Dress, its not just a piece of cloth to cover your body, but also gives you a more professional look, confidence and positive energy.
Someone once said, your looks define your confidence, and the way you dress reflects your internal personality. There are many times when a woman will find it difficult to decide what to wear to her professional workplace.
As an employee, you don’t just reflect yourself but also represent your company and its brand. Your style, confidence, clothing, and overall appearance defines you and your organization.
So what you wear says a lot about you. People do judge you, especially in the corporate world, by the way you dress and present yourself. Most high profile corporate organizations and large MNCs have a very strict rules of dressing.
Today we present Suit & Simple, a venture headed by two Asian females, Milly Wang and Rani Maiti. They both faced similar problems themselves during their professional careers. Most of the suits they found in the market were ill-fitted, expensive or not designed appropriately for that professional look.
While struggling with this issue, they came up with the idea of offering something that will provide the wearer with a modern, classy, and elegant look, while still remaining affordable.
Today we are so excited and happy to present these two young, charming, and intelligent divas, Rani and Milly who started their venture while struggling with their own problems of finding affordable professional wear and decided to create a brand that will address this problem and help empower and enable more female professionals to succeed in the workplace.
We are even more excited to know that they are both from our very own Asian community, and started this venture on their own at a very young age. Their story is an inspiration to several others out there.
Lets see how they describe their own baby and the struggles and challenges that they’ve faced in their own words.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
The name of our venture is Suit & Simple. We chose this name because it represents who we are, what we offer, and what we strive to be. We strive to make the process of finding a good quality and affordable suit set easy for you by offer an entire suit set for under $100. We’ve carefully designed each individual piece to give you the best possible fit and experience.
2.Who is your target Audience/clients?
Our target audience is young women who are getting ready to enter the workforce and who are looking for an affordable, professional suit set for interviews, internships, or their day-to-day job. Age wise, our target market applies to the late teens and above.
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
We are based off on New York City, New York, in the United States. Our target area covers USA as well as Canada.
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Our goal is to solve the eternal hassle of what to wear. As a young professional women, we’ve found finding the right clothes for interviews and jobs to be difficult. Either the clothes don’t fit well, are of poor quality, or they are incredibly expensive. At Suit & Simple, we aim to solve this dilemma. We’ve designed a unique set of staples that will last throughout the years, at an affordable price. We offer a complete suit set: blazer, blouse and pencil skirt. These pieces were designed to work together as a ensemble, or as separate pieces that you can mix and match with other clothes that you have. The 21st Century is all about versatility and here at Suit & Simple, we definitely tackle that!
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
Like we’ve mentioned before, the idea came from a personal struggle of finding the right clothes for my internship and job interviews. Whatever I found was either of poor quality, too expensive or ill-fitting. I couldn’t find a high quality suit set that fit well and was also affordable. And so I set out to create it myself. But since I didn’t have any design experience, I decided to get the help of my friend, who happens to be a fashion designer. Together we worked on turning this idea into a reality. And here we are today!
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Based on our target market and price point, our biggest competitors are fast fashion stores such as H&M, Forever XXI, etc. Their reach and price points are incredibly low, but the quality of their garments are very poor. The quality of the products that we offer, the longevity of the garments and the price you pay for them is certainly something that sets us apart. At our quality point, our prices can’t be beat!
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
Rani and I actually lived in the same building during our summer internships. And coincidentally, she had asked me to be her fit model since she was creating a runway collection. So luckily, I got to see her work first hand and was really impressed by how talented she was. For me, a co-founder doesn’t only need to have the design skills, but also needed to have a passion and drive for what we’re creating. And to me, Rani embodies all of that. Plus we are also super good friends!
Rani is a hard worker, who will go above and beyond to achieve her goal. She’s really passionate about her work and about Suit & Simple, and I feel really grateful to have found a person who loves and believes in Suit & Simple as much as I do. We’ve been together each step of this journey to launching, and I couldn’t think of a better person to work with!
8.How did you hired your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
As of now, its only Rani & I. Once we enter the market and expand our operations, we’ll also look into expanding the team. For us, dedication and a passion for what we stand for is a must. We’re looking for a team member who believes in what we do, and believes in our mission to make women’s professional wear more affordable in order to empower women in the workspace and make it possible for more of us to enter the workplace and succeed. So we’d be looking for someone who is willing to commit to the project, and who has the experience that we’re looking for. At this stage, it’s very likely that we’ll be looking for someone who knows the market well, and knows creative ways to reach our target audience. We want someone that’s able to step up at any moment, but that is also willing to get his/her hands dirty and work from the bottom up.
9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Right now, we’re focused on the US market. As we grow and expand, we’d like to introduce a greater variety of garments with different prints, colors and designs.
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
In the next 10 years, we want to be the go to place for students, interns and young professionals to get their first suit and all of their suits thereafter.
11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
In the next one to three months, we’re focusing on reaching our target customer group, raise funding on our Indiegogo campaign, and getting our name out there. In the next six to twelve month, we’re looking to deliver our first orders and continue to reach out to as many people as possible
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We’re currently in the process of raising funding through our Indiegogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/suit-simple-suits-under-100#/
Prior to this, all of the funds have been provided 100% by us. We’ve been bootstrapping the process and plan to continue to do so!
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Most of the problems that we faced involved finding the right supplier. Finding a manufacture that will be able to produce the design that we had in mind with the right quality fabrics is not easy. You also have to make sure that whoever you work with is capable of manufacturing the products on time and delivering what they promised. There were a lot of potential suppliers that we looked into and it took a while before we were able to find someone we are 100% comfortable working with. In addition to the suppliers, there were also a lot of technical design aspects such as design, measurements, and grading, that I had no experience with and wouldn’t have been possible without Rani’s help!
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
Timing. For us, something is always coming up last minute…such as models not showing up to the photoshoot, packages lost by the courier, and lack of responsiveness from some of the manufactures we were talking to. We’ve experienced a little bit of everything by now! But we tackle each problem individually and with a lot of patience. If we’re lacking expertise in any particular area, we make sure to do our research and have also reached out to friends who have more expertise to ask for their advice and help. So far, we’ve been able to successfully overcome any of the challenges that have come our way!
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
We are both single.
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
We’ve both a little bit of workaholics, but we both love trying out different cuisines and visiting museums. We love anything matcha flavored and all desserts. Rani has a passion for fashion illustration, so she often keeps up with it by going to masterclasses and having her own clients. As for me, I love playing bridge and board games, and also reading and drawing.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
Milly: Asian, especially Chinese food. As a for holiday destination I’d love to do a medieval architecture tour through Europe and visit all of the landmark Cathedrals.
Rani: Anything Asian or Mexican. As for a holiday destination, I would have to be somewhere cold, or a backpacking trip throughout Asia!
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
Milly: My biggest idols and motivators are my family. They’ve supported me through thick and thin, and have always been there for me – and I’m incredibly grateful for them! I really believe in following your passion and I’m always very motivated by incredible people around me who have followed their passions and do the things that they love.
Rani: I would say I have people around me who have their own startup themselves and have become successful. People like that motivate me.
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
I would say that the major difference is the effort involved as well as the connection you have to the service/product. Nobody is going to work as hard as you when it is something you have created from zero and that you truly believe in. Suit & Simple is our baby!
20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Milly: I’m still in the early stages of my career, and looking back, I don’t regret anything that I’ve done. After all, I truly believe that each step of your life and career helps to shape who you are and are very valuable experiences. But if I had to think of anything that I’d have done differently, then I feel that I should definitely have taken more of the opportunities that came by way and tried out more things.
Rani: I think its a matter of how I react to different situations. On some occasions, Instead of stressing I would try to enjoy as much as possible. Enjoy my youth for sure! And be open to any opportunity. Its all about the perspective you have over your life. I would try to have a more calm and relaxed one!
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Rani: It has certainly made me appreciate my family so much. Without their immeasurable support, we would be here typing these answers! I have also approached them as a business individual looking for their advice. So certainly this new interaction has added so much to our relationship, as I see different aspects in them (professionally speaking) that I never saw before.
As for our social life, Milly and I can agree, that such as struggled a bit. Because of our full-time jobs and this project whatever we had before has shrunk. Nonetheless at the same time, it has forced us to go beyond our reach and reach out to people. After all, business is all about who you know.
Milly: It hasn’t affected me too much, and I’m lucky in that respect. My family has always been very supportive of what I do, and I’m extremely grateful for that. I’m also very lucky to have extremely supportive friends who have cheered me on and offered me a lot of help along the way, so thank you all!
22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
As cheesy as this may sound, if you have a goal or something you want to work towards and you are confident you can bring this to life – GO FOR IT! However, be warned that the road towards entrepreneurship is not easy. There are a lot of bumps along the way. Be open to learn from your mistakes, as you will make many. Be patient with yourself. And have a support group. You will lean on those individuals constantly, but there is nothing wrong with that!
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
Milly: I’m originally from Toronto and graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Economics.
Rani: I was born and raised in Mexico, and relocated to Texas to pursue a degree in Fashion Design at the Uni. of the Incarnate Word. After graduation, I moved to NY for work.
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
What makes us unique is first of all our concept. There is no specialty store dedicated to women’s suits, like there is to men’s. Secondly, our garment’s quality and price is something that not anybody can achieve. We’re the only place that offers suit sets for women for under $100!
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Competition with conglomerate companies has certainly made getting into the market challenging. Furthermore, there is always a risk of losing relevance as there is always something new coming up.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Though we don’t see it often, we are successful. After all, not anybody can get to the point we are at. We measure success by goal achievement. Sometimes all it takes is to accomplish those small goals like getting the so-wanted reply from the manufacturer or the agreement for a feature. Instead of focusing on the big victories, we try to enjoy the small ones as well. That helps us stay grounded and focused on what is to come!
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person