Heidy Rehman. Founder of Rose & Willard. View Full Bio. Trading Places: From Citi Group To Start-Up Interviews. Trading Places: From Citi Group To Start-Up. Heidy Rehman is the Founder & CEO of feminist fashion label, Rose & Willard. Prior to setting up her company she had a long corporate career in finance. Heidy . Heidy Rehman couldn’t find reasonably priced, ethically produced professional attire for women that suited her tastes. Instead of settling for.
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Rehman comes from an Analytics background and set about in the fashion world when she was at a crossroads in her life, and has produced a brand that is both fashion-forward, ethically conscious, but also smart and wearable.
I had the chance to chat to Heidy about how she started her business and about what inspired her to do so. Can you tell us a bit about yourself — how and when did you get started in the fashion industry?
I was brought up in a small working town near Newcastle. I subsequently studied accountancy. Prior to setting up this business I worked as a stockbroker at Citi for almost rrhman years. The last four years or so were spent in Dubai where I was top ranked for emerging market analysis of the chemicals and construction sectors.
I was at a crossroads in my life and so took the leap. Having a business background certainly helped. The creative side was accomplished by hiring people with that expertise.
It just took a while to decide what exactly that was going to be. Looking back the decision to set up a womenswear brand seemed inevitable given my frustration at not being able to find the clothes I wanted and needed to wear in my professional life. I also found that colleagues shared that frustration.
Heidy Rehman on feminist fashion
This situation coincided with my having reached as far in my career as my current job would allow. I was at a crossroads and rehmna was beckoning. It was a scary and tough decision but one I do not regret. The journey so far has been challenging but fun.
This runs in tandem with codes of conduct to which we are committed. We believe in ethics and empowerment, we like to fly the British flag and we like a bit of humour. Our craftsmanship is also of an exceptional standard with almost all of our production undertaken in London.
Heidyy new collections are all being produced in-house. From an ethical standpoint we investigate every fabric, trim, label supplier plus every manufacturer for proper working practices and especially employee working conditions.
We measure this in terms of the types of conditions we ourselves would be willing to work under. This principle extends to and includes our own studio where every intern is paid.
This is in sharp contrast to the fashion industry overall where interns work for no pay. Working conditions and providing opportunities for my staff are important to me. Also none of my staff works longer than eight hours per day.
I believe that the quality of our product and our ambition of Doing The Right Thing would resonate strongly with the achieving women we aim to reach out to. From an empowerment perspective — as well as the empowerment principles in place at our studio — our aim is to create beautifully-crafted, luxurious and modern pieces that flatter the female form.
That is exactly how we want them to feel. Ultimately we want that feeling to engender a confidence and empower women to go out and conquer the world. Tell me about the charity partners that you have teamed up with — how did they get involved and what is their role within the brand? The charities we have teamed up with are: This is a charity which connects employers with schools and colleges with a view to preparing the next generation for the world of work.
I approached all these charities as what they do resonates strongly with our ethics. We are also looking to work with the Armed Forces charities out of respect for those willing to lay down their lives for us.
So far we have worked with Futures for Women where we donated a prize at a raffle at their annual event. We have worked with Medaille Trust donations. We have also taken part in school volunteering initiatives with Inspiring the Future. What are your thoughts on gender inequality in the workplace and how do you feel your brand is combating this? I worked in the City for almost 14 years — an extremely male-dominated, public school boy environment.
All of my managers were men. As a woman, I often found that I had to prove myself much more than my male contemporaries. It argues that these qualities are valued in modern companies. Women differ from men not so much in their leadership styles as in the values that they bring to the job.
They are much more influenced by compassion and fairness than men. When I set up my company I decided that I would create a flat, open structure for everyone — no hierarchies.
interview with heidy rehman, founder of rose & willard | lip magazine
I did this because Heixy wanted ideas to flow and I believe ideas get blocked by levels of management. I believed some people, especially women, would lack the assertiveness to suggest an idea over and above their line manager.
Indeed I deliberately took the approach of hiring people no recruitment consultant would ever have suggested.
Most of my staff had little or no rshman, applicable work experience when they joined me. Rather I wanted able, hungry people who were willing and ready to demonstrate their capability. I also made incentives clear and real. Even at interview I would make it clear to candidates that the right person could progress. And I have stuck to that. My view is that women often lack the assertiveness that seems to come more naturally to men. My aim is to always maintain a structure of equality and to encourage everyone to express their views and concerns.
Hopefully that will help drive a more assertive approach and propel everyone forward. I have also always looked to accommodate those of my staff with children. For example, one staff has asked to have all of August as a holiday as she has two children of school age. I am willing to accommodate hwidy. I have also allowed flexibility in her hours so she can take her children to school. She is a valued team member and it would be wrong to risk losing her simply because she has family commitments.
I believe as more women enter and stay in the workforce, they will develop a stronger lobbying voice which will compel corporates to create more flexible working for those with families. I believe change can and should happen. Rehmna you have any advice for women who have experienced gender inequality in the workplace or in the fashion industry?
For example, write a list of your grievances in as objective a manner as possible, e. Always look to quantify where possible. So perhaps present the grievance and deliver the answer. If there are a number of issues then deal with each separately.
And always treat each objectively. Never cry or show emotion. Also I would suggest having any conversation in a relatively formal setting, i.
That lends gravity to the issue. Always avoid having off-the-cuff discussions where there is a grievance or issue you want to have addressed.
Invariably the person will not be in the correct frame of mind to deal with the matter or may be time-pressured, etc. There is a rising rate of women in tertiary education. This has been echoed by ICEF monitor, a market intelligence agency. They claim that by there will be 1. In some countries there will be twice as many women as men in these institutions. With women then accounting for higher numbers of graduates, inevitably, this will lead to higher participation rates of women in the rejman.
This should result in a closure of the pay gap and better conditions for working mothers. The tide has already turned …. Your rehmxn address will not be published. You may use these HTML tags and attributes: Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.
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