My mission is to empower women and to help them tell their story through their business and personal branding. Everyone has their different “why” and challenges as they begin setting up their own business, and moving forward to a successful career. What better way to learn than from the incredible women who have already taken that first step towards living their dream? I would like to give these women an opportunity to share their wisdom and stories. Hopefully it will inspire others to follow. As you will see, they are just like you. They all had an idea and they all wondered if they could make it work. Well they did; let them tell you how.
My second interview is with inspirational Loma Tai, the founder of SUST Style curated collection of sustainable clothes and accessories for confident, stylish and thoughtful woman. Our photo shoot took first place in Loma’s beautiful house in North London. Then we spent some time outside capturing Loma’s life in her beautiful neighbourhood Hampstead; buying flowers, visiting local shops and coffee places.
What career did you have before you set up your own business, and what made you want to try something new?
I started my professional life as a lawyer, I worked in that field until I had my children and then had a real soul searching phase which led me to train as a Psychotherapist. I still have clients but its been two years that I have been planning SUST Style. It has been my passion project. The careers I had before have only given me great training for what I have created with SUST.
WHAT WERE YOUR MAIN CONCERNS ABOUT GOING IT ALONE?
I think my main concern was making mistakes with money and not being great at predicting financial returns on investment. SUST is a new concept. I am not copying anybody’s idea. Finding and targeting the right market for luxury sustainable fashion and quantifying it to figure out if my business model was workable and scalable has been hard. I’ve had to rely on self-belief and faith especially the past 12 months.
WHAT WAS YOUR MAIN SOURCE OF MOTIVATION?
My main source of motivation to create SUST has been my strong commitment to quality and sustainability. I learnt about how the production process of mass produced cheap clothing actually negatively impacts the planet and the workers who are employed in terrible conditions with no rights to produce the clothes we buy. It occurred to me that a lot of small independent designers are being ignored. These people care deeply about design, sustainable production, fair treatment of labour and quality of material and I created SUST to provide a platform for the thoughtful consumer to be able to access these brands.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GO FROM JUST HAVING AN IDEA TO ACTUALLY STARTING YOUR BUSINESS?
It took me 2 years. I had the idea and then I researched many brands to make sure that they ticked the right boxes for me. It’s not only sustainability, they also had to produced unique and edgy fashion.
WHAT DID YOU FIND HARDEST?
The hardest part was the finances and learning how to navigate social media and use it to convert sales. I still haven’t got my head around that yet.
What made you decide to have a personal branding photoshoot?
I decided that SUST Style was a lot about an expression of my values and passions. I needed to communicate my personal style and tell my story to the customer. The photoshoot helped me do this. Petra tried to tell my story and bring out my personality through the branding photos.
How was the experience for you?
The experience of being shot was great fun, and confidence building because Petra put me at ease and fed me lots of positive feedback about myself that I lost my reserve pretty quickly.
How have your clients/potential clients responded to your personal branding photos?
Everyone has really engaged with the photographs. They have generated a lot of Likes and comments on Instagram.
What would you say to someone who is considering having a photoshoot?
Go for it. You won’t regret it.
Where are you hoping to be in a year from now?
I want to have increased my customer base at least 60%.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
The best piece of advice is not to sweat the small stuff. Running your own business can be very stressful. Many things go wrong, if I were to take it all on and worry about it constantly I would have an ulcer. When I feel stressed about the small stuff I try to step away from it and get some perspective. Nothing is so bad that I can’t eventually figure it out!
Who would be your 5 ideal dinner party guests?
My 5 Dinner Party Guests: Oprah, (she would have so many great stories to tell), Brene Brown (amazing motivational woman), Michelle Obama (motivational), Zainab Salbi (who founded Women For Women, an empowering human rights charity) and Elif Shafak (one of my favourite authors)
Ready to step into your whole power and up-level your business with personal branding photoshoot?
Then I can help! I can help reveal your uniqueness and your essence that capture the heart of your audience. Wherever your path has brought you today, I want to celebrate you and support you on your journey to tell your story and shine! Get in touch for a chat with zero obligations to book, you can pick a day and time here that suits and I will call you on the scheduled time.