Our Visible Changeseries spotlights change makers, whose intentions, dreams and lifestyles offer us a window into making, shaping, sharing and shopping in more sustainable and conscious ways.
Our latest segment features Ambika Singh, Chief BossLady
Ambika first landed on our radar as a fellow WOC entrepreneur, and we’ve since been lucky enough to land in Armoire’s fabulous shared closet. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a clothing rental subscription service that uses analytics to create style matches made in heaven. It also reduces fashion waste and challenges the status quo of the retail industry by putting shared values at the center of shared experiences.
And if you’d prefer to rent one of our robes rather than to buy, you can use the code: Lucky7 to test out the 7-items-a-month capsule for only $59, and include one of our robes in your first bundle. = )
Read on for our interview with Ambika:
What did you dream about as a kid, and what did your ancestors dream of for you?
I’m from an immigrant family, so my parents dreamed that my brother and I would be able to choose what/who we wanted to be personally and professionally. When I was little, I wanted to be something different every day of the week. Monday it was a quiltmaker, Tuesday a bus driver, Wednesday a teacher, and so on. What I took from that was the desire to have a life (and job) where I’m doing something exciting, impactful, or community-oriented every day. Luckily I’ve been able to create a job for myself that is so multifaceted and really rooted in community, which I love!
What do you do now? What do you hope to pass on?
I’m co-founder and Chief Boss Lady (CEO) of Armoire, a clothing rental subscription for women that provides an endless stream of high-end clothing tailored to each member’s unique preferences, for one flat monthly price (like Netflix or Spotify for women’s apparel). Armoire is a startup going into our fifth year of operation. Our mission is to empower women by democratizing fashion and to make the planet a better place by making a dent in the wastefulness of the fashion industry. We champion female designers, woman-owned brands, fair wages for garment workers, honoring cultures and their art, and supporting other women in achieving their dreams–whether that’s balancing being a mom and an entrepreneur, or running for elected positions.
I hope to pass on a world that is a little better than how I found it! It’s a lofty goal, so I’d say two things: the message that women can do anything we put our minds to, and the importance of a diverse team that truly believes in your vision. Being a female leader isn’t easy, and raising funds as a female startup CEO is no easier. There are lots of barriers, doubters, and people trying to discourage you from taking risks. My journey has been hard but rewarding, and I would regret more NOT going for my dreams than going for dreams that aren’t guaranteed to succeed. My team at Armoire has made surviving, and raising a funding round in a global pandemic, possible. We all have different stories and different reasons for being at Armoire, but our common thread is that we care about people, the planet, and want to see each other, and Armoire, succeed. Surround yourself with the people that share your values and vision — not “yes” people, but people that will be real with you, towards achieving that goal.
How do you set intentions?
I used to write a to-do list and cross things off of it every day, which would leave me feeling like I hadn’t accomplished anything, because my list was still a thousand things long! Recently, I got this great advice from another woman who said that every day, in the morning, she decides that there’s one thing that she is going to accomplish that day. There may be other things she wants to do, but she’s only going to judge herself on the one thing – no matter how big or small – when looking back on what she’s done that day. It could be personal or professional, but it’s something that can be accomplished in a day. I’ve started trying to do that, though it’s not a daily habit yet. I love this idea of intentionality. It’s incredibly satisfying, even if the thing I said I would do that day is 15 pushups! I’ve done something that day. And that helps the psyche so much.
What are your current intentions? For this year, season, day?
My intentions are to grow Armoire substantially within the next year, and rebuild our team to our pre-pandemic level (we’re almost there!). I want to serve more women in the US in the post-pandemic world and am excited about the role Armoire plays and can play in women’s lives as they return to socializing with a more purposeful mindset. One lesson from the pandemic is that we need to be more intentional in what we buy and wear. Rental helps solve that in a big way! My intention is for Armoire to be a part of that rethink for people.
What’s your design philosophy?
I’m not a designer, but I’d say that my “styling” philosophy is to take risks and wear what makes you happy! One of the amazing things we’ve built at Armoire is our members-only social sharing platform (The PWR Feed, PWR stands for “power”) where members post images of themselves in their rentals. You can see what other ladies have rented and how they’ve styled things, and it’s fantastic! It’s helped me step outside of my comfort zone, and I can say I take fashion risks weekly, even during COVID! I also enjoy mixing mediums – flannel and florals, for instance. Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it! 🙂
What supports you in tapping into your intuition?
I think more so than following my gut, it’s really honing in on what your customer wants. I love talking to members and understanding how they think, their ideas, etc. Armoire is for THEM and our customers are truly what guide our decisions at Armoire.
I know I keep talking about the customer, but that’s truly so important to me! I am inspired by the members we serve and feel so fortunate to be a part of their lives that brings them joy. I admire these women who are holding up our families, societies, governments, and beyond. Just being a source of positivity in their lives is motivating. I love hearing from customers about the piece from Armoire that helped them feel powerful in owning that boardroom, winning that local election, being an entrepreneur, etc.!
What are your favorite objects?
Objects that are important to me have stories behind them — usually stories that involve people! I have this pair of gold hoop earrings that were a gift from my dad’s sister — and my grandma gave them to her before that. So they’ve been passed down to me and are so rich in history. I feel like I’m channeling their combined power when I wear them, and it’s so special to me.
What’s your favorite icon from the The Postcard Edit visual legend? What does it represent for you? What’s your favorite product? Why?
My favorite icon from the The Postcard Edit visual legend is the wand icon representing manifestation. I think focusing on a visualization of how a problem that you’re working on is going to be solved, or how this mountain you’re climbing is going to feel when you’re at the top, is so important in actually achieving those goals. My favorite product is the Dream Robe in Sunbeam! It’s beautiful, vibrant, and quite literally sunny! I’m so excited that we’re able to offer it at Armoire. I can’t wait to rent it and channel the power of the artisans who made the robes, and any women who have rented it before me!