HerStory: Alena Horowitz
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
I met Alena at the CDA Flea this summer. Her booth was overflowing with unique articles of clothing, statement earrings and curios trinkets. What really captivated me was how every piece had a story - where it came from, what it means, or why you should give it a new home. With her ease of conversation and bold eclectic style, Alena's presence added a necessary flair to my flea market experience, so I asked her to share a bit of her journey as a creative entrepreneur.
The idea for THE WAVY BUNCH originally dawned on me during my senior year of college in my final fashion thesis class. I had several Bohemian-type male friends with long hair, varied world views and personal philosophies. They weren’t afraid to wear color and break the “rules” of modern menswear, yet they found it very hard to find clothing that matched their free-spirited lifestyle. A whole new world of inspiration and ideas were brought to life in my energized mind.
After graduating with double baccalaureate degrees in Fashion and Interior Design, I enrolled myself in a year-long intensive Entrepreneurship Management program called Venture College. Here, for 3-hours a day, 3-times per week, I worked alongside other
student-founders, researched and analyzed my target markets, built rapid-fire business plans, learned to “fail fast and try again,” conducted brainstorming sessions, met with mentors, and pitched to investors. I started planning my first original line of highly-embroidered menswear using my skills in product development and CAD software.
For an entire week, I attended the largest Fashion Trade Show (MAGIC) in Las Vegas, where I became even more inspired by the creativity and complexity of the world of fashion that was showcased at this special event. I spent every day combing the myriad of convention booths, meeting with manufacturers and makers from far and wide. I was determined to turn my dreams into reality. Selecting several accomplished manufacturers, I “tested” my technical-packages and line-plans. I received beautiful samples back from manufacturers, however, communication was difficult with language barriers and offices spread all over the world. They didn’t quite understand the vision, and over the course of the year, I quickly depleted the start-up fund my mom graciously gifted me upon graduation.
For a time, my idea was put on hold as I couldn’t afford the complex back-and-forth sampling process or the minimum-order quantities required by manufacturers for production of a fashion line. I started working full-time as an interior designer at an excellent firm, where I continually stretched my design skills, built presentations, and enjoyed being wined-and-dined by various interior product reps from around the country. I knew this wasn’t my “forever” place, but I forged on, putting every penny possible into my savings account. Leaving was bitter-sweet as I was both excited and scared by my next step. I booked a one-way ticket to Europe, packed my little purple backpack, and set off on my next journey.
I went to Ireland, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Slovenia, Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Berlin in 2.5 months with no “planning” beforehand. Europe was starting to get cold and I had only brought clothing appropriate for the summer months, including a single pair of tribal Chaco sandals. I expected to be heading home at this point, but I wasn’t finished seeing the world and I still had quite a savings account. I booked another one-way ticket to Thailand on a whim and made my way through Asia.
Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam have always been on my bucket list of beautiful places I wished to visit, and along the way, I also stopped in Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. In Asia, as I witnessed the flourishing abundance of markets and handmade articles, I reinvented my brand. I discarded the decaying clothes I’d been traveling with for the last EIGHT MONTHS and began purchasing cultural heritage items from local artisans and village craftsmen. I’d “bring the world home with me.” A designer by trade, I’ve come to see myself as an eye to the world. I’m a connoisseur of collecting creative people to collaborate with, and thus THE WAVY BUNCH became a “World Store.” I discovered the merit in my business for the second time and needed to “share the world with people.”
Realizing my eclectic findings were fitting for both men and women, I thought, “Why limit the business to only provide unique menswear when there is a world of beauty that can be found within each piece no matter your gender.” I see a trend of men and women becoming more fluid and accepting and creative in the way they dress and that’s exactly what my brand seeks to accomplish! I pivoted the original plan to provide beautiful clothing to all the colorful people of this world, by the colorful cultural people of this world! It’s never been a “me,” but a “WE” - THE WAVY BUNCH!
THE WAVY BUNCH has grown to encompass all sorts of creative services! We plan artful events, festivals, and art-therapy experiences; compose and coordinate creative written content; envision clever conceptual design and product development; conduct idea generation and brainstorming sessions; manage social media marketing strategies and techniques; fashion custom clothing and costumes; and create a wide array of graphics for logos, posters, album-art and band/brand merchandise. Please get in touch to work with us on any of your current or future projects!
“Create Beauty, Tell Stories, Make Waves” has been our slogan from the moment it came to mind. I remember writing these words in my journal on a sunset bus-ride traveling from Split to Dubrovnik, Croatia. The slogan originating here is very profound to me because I discovered that the root and origin of the name Croatia directly translates to “those who have many lands.” I take this as a sign that I’m headed in the right direction as my brand seeks to harness creativity from many lands and far off places. I also interpret it to mean, “free spirits,” those who are not defined by one specific place, but are travelers and seekers who live for the purpose of finding love and making art. I started crying on this bus ride because of all the beauty that was converging around me.
“Create Beauty” in form and function. I saw the opportunity to bring more color, texture, and intricacy to modern clothing. “Tell Stories” because our unique stories are what make us who we are. Stories and lessons can heal the planet, and I love sharing travel stories/lessons learned along the way to bring my friends and family on the journey with me! “Make Waves” - cause a ripple-effect to “change the world.” I see THE WAVY BUNCH promoting equality of all cultures through our sourcing of collections from diverse worldwide communities, supporting tribal artisans and village-people in creating their traditional ancestral crafts, and encouraging self-expression, uniqueness, color, positivity, originality, and growth of humanity.
Ready to share your story? Not ready, but feel the need to anyway? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org ATTN: HerStory. We would love to share your experience. You never know who needs to hear what kind of journey you've been on.