After having a baby boy, Altrichia Lekay couldn’t find a two-piece swimsuit that made her feel confident.
“There were high-waist suits a lot of different places, but for me, they just weren’t high enough,” Lekay tells PEOPLE. “I created my own high-waist swimsuit with a tailor. It gave me confidence to wear a two-piece again and discretely mask the imperfections.”
She posted a photo of her suit on Instagram and was immediately bombarded with compliments from friends and followers who wanted to know where she got her suit. Seeing a gap in the market, the 28-year-old launched Allusions by A. Lekay in 2013.
“I never thought an idea would transform into an internationally recognized business in two years,” she tells PEOPLE. “The world is not a stranger to the high-waisted look from the pin-up era – it’s just taking an old idea that personally worked for me, and putting a new twist on it.”
Although she initially created her swimsuits for postpartum women like herself, they’re now worn by women of all ages, body types and backgrounds.
“We cater to women from all walks of life, from the most fashionable women, to a mother, to physicians, attorneys, corporate executives, college students, high school students,” Lekay says.
“I was very, very excited,” she says of seeing Minaj in her patriotic swimsuit. “It was a truly humbling moment for me.”
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No matter who is wearing her swimsuits, Lekay hopes they feel good about themselves and proud of their bodies.
“When women wear an Allusions by A. Lekay piece, I want them to feel confident, I want them to feel beautiful, I want them to feel empowered, and most importantly I just want them to feel sexy,” she says.
“I’ve gotten testimonials from women who haven’t worn a swimsuit in over a decade or two decades, so to me that is rewarding within itself,” she continues. “We want to empower women to live life fiercely and fearlessly, and that simply means that whatever it is in life that you want, you go for it.”