Spotlight On: Sukoon Active
Spotlight on: Arshiya Kherani of Sukoon Active
by Dhuha Baig
The sun is slowly rising as your feet thump on the floor; the cold, wet grass mirrors the sweat on your forehead as your eyes are straining. Your ears try to catch the voices of the birds yet your breath is just too loud. The hard concrete is no match for your unbreakable drive to reach the finish line; your heart is pumping, your arms are swinging, your shoes are hitting the floor in such rhythmic motion that it seems like nothing could stop you. You are going to make it! Except—a strong gust of wind whips past you and takes your hijab down with it. Congratulations! You’ve just run through your last option.
If this sounds familiar, then we have good news for you! Listen tight to the story of Arshiya Kherani, Founder and CEO of Sukoon Active.
“Sukoon Active introduces active wear that should have always been part of the norm,” Kherani passionately writes. “We want to establish Sukoon as the go-to brand for modest, physically active women around the world.”
Born and raised in the United States as a first generation Indian American, 26-year-old Kherani recounts witnessing the endless hours and sacrifices her parents dedicated in effort to creating a comfortable life: “My parents have always encouraged me to be independent, well-read, well-traveled, kind-hearted, and to use my mind and heart to do something great for the world. You can’t help but be inspired to dream big.” With her parents as her number one motivation, Kherani moved to establishing her own business, inspired by hurdles she encountered when trying to maintain her modesty while continuing to do the things she loves. She began working on the project in April 2015, and officially launched Sukoon Active in June 2016, right after completing her first half-marathon.
“I grew up playing competitive sports, but in the years since I have started wearing hijab, there have been too many moments when I feel disconnected from what I love,” Kherani writes.
“I always have to think twice about how to secure my hijab under a helmet, or what materials are going to keep my head comfortable during a run. Sometimes, I have opted of out of participating in what I love to do entirely because of the anxiety that comes with my lack of options in the realm of athletic apparel.”
“It occurred to me that I wouldn’t go out in a thunderstorm wearing a makeshift raincoat, so why was I choosing to accept that I needed to work out in a makeshift hijab? That was the experience that inspired me to start Sukoon Active.”
Her passion is evident, for Kherani strives to create a business based off he religion and modesty, not altered because of it. “There’s nothing like pounding your feet against concrete during a sunset run. There’s also nothing like praying Fajr on the beach with a group of friends on a camping trip. My passion for Sukoon is fueled by one question: why can’t you be someone who experiences both? I believe that you can.”
After launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sukoon Active paired up with a non-profit that empowers young girls through martial arts training. Not only have they designing their very own collection, Sukoon went on to accommodate women of diverse beliefs, attempting to cater to more than just one audience.
Although based off active wear, Kherani envisions Sukoon Active to be so much more. “We are building Sukoon with the goal of inspiring women to engage in nature and the world in dynamic ways that enhance their own lives and the lives of those around them.”
“We are deeply committed to empowering women and girls through sports. By donating products and profits to select nonprofit organizations, Sukoon helps young girls around the world to improve their physical and mental health, self-esteem, academic achievement, and long-term economic and social standing.”
So, the next time you find yourself running at dawn, you can run freely. When the huge gust of wind hits you straight on, you can race through it, for your modesty is there to motivate you, not hinder you.
For more on Sukoon Active visit their website, sukoonactive.com