top of page

Episode 56: Spreading Positivity with Sensi Graves

Remember, you are a badass. This week we're joined by Sensi Graves, professional kiteboarder and founder of Sensi Graves Bikinis. Sensi talks about grounding herself in gratitude, both in work and play. She shares her struggles to balance being an athlete and a businesswoman, as well as her personal mantra when things get tough. Sensi's approach to product photography and social media is refreshing and her positivity radiates through her words.

Follow Sensi:

Follow us on Instagram: @wheeliecreative Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes every Thursday and leave us a review to let us know what you think about the show!


Episode Transcript

Lisa: [sings] Let's do it! Episode 18.

Iris: Season 4. Hey everyone, thanks for tuning in to the Outside by Design podcast. I'm Iris.

Lisa: I'm Lisa, your hosts from Wheelie.

Iris: And today we have Sensi Graves from Sensi Graves Bikinis.

Lisa: That's right. And Sensi Graves is a... just an explosion of positivity and light.

Iris: She is a professional kiteboarder on top of being a founder of a bikini company. And Lisa, I gotta say, I love when women name their businesses after themselves. That just makes me happy. Because you don't see that very often.

Lisa: You really don't.

Iris: And I enjoy it. So good on you, Sensi, for that. Sensi is here to talk about creating the product that she needed, another story of Entrepreneurship; grounding in gratitude to find joy and her sport and in her business; and how she seeks to empower customers through her brand.

Lisa: That's right. So let's kick it off to Sensi and get ready for a whole lot of optimism and entrepreneurial advice.

Iris: Woo.

Lisa: Awesome. Well, Sensi, thank you so much for being here today.

Sensi: Thank you Lisa. I'm excited to be here!

Lisa: And the very very first question we ask everyone is to describe where they are in the world and what they're looking at.

Sensi: I'm in North Carolina right now on the Outer Banks. I'm actually looking at this tropical bedspread print that is in my bedroom that I'm staying in. But I'm out here for kiteboarding competition, the largest in the US, actually, and so I'm posted up in a rental house for three weeks preparing for the contest.

Lisa: That is awesome. What what are you doing to prepare? Like, what does that look like?

Sensi: That looks like kiteboarding my butt off getting really sore. Yeah, so I'm in a... it's a park style contest which means that we hit features in the water kiteboarding, just as they do snowboarding or wake boarding, like at a cable park they have features in the water, we have those same floating features for kiteboarding. And that's the discipline that I compete in and so... so one of the best parks in the world is out here in North Carolina at a place called Real Watersports. And so I'm here for a couple weeks before the event training on those features, you know, getting out on the water as much as possible and just practicing hits over and over again.

Lisa: That's awesome.

Sensi: It is, it's super fun. I'm fortunate to get to come to the contest, this year we actually have equal prize money. So there is $12,000 for the female first place as well as the men's first place. So that's amazing and I'm just stoked to be a part of this whole movement, so. I'm glad they're finally on board with the equal pay here.

Lisa: No kidding, that's cool. And thank you so much for making time on, you know, for this podcast during your training regimen.

Sensi: Yeah, well, it's not windy all the time plus you can't kiteboard that much, you know.

Lisa: Yeah.

Sensi: I did, I think, four hours yesterday and I'm pretty beat today.

Lisa: Nice, nice. Where do you live the rest of the time?

Sensi: In Hood River, Oregon.

Lisa: Oh, of course.

Sensi: Have you been there?

Lisa: Yeah, kiteboarding capital.

Sensi: Mhm.

Lisa: Yeah, cool. That's a good spot for you.

Sensi: I'm originally from Northern California, but about... and I was living in North Carolina for a number of years coaching kiteboarding. And then I wanted to move back to the West Coast and stumbled upon Hood River and obviously it's a mecca for kiteboarding and just knew that that place was so super special and somewhere I really wanted to be. And so, moved there in 2012. So it's going on seven years.

Lisa: Nice.

Sensi: Yeah.

Lisa: And did you- where did... where were you based out of when you started your bikini company?

Sensi: Transient. I was transient. So I started my bikini brand as a result of being in the water a lot. So I actually launched it in 2012 right before I moved to Hood River, but I was living in North Carolina coaching, but I would do that seasonally. So I'd spend the summers in North Carolina and I was in a swimsuit every single day. It was actually literally my uniform, I'd wear a bikini top and bikini bottom under my board shorts and tank top. And so I was just in a swimsuit so much that I knew that there had to be a better option for… for what women were trying to wear for their sports and I was like this is kind of ridiculous. I'm in a swim suit every day. I can't find something that actually stays put but still looks really great on and it's something that's comfortable and flattering. And I'm just going to have to make them myself.

And so those summers in Hood River where the really the R&D- or, excuse me, summers in North Carolina were the R&D times of, okay, what is going to really work? What's going to make me feel really empowered and great? And then as I was launching my company, I found a production house in Portland, which is another reason I moved to Hood River. It all kind of worked out. It's a really very fortuitous and serendipitous way. And as I was launching I was living in Maui, I was spending the winter in Maui. So I was there for about six months. And then I remember carrying my first production run of swimsuits from Maui back to North Carolina to coach for another couple months before moving to Hood River. And I had all my bikinis in kiteboarding bags and was like tromping through the airport with my production run of swimsuits.

So it was transient for the first little bit and then settled into Hood River in... I believe it was July of 2012.

Lisa: Nice.

Sensi: Yeah.

Lisa: Nice, and then you've been throwing down some roots for your bikini brand right and kind of growing it from there.

Sensi: Yeah, and it actually very much helped establishing that home base. As I mentioned, I was transient when I was first starting design and starting to launch the company. And that worked because I had the kiteboarding community at my back but also the support of somewhere being your hometown is completely invaluable and if you can… that's how anything starts, right, you grow… You start small and then you start growing out from, from your base. And so establishing that base, establishing the made in the USA story, because we do all our production in Portland, now in Los Angeles as well, but made on the west coast. That really has resonated with... with my audience and with my awesome female customers.

Lisa: Awesome. Yeah, and the word of the month on the podcast is joy. And so I think we sent that to you ahead of time, so you could think about it. But what does... what does joy mean to you?

Sensi: To me, joy means engaging in the moment. It means being wrapped up in whatever you're doing so much that that's all you're thinking about. And that can be really any number of things and we know about flow, right, we know about the things that... doing things that are so engaging that that's all we can focus on. But joy, and also to me means just appreciating the little things. Appreciating every single moment in our lives, whether that be the cup of coffee that you get to make in the morning and wake up to, or your view in the moment that you're in, or where you are listening to the podcast or the ability to be listening to this podcast. Just, we have so much to be thankful for and I think that the more we can cultivate our appreciation and our gratitude, the more joy you're really able to infuse because you're... you're showing gratefulness for what you actually have. Which is so much.

Lisa: Yeah, that's the mindset right there, yeah.

Sensi: I mean we have so much Lisa. We have so much. Truly, truly.

Lisa: We do. We totally do. And how, like, how do you bring this attitude of gratitude into your business?

Sensi: Yeah, great question. Doing the appreciation practice. Every morning actually, I have a little journal exercise where I write down things that I'm grateful for. I try and do a meditation first thing in the morning as well, which a lot of it involves being in the moment and an appreciation. And then in my business, I just try and go back to sources of gratitude throughout the day. Whether that's okay, I have this problem that arises, let me take a step back for a second, breathe into it, and think about how this could be an opportunity instead of a challenge. That's one great way, another is to interact with my customers and... I mean sometimes those interactions can be negative, you're dealing with customer service issues where someone has a problem, but being thankful for those problems and saying okay, I’d rather have people that have small issues because that's going to come up no matter what business you're in and I'm thankful I have this customer anyway. And then also reaching out to people that are stoked or reading reviews on the website or just getting to talk with the people that actually use my product and I can say oh look at this, this is so rad. I have people that are using my product and loving it and that brings me so much joy and gratitude and really keeps the motivation going. Because as you know, as a female founder of our company, it's... it's hard work being an entrepreneur and you got to keep your motivation strong.

Lisa: Seriously. How do you balance that with being an athlete?

Sensi: Yeah, that is a perpetual question Lisa because it's hard. It's hard to maintain focus on two different things that are... take such high energy. And once again, it's for me just saying okay. These are two things that I really value my life and how can I maintain that balance? And a lot of it is just focusing on what is going to be the most high return action. And so in kiteboarding, that's, okay, I'm going out in this session and what are the things that I can really work on today right now that are going to bring me bring me success in the in the long term? And whether that be one particular trick that I'm working on or one move for the contest that I really want to nail down. It's just being really specific with the action steps.

And then in my business is the same thing. It's trying to delegate and eliminate all of the excess stuff and really focus on where am I the most effective in my business? And what is going to bring me the highest impact? Which, sometimes you're so lost in the weeds that it's hard to take a step back. And so I try and revisit that every week. It's like, okay, what are my... what are my goals for the year? What are my goals for the month? What are my goals for this week? And what's actually really, really important for me to get done because if you're not focusing on those things then you're really not going to make any progress. Because the to do list never ends. I mean, we know that there’s always going to be things added on there, but you can try and look at that bigger picture. I found that to be very helpful and most certainly listing that, what's the most important thing for me to do this week has been really helpful.

Lisa: That's a cool way to look at it. For sure.

Sensi: Yeah, it's interesting because I just was listening to a podcast with Jenna Kutcher and she had a baby recently and she was talking about productivity. And how her productivity with having a newborn went way down because, obviously, she... her time was now so much... was, she had so much distraction with the newborn.

But she was still able to get everything that she needed to get done, done, because she eliminated or delegated or only just focused on the really high priority tasks. And she was like, what was I doing before? Because I was really just filling up time. I think there's some law around that, right, that you'll fill up... for the amount of time you have to do... to do a job, you'll make, you'll fill that time. And that's why people put deadlines on things and make something happen. You're like, okay, you only have 20 minutes and you'll get it done in 20 minutes. But yeah, she was saying, oh, I had all this time that I was just completely wasting because I had so much time to fill up. And now that I have a smaller amount of time, I'm still utilizing it in an effective way, but I don't have all this unnecessary garbage that's kind of getting in my way.

Lisa: Totally. It's so crazy how that works.

Sensi: Isn't it?

Lisa: Yeah, I mean, it's, yeah, it's pretty wild how a task will usually take the amount of time you let it.

Sensi: Yeah.

Lisa: Yeah. It's pretty cool.

Ad Break: Lisa, do you ever struggle to find the perfect vacation home when you're on vacation? / No, usually I just sleep in my truck. / Well, yeah, me too. / But some people do, some people rent vacation homes. / Yeah, and there's some pretty great websites that can match you with the perfect vacation home like one that has a hot tub or a big backyard / and it looks like a bunch of letters, but you're actually supposed to say a made-up word when you talk about it now. / Yeah makes no sense. / It's like a creative agency I know that looks like it's pronounced Wheelie. It's actually pronounced WHeelie. WHy am I looking at WHeelie? Well, it's because Wheelie is an awesome creative Agency for people who Thrive outside. / Wow, tell me more about WHat this creative agency does. / it's called WHeelie and it is all the best content, marketing, strategy, branding, video production, social media management, WHeb design. So instead of looking on the internet for houses just book a creative agency. / If you think that sleeping in your truck sounds better than getting a vacation home with a hot tub. / You might be a good candidate / for WHeelie. That is / Wow!

Iris: Lisa, how did you feel about Sensi talking about grounding everything she does in her life in gratitude?

Lisa: That's a really big lifestyle of mine that I think I bring into Wheelie and we always start meetings with like, hey, thanks for being here. And there's just always a lot of gratitude going around at Wheelie because people are trusting us with their brands and people are trusting us with their products and trusting us to tell their stories. And like, when someone gives you that level of trust and vulnerability, like, you have to honor it and treat it well, so I think grounding everything you do and gratitude is crucial to even starting on a project or a perspective.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: So to follow-up on this, I recently read the Abby Wambach book called Wolfpack and she talks about how the old rule was kind of be grateful for what you have and the new rule is be grateful for what you have and demand what you deserve. Not just to be like thanks for giving me what I have, life. But to be like thanks for what I have and here's what I'm going to do too. So, I think... I think to follow up on that, what a power- what a powerful place to start.

Iris: Yeah, I think that's a wonderful attitude. I think that's a great attitude to not only ground yourself but also continue to push the boundaries and Sensi is both an athlete and an entrepreneur and there's a lot that she's going after. So let's hear more from Sensi.

Lisa: Woo.

Lisa: So how do you stay so motivated? Where does your motivation come from? Because it's not like you have a boss telling you hey, you have to get this done.

Sensi: No. No, it's having my values and staying aligned with those values. So it's realizing, well, for my... for my business, it's empowering women in water sports, protecting our planet, and making a rad product. And really revisiting those values often so that I know why I'm in business and why I'm continuing to do it. And then from a personal level, I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I've always wanted to be in control of my time. I've always wanted to have the freedom that comes from making your own schedule, and I've always wanted to have... to set my own parameters for success.

And so when I get down and not feeling motivated, I have to once again take a step back, and not just continue to plow forward through the work but be like, okay, let me revisit why I'm doing this and what my personal values are. Because that leads me to a life that can be successful on my own terms and that's how I get the motivation back. I'm like, okay, no, I actually do want to do this. Because yeah, it's... sometimes it feels like it would be easier just to go out and get... get a J-O-B, a real J-O-B supposedly, and have that steady paycheck. But... looking at what I want to do personally in my life and being attuned to those things really is able to drive me forward.

Lisa: That's cool. That's cool. And before we started recording you had mentioned that you believe a brand can empower their customers and I'm curious what that means for you with Sensi Bikinis.

Sensi: Yeah, so at Sensi bikinis, I believe I said our mission, but it's to empower women in water sports and to give them the confidence that they... that they need and the swimwear that they can rely on. And so I really, just as a brand and personally, believe in spreading light and spreading love and spreading positivity. And the best way that I can do that is to show people, and women in particular, that they are able to participate at a level in sports that maybe they hadn't seen before or that they felt intimidated by. To give them an example of that, you know, because if you don't see someone that's similar to doing something, it’s harder to picture yourself doing something. That is giving them personal confidence tools to work on, so we've been doing a lot of teaching of body confidence and feeling good about yourself and how to give yourself the love and motivation to go out into the world and be awesome, as I like to say. And then giving them a product that makes them feel really good so that they can show up fully and really focus on living and interacting in this big beautiful planet. And I believe that the more we interact with nature, the more we feel obviously connected to it and the more we want to protect it and that's just a good thing, especially where we are at in the in the planet climate crisis right now. And so I really think that brands not only have an opportunity, but they really have a duty to empower their customers to live the best lives that they can for themselves.

Lisa: Totally, and I think something you do really really well on your website is you have photography with very natural looking models.

Sensi: Yeah, it... that's always an interesting thing because swimsuits are so vulnerable and they are a very hard thing to fit and often times women feel really negative towards their bodies and don't necessarily want to show it off. And so I've tried to be very conscious, and I felt that same way, honestly, it's a hard thing. I think body confidence is something that many, many people, not just women, struggle with. And so showing having this platform as a brand to be able to show different body types and a variety of women, I mean, we honestly don't use models for our photography, we use athletes and we use our team riders. And yeah, we have absolutely beautiful women that may look like models on the website. But we also have people that feel more authentic and feel... it's just a variety, right, because you I want to show that inclusiveness. And could we be doing a better job? Probably. Are we doing as good of a job as we can right now and always improving? Yes.

And that's I think... the real positive thing is that there's always room for expansion and if you are taking feedback from your customers and actually really listening to the people that are using your product or service then you'll be able to incorporate that more fully in your brand. And yeah, I mean, that to me has really been a big thing, is just, how can we show women doing rad things and that is actually showing them doing things and also showing a variety of different women and body types? Because it's such a hard, hard thing to put on a bathing suit sometimes.

Lisa: Oh, yeah, definitely. And the very first thing I clicked on when I got on your website was it's called the Tori Reversible bikini bottom and the woman wearing it in the photo has a giant cut down her leg and like it's not photoshopped out and it's right there. And I'm like that’s so cool.

Sensi: [laughs] Oh that is so funny that you notice that! Yeah. I, we don't Photoshop anything. I mean, I don't really believe, I've never believed in photoshopping because it just... we already do so much comparison as a society and especially with social media. I mean, I'm guilty of it as well, you go... you can be out in a rocking day and then go on Instagram stories and you watch a couple stories and you're like, oh, I should be somewhere else or oh, I should be doing this or oh, that person looks so amazing and I don't look like that. You're constantly comparing yourself to other people. So why would we show an unattainable version of somebody that's fake when we're trying to be inclusive and empowering. And so, yeah, one of my favorite quotes is actually “comparison is the thief of joy” and I think it's... it's very true. I believe it was Teddy Roosevelt that said that and he was way ahead of his time, because it's not... it's so true today, right, with the amount of media were inundated- inundated with.

Lisa: Totally. I think an interesting thing about being an athlete and an entrepreneur and kind of balancing that with this Instagram world is that, like, I fully admit that I'm a very competitive person and I like competing and I don't yeah they care if I win or lose but like, I kind of embrace competition in general as a human. Do you as well?

Sensi: Yes. I'm so glad you say that Lisa because I totally do. I'm very competitive, I grew up with three brothers and we were always playing two on two everything and I was always like, no, I’m faster than you. I'm better than you. But for me, winning is and was still a big part of it and I love that you say you're competitive but they you don't always have to win and you just like the action of it. Because I certainly do as well. But I'm more of the oh, I have to win. And a lot of my personal happiness I’ve found in competition in the past has been tied to whether I win or lose. And that's something that I've been working on because you don't want outside extrinsic factors determining your happiness level. Which is a really interesting thing. But yeah, competing is... it's super fun. And not not everyone feels that way. [laughs]

Lisa: Yeah.

Sensi: I’ve found some of my friends are like, can you just stop trying to compete and make everything a game? I'm like, but it's so fun!

Lisa: It is so fun. I agree. And yeah, I have a twin sister. So like growing up, everything was a competition. Like, who can walk home from the bus the fastest, like literally anything.

Sensi: Yeah, that's awesome.

Lisa: Yeah. I just like enjoy that and I think it helps in business too, because you don't get bogged down by doing something like right or wrong, you know, you kind of just enjoy the chaos, I guess. Or like enjoy the competition in a way.

Sensi: Yeah, if you can enjoy the competition, but I think that's not just a competition thing. I think that's just a mindset thing. I'm actually reading this book right now about mindset and about how people either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. And if you have a fixed mindset, you don't believe that you can improve beyond a certain level, like your skills are what you're born with, and if you're good at math and you're going to map but it's not something that you can work really hard at and necessarily get better at. Like, you have a threshold that you're going to meet. But with a growth mindset, and this is a much more accurate mindset because it's true, you can, by putting in hard work and effort, get much better at said thing, math. And so I think that it seems like you have a growth mindset which would be, “I can try and this is a challenge and I'm going to see it as a challenge and not something that determines my self-worth. Just because I am not great at this right now because I mean that I can't work hard and get better and succeed.” And I think that is totally right. It is something that will really help you in business and in life, I mean, you can have that idea of, I'm going to try and work hard at this and get better at it. I might suck right now, but it's fun because it's a challenge and it's it's a game and it's a competition.

Lisa: Yes, and I like that you associate the word game with competition.

Sensi: Yeah! [laughs]

Lisa: Because it is kind of playful, kind of like, it doesn’t have to be the most serious thing in the world to compete.

Sensi: Yeah. But I think there are- yeah, other people have other opinions on that, because as I mentioned I have a lot of girlfriends that are like Sensi, just stop. We don't want to compete. I’m like why? [laughs] Sorry!

Ad Break: Say Iris, do you want to know a weird fact about me? / Yes, of course. / I don't like going to yoga classes because I really struggle with group relaxing. / Yeah, like that stresses you out. / I don't like how everyone's laying on the floor and it's supposed to be relaxing. / Huh. / But you know what? I do like subscriptions where I can do yoga from the privacy of my house, which is 11 miles from anything. / Oh, yeah. There are a lot of websites that you can subscribe to and they send you yoga classes to do in the comfort of your own home, which is much more relaxing. / Yeah, you pay a monthly fee and you get unlimited yoga. It reminds me of when you sign with a creative Agency on retainer and you pay them a certain amount per month and they just handle shift for your business. / Yeah, do you know any creative agencies that offer that oddly enough? / I do:, the greatest creative agency. Sometimes when you first start doing yoga you get discouraged because you can't, like, reach your arms behind your back or grab your back, but guess what? With a great creative agency like Wheelie, Wheelie’s always got your back. / Here at really we're really flexible and limber and we'll make a strategy that fits your business. / Damn. Right Iris was a good one. We'll get your business into a sweet vinyasa flow. /

Iris: I love what Sensi said about swimwear, and swimwear is difficult because she's right, it inherently makes people a bit self-conscious about their bodies just being in a swimsuit. And I love what she says about the photography she uses and using athletes instead of models and refusing to photoshop anything.

Lisa: I think that is awesome. And I do think it's an interesting point like, you know, we've been in situations at work were like we've gone wakeboarding or we've gone paddle boarding, or, you know, like there have been times where I've been in a swimsuit in front of my employees and I'm like, I would never just walk around in my underwear, you know. But like some for some reason we're surrounded by water so this is totally normal. Where it's like, it's just such a funny context and a funny thing and I think... I think it's important to be comfortable in your body and feel that way even though, like, it can be so weird and awkward sometimes to be a different person in different contexts. And I love that she, Sensi, is creating a swimsuit line that... that encompasses lots of different styles and lots of different body types and shows real women with scars down their thighs and I think it's just... I think it's a really honest place to start. And I'm a company that I want to support because she is doing a lot of great things.

Iris: Mhmm. How nice is it to shop for something that already makes you uncomfortable and to not see impossible Photoshopped body types and to actually see people that look like me or look like you or look like people that we know. It is a wonderful place to start and I'm so glad that there are companies like Sensi Graves Bikinis kind of taking a stand and working towards that body expectation of every body is a swimsuit body.

Lisa: Digital high five to Sensi.

Iris: [laughs] Let's get back to Sensi.

Lisa: So do you, do you design all the patterns and everything for all your bikinis or, who?

Sensi: I work with different graphic designers and different print houses to design them. So some of them we’ll have done semi in-house, like the cactus one was my concept and I came up - I knew the colors that I wanted. So I'll work pretty closely with our graphic designer, but I don't have that skill set to actually make the patterns, or the prints, so I don't do that. Plenty of talented people. And we're always open to new prints so if anyone wants to send in any ideas I love collaborating with different artists. But I do all the body styles. So I'll come up with, and we actually design everything from scratch, so all the patterns are made from our personal pattern stock, which is pretty big at this point and then we'll modify usually an existing pattern to create a new body style. And then I'll work in all the prints and patterns. So I'll do the majority of the design work.

Lisa: That's cool. I like…

Sensi: Self-taught.

Lisa: Yeah! The... how did, how did that go for you, you just figured it out on your own?

Sensi: Just figured it out on my own. Yeah, it was very much... this whole business has very much been a, okay, what's the next step? Oh, wow. How did I get this far without knowing how to do this? But I think that really is how a lot of things are. I was actually at a 1% for the planet Summit recently. I'm a 1% for the planet member, which if listeners don't know it's a... Patagonia actually started it, but it's their nonprofit organization that donates one percent of sales to environmental organizations. So there's 3,500 different nonprofits that are part of this and then I don't know how many businesses but there's a huge swath of businesses that are part of this. And if you see the 1% for the Planet logo, you'll know that they are donating, that company is donating one percent of sales to an Environmental Group. Which is awesome. So anyway, we're a part of that, and Mark Randolph who started Netflix was there and he said this quote that stuck with me since then, which is “nobody knows anything.” So like, you don't know how anything is going to turn out. Yeah, you can surmise and yeah, you can have forecasts, but nobody knows if something is going to be successful or if your idea’s going to make it. And it's really just a matter of trying that's going to enable you to figure it out.

Lisa: That's cool.

Sensi: I was like, yes!

Lisa: That is cool. I think, I think too, like the older I got the more I realize, like, the less I know.

Sensi: It's so true. And you just have to have that belief in yourself to be like, okay, I can try this and I am capable and I'm willing to work hard and do this. And that's also something that I really love to teach is that self-belief, I think it goes along with the self-love quite a bit. That, no, you're a rock star and you can do it. Because I think that's something that everybody needs. And if you don't have the belief in yourself, then you're really not going to be able to get where you might want to go.

Lisa: That's cool. How, how do you bring that into what you're doing for women in sports?

Sensi: Yeah, that is something that I've been trying to figure out how best to incorporate as a brand. But a lot of it is just doing videos and doing blog posts on it and kind of spreading that content out both through my personal channel and through my bikini channel. So it's just really teaching on how to cultivate that mindset, how to cultivate that self-love and that self belief and trying to bring a lot of that positivity into do the brand and into what I'm spreading personally. Because as I mentioned, I really just want to spread love and light and try and lift up other people as much as possible.

Lisa: Absolutely. I think…

Sensi: Yeah, why not?

Lisa: I think you're doing it.

Sensi: Good. [laughs] Yeah. I mean, I think, yeah, I mean, why not?

Lisa: Yeah. Yeah, and... and I love the variety as well of your swimline. It looks like you've got lots of different styles. Lots of different bikini tops, or one pieces. And I mean it definitely stands out.

Sensi: Thank you so much Lisa. Yeah, it's very much, as I said, an ever-evolving growth process and I've learned so much just diving in and doing it. And now I've been in business for seven years and still kickin. And so it's just... I'm very thankful to have been able to get this far and have done it. It's never been easy. I mean, once again, as you know, it's a hard thing being entrepreneur and owning your own business and sometimes I'm crying and sometimes I'm wanting to quit. And other times I have to keep telling myself no, you are a badass. You are a badass. You are a badass. I go back and look at my values and while I'm doing it because it's… you have... it's honestly that roller coaster and everyone talks about it business mean a roller coaster. But sometimes I don't think we actually talk about the failures enough. The failures in life and in business. Because you, all you see are the success stories and then you start comparing yourself to that, like, well shoot, well I suck because I have this failure. But really those are the... your stepping stones and your learning periods and… at least if you're failing that means you're trying. And nobody knows anything. So you got to try some time.

Lisa: Yes, seriously, I think... I think resilience is a huge part of sports and entrepreneurship and being able to bounce back when things don't really go your way.

Sensi: Yeah.

Lisa: Yeah.

Sensi: Resilience. Maybe that should be next month's word.

Lisa: That's a good idea. [both laugh] Joy this month, resilience next month. It is a good one, huh?

Sensi: Yeah.

Lisa: So, I guess last question for you, is are - so our audience is awesome. And they're largely creative photographers, designers, journalists, brand managers. So what's your advice to creative people who work in the outdoor industry to stay stoked and inspired and spread love and light?

Sensi: Cultivating the belief in yourself. Prac- going back to your mantras and your affirmations. And I know it sounds a little woo woo, but it's totally helped me and I really... I think is something that's absolutely necessary to stay stoked is to list down what you're grateful for. What you can do to enjoy the day. Because we always want to bring joy into what we're doing, right? And sometimes that means saying hey, I'm going to go out and ride my bike and putting it on your to-do list so that you actually go do it. So you're aligning with those Joy bringing things. And then repeating these “you are a badass” affirmations because if you're not staying stoked personally, it's really hard as a brand to spread the stoke and stay in line with your brand missions and personal missions, whatever those may be. And so I truly believe that working on your self love and your self belief and really showing up for yourself in the best way is going to be invaluable in bringing that same messaging to your customer.

Lisa: Awesome, that's brilliant advice.

Sensi: Great. I hope you guys find it useful.

Lisa: Totally. And, and where can everybody follow you? What's the best place to send people?

Sensi: Yeah, Instagram! And I try and say this disclaimer of, only follow me if it's going to bring you good vibes. Because the worst is not unfollowing people that don't bring good vibes, you know, like why are you... it's not enough, I think, to follow positive things. I think you actually need to actively unfollow things that are bringing your energy down. But hopefully I'm bringing the good vibes, would love your feedback on that. But my personal Instagram is @SensiGraves and it's S-E-N-S-I Graves G-R-A-V-E-S.

And then my bikini account is @Sensibikinis. So those are the two best places, and then also our websites and

Lisa: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here and thanks for your time and wisdom.

Sensi: Thank you so much. Lisa was my pleasure.

Iris: Thanks Sensi for being here and bringing your positivity to the podcast, you’re a wonderful embodiment of the word Joy.

Lisa: Yeah you are.

Iris: And if you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share it with a friend that you think might want to hear it, and we'll be back next week with a new episode of Outside by Design. And I hope you're all enjoying Outdoor Retailer, and we'll see you next week. Bye.

4 views0 comments


bottom of page