Updated: Oct 20, 2020
Every entrepreneur has a different story about why he or she decided to start a business. Some have known from day one that they wanted to work for themselves and others come up with ideas while working for someone else and decide to take the entrepreneurial leap.
We interviewed Activewear Fashion Garments Entrepreneur Ms Raashi Mittal who is a London School of Economics graduate and worked in a world-class bank for 4 years before starting on her venture Alfabolic. Her hard work and determination enabled her to achieve what she wanted. Here's her story :
Tell us about your business
Alfa (definition) represents the first (typically the brightest) star in a constellation. Alfabolic was developed as a revolution that was required for every woman, to live life is a holistic manner. We are an activewear lifestyle brand that makes quirky garments to keep life interesting. We combine the key elements of fashion with fitness, fashion with comfort & travel and create garments with the best feel and fabric, to effortlessly transition you from studio to street.
From where did you get the inspiration to start the business?
I studied at Warwick and then went on to complete my Masters at the London School of Economics. Post this, I worked in the banking sector at J.P. Morgan London for close to 4 years. Living in London, living an active empowered lifestyle, I felt the need to empower other women through activating their inner 'alfa'. I realised that I could do this by providing activewear fashion garments that could be worn all day, every day, everywhere.
Walk us through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today.
I had been talking to my family and husband about starting my own business, to understand the nuances between a professional high skill job and entrepreneurship. Everyone did point out to me that I loved living life high in adrenaline, including working out and keeping myself active at all times, yet there weren't too many local brand options providing me with garments I would like to wear. With no degree in fashion, I wrote up a business plan, that involved me understanding every aspect of the business from manufacturing, marketing, sales, website management etc. Needless to say, it took me 3 years to eventually launch, after completing sufficient due diligence and R&D of this space. I currently manage all aspects of the business.
How long were you running the business before you started paying yourself? How did you live through those first few months/years?
Since we are at a nascent stage, and a stage of expansion, I currently do not take out a salary for myself and use all the earnings to reinvest back into the business.
How supportive is your family?
My family has been very supportive throughout my journey of inception to launch. I have a very supportive partner who has guided and encouraged me throughout my journey. And of course, the world's best mother who also happens to be alfabolic's best model!
Do you think, women are having more business opportunities because of changing social environment or not?
I definitely think the social environment has become more supportive of women growing, and it is encouraging to see changes in sectors that are traditionally male-dominated, such as the financial sector. In metros, most women are now working and growing in careers of their choice. Start-ups by women in their 40s, early 50s, is also a growing space and this is evident in changing mindsets and supportive social environments.
What are the social environmental factors that have increased the prospects of women entrepreneurship?
Evolving mindsets, increased exposure towards educational and vocational degrees, changing social patterns are a major contribution to the prospects of women entrepreneurship. I also truly believe women who support women, can run the world. Empowered women empower other women.
What problems do you face as an entrepreneur?
Managing a work-life balance is one of my major challenges as an entrepreneur. It is a challenge to not take back work home with you. Additionally, I had mentioned that I was managing all the aspects of the business, so people management, relationship building with vendors is a process I am constantly working on.
How would you like to educate other women to take up entrepreneurship roles?
Do what you love. Your work defines who you are, what you stand for, and how amazing you are to manage so many roles in your life. Having an opportunity is a gift, and use it to draw out values that you stand for. Do not be scared of failing. Ensure you have experience and education in the space you want to venture into, that was a mistake that I made. Build a network that will help educate you in your work. And of course, reach for the stars!
What are your future plans in terms of your business?
Ensuring alfabolic can penetrate the life of many like-minded women, who live a similar lifestyle. We would be open to expanding our e-commerce model to other countries, once we have tapped into the Indian market. Adding a line for men, and expanding our products horizontally across the business is also on the cards.
If a young girl walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?
Always remember that life would be lacklustre, without balancing a kettlebell in one hand and a cupcake in the other. Our life ethos: Do what you love, love what you do! Connect with yourself, connect with #thealfawithin.
We believe each woman has a story and we need to hear these stories to inspire, encourage and empower each other. What is your story?
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