“5 things I wish someone told me before I became a CEO” with Bhupi Singh, founder of The Spanish Sandal Co

Every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow: a year into my business I moved to another country and so I could quit or start using a fulfillment center; I chose the latter and it allowed me to triple my revenues that year. As a part of our series about strong female leaders, I had […]

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Every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow: a year into my business I moved to another country and so I could quit or start using a fulfillment center; I chose the latter and it allowed me to triple my revenues that year.

As a part of our series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bhupi Singh, founder of The Spanish Sandal Co. Bhupi Singh is the founder of the Spanish Sandal Co, an e-commerce store that sells avarcas, also known as menorquinas, that launched in 2017. When Bhupi and her family relocated to Los Angeles from Barcelona, she decided to start her own company, selling high-quality leather shoes that can be dressed up or down, that are affordable and made in Spain using traditional craftsmanship. Each pair is under $100 and designed for the busy woman on the go who doesn’t want to compromise style. Singh is a mother of three, all of which she had in under two years. She hopes to be an inspiration to other moms who don’t know how to reenter the workforce or find a balance within their professional ambitions and their family life, as well as being a “digital entrepreneur”.

I’m delighted that you agreed to this interview, thank you so much for doing this with us! What is it about the position of CEO the most attracted you to it?

I love being able to see my vision come to life in such a complete way.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The most interesting story is one of personal growth and how it has transformed me even in my personal life. I love what I do and I think the passion transcends my professional life. It has really changed me, making more focused, more understanding and more interesting as a person. I still touch upon most areas of the business and that has helped me stay humble and hyper aware of customer issues and expectations. I also love how my kids who are now 4 and 5 pretend they lead my company and sell shoes.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I have made is probably letting my 3 year old son play with my phone. I am an entrepreneur that relies heavily on social media to promote my business. One time when I let my son play with my phone he uploaded on Instagram stories a few pictures of himself crying. I had customers messaging me asking what had happened… I felt so embarrassed as I like to keep my private life very separate from my business life. Now I don’t allow my kids to play with my phone; My phone is my work tool and so they now know that they cannot play with it.

Specifically, what is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

Leading your own company is a lot of work; I used to work in management consulting so I was used to working a lot but when you lead your own company, it’s 24/7, you don’t have work-free weekends and you work most evenings too.

What advice would you give to other women leaders to help their team to thrive?

Don’t be afraid to show some vulnerability and express your feelings; People appreciate the humanity women bring to the table.

What advice would you give to other women leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

I don’t lead a large team yet.

Who inspired/inspires you and why?

I love Jen Rubio and what she has done with Away. She had an idea she was able to translate into a vision and an incredible business, all at a very young age.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have a close friend who is also an entrepreneur and started her business a few years before me. It was very helpful to get advice from someone that was slightly ahead of me, whether it was about starting a company, social media or PR, I am always able to count on her advice and her experience.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I try to extend kindness to my customers offering little perks here and there like express shipping — free of charge — when a customer is in a hurry or proceeding with an exchange even if the customer has not yet returned an item… we sell kind, sustainable fashion and I want it to be an easy and fun experience for our customer that provides a little getaway from their daily routine.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Everything takes time; when you are a young entrepreneur you are in a hurry to get to the next level of your business but it takes time to consolidate the base and grow.
  2. Every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow: a year into my business I moved to another country and so I could quit or start using a fulfillment center; I chose the latter and it allowed me to triple my revenues that year.
  3. There are a lot of ups and downs to being an entrepreneur but you determine the trajectory.
  4. Get mentors that will help you navigate difficult decisions or just help you grow as a business leader.
  5. Hire early and make sure you hire people with skills complementary to yours so as to grow faster.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

A large scale mentorship program; pairing professionally thriving men and women with teenagers from underprivileged backgrounds. The objective would be to help these young people discover their potential, have access to mentors, and boost their self-confidence.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It’s never too late to become who you could have been: I became an entrepreneur at age 38 which is quite late by today’s standards. I had a good career working in management consulting until I had kids at age 35 . With kids, I decided I needed more control over my time and travels and so decided to start my own business. Though there are a lot of peaks and valleys as an entrepreneur I would not go back to my previous life or career. It is possible to start over at any age and find your true passion.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would love to meet any high-profile female entrepreneurs like Jen Rubio, Emily Weiss, Jamie Kern Lima, Sarah Blakely, Kendra Scott or Rachel Hollis. They are an inspiration to me and I would love to have a 10 minute discussion with them.

About the author:

Phil La Duke is a popular speaker & writer with more than 350 works in print. He is the author of two books, I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business, and Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. Follow Phil on Twitter @philladuke

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