We had the good fortune of connecting with Ali Wigart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ali, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Although I like to consider myself a pretty easy-going and spontaneous person, I am not a risk-taker at heart. Professionally, I tend to be pretty calculated and prepared. That said, risk has been something I’ve had to force myself to accept and often push myself to take. This was put to the test this past year when I left my salaried position to spend more time with my young daughter and to build a brand, something I had been wanting to do for years. Pre-children, I don’t think I would have had the courage to make that career change. Surely, I would have had a heck of a lot less distraction, more time and more money (!) to focus exclusively on a budding company. But having a kid really forced me to stand on the edge and reckon with myself about how I want to exert my creative energy. And for me, that energy needs to be put towards something I built, something I’m excited about, something I’m proud of and hopefully something my kids can be proud of too. To make things easier on myself, I launched the business at 8 months pregnant with my second child, in the middle of a pandemic, with no childcare. In this case, risk was a positive driving force behind me getting all my ducks in a row before my world is flipped upside down once again.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
After a few short years in TV production for an advertising firm in San Francisco, I ventured off to Bondi Beach with a friend where we intended to work casual jobs for the Australian summer. 3 months turned to 1.5 years of working and living abroad and backpacking throughout Southeast Asia. While living in Sydney I landed a job with a local clothing company and fell head over heels in love with Australian fashion (I still am). My “quarter life crisis” taught me that I wanted to make a career change to apparel design and product development. Although in retrospect I was quite young, starting over again in an entry level position at 26 felt excruciating and a bit humbling. I had superiors who were younger than me both professionally and in terms of life experience. But I was very fortunate to start my apparel career with a wonderful company as they grew their business from a mid-sized operation to a conglomerate acquisition. Owning my own business has always been the end game for me. I wasn’t sure when it would happen or what it would necessarily involve but I knew it was necessary for me to build a strong foundation of industry experience in order to get there. So when I came up with the concept for Bonks, I felt confident that I had the skills to get the gears in motion. Of course, it never goes as planned in the beginning: I’ve had trademark issues, factories go silent, changes in partnership… and then finally, it quickly came to fruition. Bonks are not an industry disruptor. Purely and simply, Bonks are here to make your life easier. And we do so by being accessible, affordable, reliable and fun.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Venice so I would have to start here. First things first: park the car and get on the bikes. Get a coffee at Superba and pop across Lincoln for a tour of the Walk Streets. From there we’d head to the Canals and then to Great White for a breakfast burrito. Off to the beach for an ocean dip. The kids are probably hungry again so we’ll go to Flake on Rose Ave for another breakfast burrito. (Because this one has American cheese in it which should be celebrated.) Grab a natty wine from Vin en Rose next door and bop home to freshen up. Put on reasonable footwear (for once), grab my VIP card (humble brag) and head to Vito on Ocean Park for some chicken parm and martinis. Not ready to go home? Me either. Let’s head down the hill for a nightcap at The Galley. (And maybe 2nd dinner at La Cabana?) The rest of the week would include…Overnight in Ojai with special stops at some secret Malibu beaches and Spencer McKenzie’s in Ventura. – Whoever is playing at the Hollywood Bowl followed by midnight pasta at Jones West Hollywood – Bonnie Raitt’s greatest hits on the long drive over to Salazar in Frogtown – Friends with pools.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Special shoutout to my husband Mike who has been my biggest supporter, an unwavering sounding board and my creative confident throughout this process. Not to mention, a true team player on the home front for our working family during these unprecedented times of Covid.