Meet Sonam Shah of The Label Corp., this week’s Awesome Startup Employee. Sonam has been nominated by Preeta Sukhtankar, Founder of the Label Corp.
“It’s a journey filled with a lot of ups and a few downs where each day ends with a satisfaction on crossing yet another hurdle. It has been an exciting and eventful year so far,” says Sonam, who joined The Label Corp on May 1st, 2013. Sonam started as a senior merchandiser just for theclosetlabel.com. Today, she is the head merchandiser and product developer for both the Closet Label and the Trunk Label; her main goal is to make sure that each category has a wide variety of unique products at all times. Besides this she ensures that there is no compromise made as far as quality is concerned and yet the products are easy on the pockets of the customers.
Preeta’s first impression of Sonam was that of a “super smart but very young girl, who I wasn’t sure could manage what the job demanded. Just the fact that today she is where she is demonstrates her capability and how much she has grown.”
Sonam’s most unique quality is her ability to be versatile and wear different hats and try everything even if she’s never done it before. This is an important trait especially for someone working in the startup ecosystem, says Preeta. She further adds, “Sonam’s ability to have adapted and successfully contributed to our journey as we scale is commendable.”
To help women find their personal style through the collection at The Label Corp is what Sonam loves the most about her role. “Like any other company, our aim at The Label Corp is to reach out to the maximum number of people,” she says. The biggest challenge Sonam faces is to understand and be able to dress women who are both style conscious and still culturally inclined and rooted. “It is a challenge to ensure that the collection is both comfortable and keeping with the latest styles and trends,” says Sonam.
“Being an online retailer, we don’t meet all our customer and therefore seeing someone at a party or in the mall wearing one of our designs is thoroughly exciting and always brings a smile to my face, ” says Sonam.
To the question of why only The Label Corp and not any other startup, Sonam states, -“Ours is maybe one of the only startups that has a glamour quotient where people look up to our celebrity creative directors for fashion insights. I thought I would definitely benefit by learning directly from such tastemakers.” The online retail e-commerce business is a booming industry that Sonam wanted to be a part of. According to Sonam, “Every company is known or rated by their success quotient. Our goal is to ensure that The Label Corp would eventually become a household name and be profitable at the same time. We have worked consciously towards setting our goals high. I can confidently say that although we are far from the peak, we are progressing with each coming day.”
“Yes it’s all about the team! Correct policies, lots of fun and a great deal of mutual respect for one another makes our team nearly perfect,” says Sonam. “We are guided by our founder who is a great leader who walks with us all the way, getting the best out of us. We are all very alike, creative minds who love working together. The team is helpful and supportive and we’ve always had each other’s back and that’s what helped us get to where we are today, ” she adds.
One of the most defining moments of her life has been the opportunity to work immediately after her Masters degree at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise, Los Angeles, with the company that has always been her dream – Forever 21. “Working at F21 helped me realized that being a Fashion Merchandiser is what I enjoyed most and hence here I am at The Label Corp,” she says.
Sonam is all for startups. “Yes, to me it’s a good career option. Startups teach you everything from scratch.” She agrees that working at startups is tough and you need to put in long hours. “When you commit to a startup it has the capacity to turn a novice to be an entrepreneur,” she says.
Working in the fashion industry, Sonam keeps herself updated on all new fashion scenes worldwide. “Although comfort is my style, comfort doesn’t necessarily mean simple or monotonous it can also be trendy and stylish and that surely reflects in my merchandise,” she says. Her style icon is Rachel Zoe. “I do believe our tastemakers Malaika Arora Khan and Bipsaha Basu are very strong influences in the Indian fashion industry,” adds Sonam.
One of the memorable moments that Preeta shares is about the summer collection of swimsuits and their eventual sellout. Preeta recollects, “Swimwear market is a niche in this country but Sonam and her team have always believed that there is a market for swimwear especially since they have engaged and understood female body type. This May, we sold over 200 of a particular style that cloaked abdomen flab and lengthened the torso just by its design.” This design, developed in-house, was a definite win for her and her team.
Sonam believes it is important to define and maintain a clear line between work and life so as to ensure that one can remain creative at the workplace. She says, “I try and optimize my office hours by prioritizing and organizing my to-do lists hence making sure to meet all deadlines before the end of the day (phew! It’s a herculean task).” She looks forward to Fridays when she can go out with the team for a drink or two! Sonam likes to travel at every opportunity she gets.
“I love being around people and exploring new places and cultures. I am always on a look out for unusual artifacts and collectibles,” she adds. Spending fun times with friends and family is her way of unwinding. However, she ensures that she makes time for exercise too.
To our readers she says, “Good luck in all your endeavors, follow your passion and you will definitely find your calling.”
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