"Change is hard at the beginning, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end." - Robin Sharma
This International Women's Day, we are highlighting empowering woman Jenny Hong. Creator of Amari Active, Jenny is an entrepreneur, mother, and #girlboss who combined her passion for clothing with her desire to instill confidence in women. She has a particular gift for creating elegant, tailored, impeccable activewear. Her brand feels like it could be a part of our family, so much so that we were inspired to offer you the limited edition: KiraGrace x Amari.
Jenny and Kira recently sat down for coffee and talked about life, love, fashion, risk-taking, and creating a new path forward. The Amari name signifies strength and grace, and it is clear that Jenny radiates those virtues. Jenny recently made the courageous decision to move her time and attention to building a new chapter ~ life after Amari. In this interview, Jenny shares her inspiration for and journey with Amari Active:
KG – What does Amari stand for?
JH – Amari has different definitions in various languages, but they are all positive in nature, akin to eternal, strength, and beauty.
KG – Where did the name Amari come from?
JH – We chose Amari because we were looking for a name that represents how we see our customers - Women who are strong and beautiful, who fight and conquer their everyday lives, sometimes gracefully, sometimes not, but never give up.
KG – What did you enjoy most about creating Amari?
JH – It has been a wonderful experience, with joys and hardships, just as anything else. There were plenty of struggles, with learning everything about manufacturing and the new world of marketing. Having dove into this project with no prior experience in this field, the learning curve was steep, but the rewards all that greater. To see my ideas go from the imaginary to the concrete, when the samples come and the first glimpse of every new collection, and to the photo shoot, those were all incredibly exciting. Another aspect of creating Amari is to have women come up to me and tell me how much they love our products, how comfortable they are, that it makes them feel good, and, my favorite still, these are the best pants, bra, top I own, I wear it almost every day. It just makes me feel amazing to have created something people love.
KG – When it comes to designing clothes, where did you draw inspiration?
JH – I love fashion and have been a clothes horse for as long as I can remember. I’m not necessarily one to follow trends, but I go with instinct. I love looking through catalogs, but I also look for inspiration throughout my day, make note of pieces that catch my attention. I love people watching, so I like to see what works and what doesn’t work, how people are putting pieces together. Fashion week is also interesting, not just for the runway, but for the street scene. So basically, I draw my inspiration from everywhere.
KG – What advice would you give to women pursuing a career in the fitness or fashion industry?
JH – To keep at it. Start small, stay focused on what inspires you and what drives you. Be confident in what you design. Be patient, it will take time to build your business, but it will be worth it.
KG – What other brands do you admire?
JH – There are so many that I admire, but I am most attracted to those who make a difference. Companies and brands that give back to the community and the environment. Companies that have heart and morals will always win me over, those who choose kindness in their operations and have a sense of social responsibility.
KG – What brought your family to San Diego?
JH – I grew up in San Diego, and after some jaunts in Boston, San Francisco, and Taipei, decided to bring my family back to the beautiful sunshine and beaches I knew. That being said, I am extremely grateful that I was able to live in different cities and countries so far, and think it’s imperative for my family to continue to venture and experience the rest of our amazing world.
KG – How has your journey with Amari shaped you?
JH – It has taught me so much, least of which is gratitude. It sounds cliché, but I have learned so much and encountered experiences I never would have otherwise. It has forced me out of my comfort zone so many times, some of which I’ve embraced, and some I still don’t enjoy. I have also realized what an impact this has made on my children, in the way they see me. Not least of the things for which I’m grateful is the pride in which my children will say, “My mom owns Amari.” I was able to show my daughters that moms are not just moms, we are also warriors capable of doing anything we set our minds to. Never will my children just follow the rules of society, they have seen that we define and decide our own roles in the world. I am infinitely grateful for all of these things, and the new knowledge that fear can lead to good things.
KG – What do you enjoy outside of work?
JH – For the ultimate “me” time, I love curling up with a book and a glass of wine. I am an avid reader, but I have also been binge watching some Netflix shows. I also love to travel, try new things, visit new places. I try to take my family on as many trips as I can, every year, to see as many countries and experiences as many different things as we can. I find that memories are one of the most valuable things we can ever have, and to share my time with my kids is unbeatable.
KG – What is your favorite hobby or creative pursuit?
JH – Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time in recent years to have a hobby. And over the years, I have picked up and dropped off numerous hobbies, but in general, I enjoy reading, drawing, playing puzzles, or just some down time where I can sit and do absolutely nothing.
KG – Do you have any charities or causes that you are interested in?
JH – I am partial to Make-A-Wish, but have a soft spot for anything that has to do with children. My son had a rare autoimmune disorder when he was young, and I try to contribute to charities that work with sick children and their families.
KG – Where do you like to work out? What does your fitness routine look like?
JH – My fitness routine is fairly flexible. I try to work out at the gym, doing a weights rotation, a few times a week. We got a Peloton a couple of years ago, and I thoroughly enjoy my rides on it. I have also enjoyed running outdoors, and have currently signed up for a few runs during this race season. My older daughter and I have been doing the Hot Chocolate 15K Run for the past 3 years, and we are looking forward to continuing that tradition going forward. I get a workout in when I can, and there are definitely days where I’ve worn my workout clothes all day, and not gone near a gym or broken a sweat!
KG – What are you looking forward to in the next year?
JH – There are so many things that I would love to see happen this year, and I have a few things lined up that will push my boundaries. I look forward to a year of growth and gratitude!
Jenny’s passion really shines through in her products and you know that every piece is of great quality and made with love. Shop the KiraGrace x Amari Collection today and see for yourself!