Warwick graduate, Nabiha Khan, launched her South-Asian party clothing rental business in October 2017. She tells us about the proud moments and challenges she has experienced with her start-up.
What was your idea and how did it come about?
We provide South-Asian party wear outfit for rent and provide wedding services such as helping to find trusted wedding vendors, discover best ideas and planning tips.
The idea was kickstarted during my undergraduate days, when during Eid or Diwali celebrations, it was always nice to wear traditional outfits, but since few would bring ethnic clothes from their native country, they would either borrow from their friends or splurge for just one-off event.
However, the idea was actually born when I had to attend three South Asian friend’s wedding in UK a year. Each wedding involved at least three events. With dresses being very expensive to buy in UK for a one-off event and no trip to India. We realised having an affordable South Asian wear boutique would solve the problem but partially.
We found that clothes that sit in the back of our closet don't seem to add much value to our life. instead they contribute to inordinate amounts of waste pollution.
The chaos and lack of organised wedding services gave birth to Dressmedesi.
What has been your greatest achievement/proudest moment during your time on the scheme?
Some days, you have the wind at your back and everything goes smoothly. On other days, you feel like you’re constantly batting headwinds, potholes, reckless drivers, and a myriad of other obstacles. In launching and scaling our company, we’ve had no shortage of challenges. However, it was the constant feedback we got from our clients, and their love for our business idea, that really made us keep going. Also, getting client referrals through word of mouth was the proudest moment. Seeing how our business was making a difference in people’s life is a very heart-warming experience.
What have been your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced as a solo founder is keeping momentum. Without energy and input from other people, it can be easy to lose faith that your product is worthwhile, and start to fall behind.
How did you overcome them?
The best way of overcoming this that I’ve found so far is to try and build a small network of friends you trust to share your goals and bounce ideas around with. If you’re working alone, you need support from people who understand the exact challenges you are facing more than ever.
What advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Forge genuine connections with people inside and outside your industry. So much of our business is referral-based, one relationship can make or break your year. Be truly interested in them and try to cast a wide net.