40 Under 40: Riss Barlow

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RISS BARLOW

Nani Swimwear | Co-founder

Provo + Logan | AGE 23

Riss Barlow is making waves. She founded Nani Swimwear in high school when she was just 17, and now five years later, she has an international brand with her designs sold in stores like REI, Macy’s, Anthropologie, Dicks, and more. She’s currently a senior studying business strategy at Brigham Young University, where she’s a “full-time entrepreneur, part-time granola.” And she’s passionate about empowering women. Riss has spent multiple summers living in the Philippines and Dominican Republic mentoring female entrepreneurs. “Those women are my inspiration,” she says.

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT All the messages women send us who are so grateful for Nani because they’ve never felt comfortable in a swimsuit before. HARDEST MOMENT The first couple years starting Nani I was in college full time and working two part-time jobs just trying to keep my head above water. Because I was spread so thin, I was doing a poor job in all aspects of my life. Eventually I broke down, quit my other jobs and went all in on Nani (even though we still weren’t making money). Ended up being a good decision. LEADERSHIP STYLE Visionary leader with a hands-off approach. I don’t like managing people. I like giving them the vision and empowering them to get there. BEST PART OF BEING YOUNG IN BUSINESS I have a lot of insights and perspective the older generations doesn’t, simply from the environment I’ve grown up in. I’m still stoked for the future and have big dreams. HARDEST PART OF BEING YOUNG IN BUSINESS No one takes a 17-year-old girl at the table seriously, especially in the beginning. I’ve had to work twice as hard to gain credibility and get buy-in for my ideas. MAIN MOTIVATION Creating something from nothing — not just the physical swimsuit but literally creating confidence in women. There is something so magical about bringing something that was just a thought in your mind to life and then seeing it in the wild. ULTIMATE CAREER DREAM Part-time serial entrepreneur and full-time mom.

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