“The Pandemic initially crippled me, I lost all of my clients right after our lockdown and was stuck for at least 3 months not knowing my next move.” Ain Earle, Lead Consultant at The Fashion Arch shared. Her next steps were strategic, intentional and “Pivot” became her ethos.
The Digital Shift
Step by step Ain pivoted her services to the digital platform, shifting her approach and delivery from consultations to events. “After getting some calls from other creatives going through similar experiences, my initial thought and reaction was to create a space of support, I hosted bi-monthly virtual calls with past clients and other creatives where we could vent, share ideas and support each other with personal and entrepreneurial pursuits. This initiative is still on-going, almost 2 years later but now it’s a space of not just support, but of accountability and planning for its members,” Ain shared.
Stepping out of the
Ain grew up in a household that always celebrated and recognised culture and all things local. During the pandemic, she embraced her knowledge and experience in the Fashion World and launched her own product line/brand. “I offered stylish yet comfortable tops/pieces that can be worn for online meetings at home which now has turned into a full clothing line offering pieces for work as well as casual dates, outings even travel.”
Fast Forward 2 years later
Through adversity, with perseverance and fortitude, one’s efforts are always rewarded.
The National Entrepreneurship Development Company Limited (NEDCO) celebrated twenty (20) years of operations in August 2022. To mark this momentous milestone, NEDCO launched the inaugural event, the NEDCO National Entrepreneurship Awards, with the aim of highlighting resilient entrepreneurs and provide them with the national recognition and acclaim that they deserve.
NEDCO shared, “the global pandemic has been especially hard on our micro and small enterprises (MSEs) which are the backbone of our economy. Many, however, have been able to buffer its impact and not only survive, but thrive! The theme for the inaugural 2022 event is The Essence of Entrepreneurship which applauds the outstanding feats these entrepreneurs would have accomplished to excel during these challenging economic times. These awesome entrepreneurs truly represent what Entrepreneurship is all about!”
“Did I expect it? Absolutely not! There were other inspiring women nominated in this category. I was just humbled to be one of them. Then my name was called.”
“Winning the Female Entrepreneur Award at this inaugural Ceremony was transformational. It’s my first award and I am truly grateful for the recognition. I have been working with so many great stakeholders, partners and event managers across the region, spoke on various panels, hosted my own summit as well been a participant of various accelerator programs that have all led me to this point,” Ain shared.
Pursuing her passion
“My sister and I played pan at an early age, we were involved in many activities in school while ensuring academics was top of mind. I had a passion for helping others and when I was a child, I wanted to be a teacher and this dream eventually turned into becoming a consultant in the Hospitality and Tourism field. I always saw Tourism as something very important and a way we can connect with the world through our great resources and natural talents. Because of this passion and being introduced to the local fashion scene almost ten years ago I always thought that more could be done to raise awareness of and respect for the designers/creatives around me. After working on local fashion events and seeing the immense talents our creatives had to offer, I was motivated to create my own business. From this, The Fashion Arch was established in 2016.” Her focus is on fashion designers, artisans and artists assisting them with growth and branding strategies to increase their exposure, sales and eventually sustainability.
Advice to Female Entrepreneurs
“Being a creative, especially a female creative, isn’t easy, every day is different and we do so much for so many all the time that we sometimes neglect our well-being and run ourselves ragged. My mum always says, “you are no good to anyone if you are not good to yourself”, so I truly believe in taking time for self and filling your own cup to be able to pour out for others. As simple as taking time off, sticking to a schedule, journalling, having a plan, or just simply eating well and resting, we all need some self-care to recharge and to continue being our best selves.
For those bravely starting a new business, Ain shares, “Find your tribe, don't try to do it alone. Nothing is ever perfect so just start and learn along the way and remember everything takes time.”