"I believe that feminism is a positive movement, it benefits every age, race, gender and even the economy. I wanted to create something which shows feminism in a positive light."
Let's get to know her.
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m Ramona, founder of feminist brand ‘Rani & Co’, which sells feminist slogan clothing and jewellery. The brand launched in 2017, so it’s still in the early stages of business.
- When did your journey start?
My journey started from a passion for feminism and a frustration for the 9-5 working life. I studied Accounting and Finance at University, but to be honest, I was terrible at it. I just wanted to get a 2.1, so I studied hard, got my grades and then ventured into the working world. Like a lot of graduates, I felt lost after University.
I had been an artist since the day I was born, creativity is my second language, but I was asked by many people ‘are you really going to make money from being creative?’ So, I played it safe and landed an internship at a FinTech company. It was utterly boring, so when I finished the internship I decided to step into marketing, which was one of the best decisions I made.
I interned at a start-up creative agency for a year, it was so much fun but the role was unpaid (yes, I worked free for a whole year). I have been working in digital marketing since, even though I really enjoy working in that industry, I hated the 9-5 life. I felt trapped, anxious and frustrated.
It was around the time when Dior showcased their ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ t-shirt on the runway in 2017, that I had the idea for Rani & Co. Feminism has always been a core belief of mine and when I saw the viral t-shirts I thought ‘wow, Dior are sending such a powerful message through fashion’. Lots of other brands jumped on the bandwagon, creating their own slogan feminist tops with ‘Girl Power’ and ‘Girl Gang’ slapped on a top. It frustrated me though because I felt that these slogans were feeding into the media’s idea of ‘feminism is man-hating’. That’s when I decided that I wanted to create something that would educate people about what feminism is, empower people (especially women), and express feminism in a medium which most people can relate to (fashion).
- What’s the idea behind your business?
The idea of Rani & Co. is to encourage fellow feminists, particularly women, to feel strong, to express feminism in a non-aggressive way and to remember the amazing feminists who have made a difference to the world, e.g. Maya Angelou, Malala etc. I believe that feminism is a positive movement, it benefits every age, race, gender and even the economy. I wanted to create something which shows feminism in a positive light.
- Do you have a personal life motto?
‘Make it happen’. I believe that there’s a solution to every problem, there’s no such thing as impossible. So if I ever face a challenge or I’m struggling to achieve a certain goal, I say to myself ‘there’s a way around this’, and somehow I find a way.
- What is your main struggle in being female entrepreneurs?
To be honest, I haven’t faced any struggles as a woman in entrepreneurship, but there are definitely challenges that I face as an entrepreneur. My main struggle is probably finding the time to do everything, there just aren’t enough hours in the day! Rani & Co. is a one woman show, which means that I have to manage social media, blog posts, product photography, website maintenance, suppliers, packaging etc. Not only can it be overwhelming, but it can also make me feel very anxious. An easy answer would be just to sleep less so I can get more done, but I’m one of those people who needs their sleep.
- How do you overcome it?
Before I go to bed, I write a list of what I need to do the next day and prioritise certain tasks. When a task is complete, I tick it off. It’s simple but so satisfying.
- What was your biggest professional achievement during your entrepreneur journey?
Being part of the Creoate pop-up store in Covent Garden, London. I was really nervous about selling my brand in their pop-up, partly because I had never invested what seemed like a large amount of money at the time, into an offline channel, but also because Ran & Co. is a small brand and not many people know about it, so who would buy my stuff?! I was pleasantly surprised though and I have had to constantly restock the clothing. It was a risk worth taking.
- What was your biggest personal achievement?
It was a long time ago, but my most proudest moment is when I achieved ‘Top Ten in the Country’ for my Art GCSE. Art has always been my number one passion, it’s my home. When my teacher told me I won the award, I was so incredibly happy. It also reminded me that if I follow my strengths, I will succeed.
- What is the greatest lesson you've learned from being an entrepreneur?
Patience and self-awareness are so important! Of course there’s the business side of things, e.g. finances, strategy etc., but I think that a lot of being a business person is to do with mindset. Building a business is so hard, so it’s crucial to always believe in yourself and your business. I’ve seen people start a business and after a few months they give up, there’s no such thing as an overnight success, you really do have to be so patient and just enjoy the journey. Also, always follow your gut, a lot of entrepreneurs say it and it’s very true!
- How do you find inspiration on an average day? Do you have any rituals?
When it comes to finding inspiration for designs, as an artist, I have to be in the ‘zone’ to create something, I can’t force myself to be creative. I often turn to Pinterest for inspiration or if I’m out shopping, I’ll take a picture of something I like.
For inspiration and motivation on a daily basis, I try to stick to a morning ritual. When I wake up, I don’t look at my phone for at least 30 mins and I try to meditate every morning for at least 5 minutes.
I usually go to the gym in the morning which gives me an hour to listen to my favourite podcasts, the GaryVee show or Holly Tucker’s Conversation with Inspiration. Gary Vaynerchuk helps to motivate me, reminding me of the importance of self-awareness and giving valuable digital marketing advice, whereas Holly interviews founders of successful businesses about their journeys, which reminds me not to give up.
Reading has also helped to inspire me. Business and self-help books like ‘Think & Grow Rich’ and ‘How To Be An Overnight Success’ are great!
- Who’s the female entrepreneur or leader that you admire the most and why?
Angela Ahrendts, Jessica Alba and Huda Beauty are my favourite businesswomen! Angela Ahrendts increased Burberry’s value by £5 billion and is now the Senior Vice President of retail Apple, I feel like she defies the glass ceiling theory and is proof that women can do anything. Jessica Alba is an amazing businesswoman, she’s created a billion dollar company which is incredible! I also love Huda Beauty’s story, she completed a Finance degree, worked in Finance for 3 months, then decided it wasn’t for her. She loved make-up and followed her passion, resulting in a global beauty brand. I feel like I can relate to her story as I also come from a Finance background and felt like it just wasn’t for me.
- How do you advertise yourself as an entrepreneur?
To be honest I prefer identifying as a 'creative' rather than an ’entrepreneur’.
I think entrepreneurship has become an overused term and is considered ‘cool’ but people don’t realise how much work goes into it. Anyone can become an entrepreneur these days and at a very low cost thanks to the internet, but actually growing a business is a whole other ball game. I like to advertise myself as someone who is following their passion, taking risks and enjoying the journey. I advertise that on social media, especially Instagram, by being hones about my journey, talking about the highs and the lows and showing the creative process behind designs.
- How did social media help you to promote your business?
Social media has been a key driver. When someone lands on your social media pages, they instantly get a feel of what your brand is like and what it stands for, so it was important for me to get the aesthetics and message right. High quality imagery on Instagram has helped to grow the brand from day one. Within the first 3 months, a Croatian magazine found our Instagram page and wrote a blog post on the brand which generated 5 sales in 1 day (this was a big deal at the time), simply because they liked the aesthetics of it. I’ve also dabbled in influencer marketing, which is good for raising brand awareness, but doesn’t always generate sales. Pinterest is often underestimated, but it’s great for companies selling products. Some say Pinterest generates more traffic than Facebook! Instagram is my main source of website traffic, so it’s important that I post on it everyday.
- Do you have any advice to give to the new female entrepreneurs?
There isn’t any advice I’d particularly give to women in entrepreneurship, but rather all business people. One thing I have noticed when talking to people who want to start their own business is that they’re scared. There’s nothing to be scared of, just go for it. If the business fails, good, learn from it and build something even better! Take it in baby steps, don’t worry how things are going to happen, just take the first step and the rest will figure itself out. Don’t be scared of people judging you, they will judge you regardless, so just do what you want to do and enjoy doing it. Also, always remember why you started. It’s very easy to get caught up in the money side of things and to compare your brand to others, but stay true to yourself and your brand message.
Thank You Ramona! To discover more, visit www.raniandco.co.uk.