways, I was never able to wear a two piece bikini as my abdominal imperfections discouraged me,’ she explains. ‘I had ordered some high-waist swimsuits, but the suits were not high enough to accommodate my situation. I then took matters into my own hands. I designed my very own and consulted with my tailor to have it produced.’
‘It was as if a light bulb went off and the business idea immediately hit me,’ she adds – revealing that after posting pictures of herself on social media, she was inundated with questions from friends who wanted to buy one for themselves. ‘I did some research and hit the ground running.’
Within the space of 19 months, A.Lekay had launched Allusions – a swimwear brand that’s seen so much success, the bikinis have even been worn by Nicki Minaj. And it’s all happened while A.Lekay raises her nine-year-old son, and works as a full time probation officer.
‘In addition to being super mom, I am currently a probation officer and work 7 AM to 5:30 PM, four days a week,’ A.Lekay says, while we raise our eyebrows in exhaustion. ‘During my work hours, I supervise probation clients, conduct intake appointments, prepare and process legal documents. In the evenings, I am making dinner, ensuring [my son’s] homework is complete, football practice and preparation for the next day. Once that portion of motherly duties has been delivered (and technically, they are never ending) I spend time following up with customer related queries, working with my team regarding an array of branding ideas, marketing strategies, and proposals.’
It sounds tiring – but for the 28-year-old, it’s worth it. ‘My brand caters to women from all walks of life,’ she says. ‘It’s just one avenue for women who are mothers, and would still like to be fashionable, beautiful, and sexy, while masking those imperfections.’
‘As I have grown, I get so many thank-you emails of women thanking me,’ A.Lekay adds. ‘One instance, a customer told me that she hadn’t worn a two-piece swimsuit in over 20 years.’