Her story is inspiring, and her journey from high-flying corporate executive to Miss-do-it-all of her own fashion label RAAHI deserves recognition.
After leaving her job as the publisher of Vogue India, Australian entrepreneur Gulshan Advani moved to Singapore and started her conscious fashion label, which not only got the swish set looking good on the outside – but also feeling good on the inside.
Here’s what she had to say..
How long have you been a fashion entrepreneur & how did you get started?
Having worked for various companies over the last 15 years, I have always had the desire to launch my own business. A ‘for profit’ business that is responsible and conscious but also fashion forward and relevant. However, the time never seemed right or rather I was too preoccupied with my publishing and consulting career.
My move to Singapore allowed me the time to stop and plan
and thus, RAAHI was born.
What’s the best part about owning your business?
The flexibility is a real positive, but more than that I think it’s the ability to drive your own vision. For me it’s being able to give directly to our cause (Art & Music Enrichment Programs for St Catherine of Sienna Orphanage in Mumbai, India) and witness first-hand the impact that our program has on the children.
How do you juggle role of Mommy and CEO? Can you describe a typical day?
Fortunately for me (not so much for the hubby), I’m an extremely organized person with spreadsheets for most things life throws at me.
I think its important to allocate your time efficiently so that you can enjoy the moment you’re in without thinking of all the other things on your plate.
When I’m with my son, my full attention is on him
and that’s the same for my business.
This not only allows me to be more focused and productive but more importantly, it gives me the opportunity to enjoy everything I do. You have to be happy in every aspect or why do it? I have recently started allocating some ‘me time’ for things like meditation, self development courses or simply reading a book!
Who do you count on for help?
I have a great support system and rely on family and friends for everything from creative inspiration to the nitty gritty’s of running a business.
For me, it’s really important to have sounding boards and I value the opinions of those I trust. Having worked in the same industry all through my career, I’m fortunate enough to have industry experts and influencers as my guides.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work?
Whether it’s a full-time job or running your own business, one is always juggling many balls.
When I initially went back to work (after the baby), I did feel the need to do a lot more at work and at home!
As a mum, it’s very easy to feel a sense of guilt. A sense that you’re not doing enough. For me, after a little struggle, I’ve realized that you must be organized so that you can be ‘present’ in whatever moment you’re in.
Do the best you can and then let go.
It won’t feel like a sacrifice.
Name other entrepreneurs who inspire you.
There are a number of inspirational entrepreneurs and companies today who have built responsible businesses. For example, Jessica Alba and Honest Company and businesses like Tesla who have done some great work. It’s heartening to see a rise in conscious consumption challenging businesses to produce ethically and calling for more transparency.
What advise would you give to your other moms thinking of starting their own business?
It’s important to have a plan. It’s even more important to be aware of the fact that not everything will go to plan!
Be clear about your offering (your USP), know your audience, create a strategy and have an action plan. In today’s market its imperative that you have a clear voice to cut through the clutter.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
We are growing slowly and steadily. We have just launched our e-commerce store and continue to partner with stores than not only drive sales but also help us to communicate our brand story (like the W Hotel). We are available in Singapore and the middle east and have a sound expansion plan for the near future.
Our goal is to work with more Orphanages across
India as the business grows.
We believe that art & music are effective forms of therapy for all children and thus, aim to provide this opportunity to children who may not have had the access.