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Friday, February 23, 2024

Fashion Designer Hanalei Swan Has Defied Convention and Built A Successful Fashion Brand


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Times are changing

There have long been debates about what education is and is not. And for the most part, people accept the notion of classroom teaching – a form of conventional education we’re all used to. But is it the only way?

There have long been debates about what education is and is not. And for the most part, people accept the notion of classroom teaching – a form of conventional education we’re all used to. But is it the only way?

Hanalei Swan is the author of How To Be & Raise An Unstoppable Kid, written after her parents took her traveling around the world at the age of just one in a bid to start a digital nomad life.

Homeschooled and now aged 15, she is a fashion designer, author, and entrepreneur who’s life defies the idea that conventional education is the only way to go.

Homeschooling As An Expat Kid

The idea of homeschooling dates back to the 1970s, and yet it has stayed relevant till the present day. The essence of homeschooling can’t be underestimated, as a child’s development is carefully monitored through different stages of learning. The child is also shielded from bullies and negative relationships that may dampen their self-esteem.But then, can conventional school be ruled out?

For sure it remains a mainstay, mainly because the curve for each individual is different. Some may choose to not attend school and still be successful. Others may attend school and be better off than their peers who didn’t. It all depends on the abilities of each child.

With homeschooling, the possibilities are endless. And such is the case of Hanalei Swan, the founder of HS styles – an eco-friendly and sustainable fashion brand she started at the age of 11. Her parents, Rhonda and Brian Swan decided to not put her into daycare but instead have her learn through life experience. They were particular about monitoring Hanalei’s personal growth.

Two years before Hanalei was born, her mother had vowed that she wasn’t going to be the constantly busy mom whose child practically lived in daycare. Rhonda decided she would leave her corporate job and start her own business alongside her husband.

Rhonda says:

I made a vow to her that I would never put her in daycare, and planned her birth with a perfect system. The thought of going back to a 9-5 and putting my daughter in daycare crushed my soul … we wanted to raise her from experience.

The couple decided to start a digital nomad life after the real-estate bubble of 2008 when they lost almost everything. With two laptops and surfboards in hand, they took a leap of faith to tread a new career path.

Hanalei says:

I was one year old when I started travelling. I left the USA to go abroad with my parents. They wanted me to learn from real life, not from the pages of a book. Plus, my Mom wanted to be the main influence in my life over having someone else raise me every day.

Hanalei went to school in every country they visited, but only for a short time. She says:

Most people think I have grown up differently than other kids my age but I think it’s pretty normal. I’ve attended schools in countries like Brazil, Panama, Peru, Mexico, Spain, the USA and Indonesia. I’ve had the opportunity to see some incredible places and meet amazing people.

Rhonda says:

Our daughter Hanalei has more stamps in her passport than most adults, and she is seeing and doing things that she would have only ever learned about in a textbook

So, what do you want to be now?

The stereotypical way of asking what anyone wants to be in life is often “what do you want to be when you grow up”? And most times, people are asked when they are done with a particular phase of life, or when they are done with High School.

But for Hanalei, the case was different. At seven she was asked what she wanted to be at that moment. The question expanded her horizon and changed her perspective on the possibilities she could explore. She realized she didn’t have to wait to pursue her dreams. Then and there at the age of seven, she started her fashion brand.

When I was seven years old, my mum recorded a video of me on a beach in Costa Rica telling her that I wanted to be a fashion designer and an artist,” says Hanalei. “But I think my parents never imagined that my passion would evolve the way it did. To many, I am a different kid because I’ve grown up differently from most children, but to me it’s pretty unusual. Every day of my life has been an adventure, and there was always space for creativity. I believe these experiences have become part of who I am and why I have am both an artist and a designer.

Against The Odds

No career path is ever entirely smooth, as there are both rainy and sunny days. Hence, as a career chaser, it’s necessary to be able to bounce back from shortcomings and know how to prevent such occurrences in future.

Overcoming difficulties or shortcomings in career paths helps to grow a thick skin against such happenings in the long run. It also fuels the dream, which allows more room for growth.

Hanalei says:

“My passion has always been art and fashion. My goal is to help women and young girls love themselves and feel beautiful in their skin. I have always wanted to help people. And that’s exactly what my message and collection will do. Make people happy. I want to inspire women and young girls to live their dreams now

Hanalei Swan
Hanalei Swan
Hanalei Swan has been traveling the world since she was born. Together with her parents @rhondaswan and @unstoppablesurfer, they became the first digital nomad family. She has spoken on stages in Australia, Hong Kong, India, London, USA - Las Vegas & Orlando, and in Indonesia. She also released her book “How To Be & Raise An UNSTOPPABLE Kid” in January 2019. She started her first company at the age of 11, and quickly turned $20 she bored from her parents to start her business into a 6 figure company.


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