Find your purpose. No matter what happens in life, have a purpose. Don’t define yourself to a job, a title, wearing a specific high-end designer, define yourself by your higher calling. Everything you do matters. The cycle of gratitude starts with you and it all ladders up to a greater calling. This will help you get past the small stuff and keep you focused on the future.
Be flexible. Change is the only guarantee in life. Be nimble and go with the flow. The more you resist, the harder life is. Breathe. Let it go.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.
As a part of our series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chaiah Delouya, co-founder of Simple Satch, a female owned and operated company that makes safety stylish with their hands-free, patent-pending infection prevention kits, and bespoke face masks. A strategic business executive and mom of three kids (11, 16 and 24), Chaiah has a nearly 20-year track record of innovation stretching across all areas of fashion industry. This ‘mompreneur’ is empowering women to embrace life in the new normal with confidence, and believes that personal hygiene, and giving back, will never go out of style.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I was born in Israel and moved to the United States when I was six-years old. My dad is Moroccan and mom American, and I’m a New Yorker. The incredible mix of cultures and traditions I experienced early in life left a huge impression on me. They shaped my inclusive nature and ability to authentically connect with anyone I meet. It also sparked my interest in self-expression through fashion. From lacing up my sneakers with satin red ribbons to reimagining my jeans, I was always finding ways as a young adult to uniquely style my outfits and develop functional clothing and accessories.
My creative passions led me to FIT (Fashion Institute of Design) where I became both a designer and a mom at 20-years-old. As a single mom, I had no choice but to be resilient and believe in myself. Now more than ever, I still live by these values while managing through these uncertain times.
After losing my job earlier this year, my determination, mixed with what I call a ‘just keep going mindset,’ helped me turn my pandemic setback into a comeback. Facing adversity ultimately helped me create Simple Satch, a stylish safety kit, and find my bigger purpose in life, empowering women.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
In the wake of a pandemic, when everyone else pulled back, my female Co-Founders and I pushed forward. We developed prototypes, built a virtual infrastructure, sourced materials, designed a virtual showroom, and successfully launched a brand. People thought we were crazy. We made the impossible, possible.
We live in a world where people set limits, but the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves. For the longest time I worked for other designers, never once thinking I could run my own company. I always had a yearning of wanting more, but not knowing what I was looking for. The pandemic forced me to make business decisions that were outside of my comfort zone. A ‘no boundaries’ mindset helped me grow through the pandemic challenges I was going through. It helped me gain a newfound self-confidence as an executive, find a new purpose in functional fashion as a designer, and it showed my kids how resourceful their mom can be during a crisis.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Every person has their own unique story and we want to hear it, share it and champion it. Building a diverse and engaged community is core to Simple Satch. We are using our platform to positively impact those in need and highlight our everyday heroes. We recently kicked off our #thegirlbehindthemask social media campaign to help raise awareness for impactful causes and spotlight the people that are driving positive change in our world. From frontline heroes to supermoms, we are making personal connections and empowering our girl-gang to tackle life in the new normal and beyond with confidence.
We are also uniting our products with purpose driven people who are enriching our communities nationwide to create virtual events to positively help those in need. From yoga classes and makeup tutorials, to cooking classes and skincare advice sessions, these virtual events all benefit notable causes, including The Child Mind Institute, City Harvest, and amFAR, Simple Satch’s charity partners.
While our campaigns raise awareness, our events generate funds and 10 percent of our products sold on simplesatch.com go directly to charity, I hope that ultimately, we are showing people that the little things we do in life can make a big impact on the world. We are all connected. Doing what we can, giving what we can, it makes a difference. We have more influence on the world then we realize.
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?
Energy means everything to me. When you find people who ignite a spark in you, you have found your home. Two people have been extremely instrumental in helping me find my personal light — my Co-Founder, Susie Levitt, and my boyfriend, Lee Stahl.
Susie and I both faced adversity at young ages — I was a single mom, and Susie lost her father when she was young. Everyone faces challenges, yet the mindset in which people embrace them can ultimately determine their success. Susie’s uplifting spirit combined with her solutions-oriented mindset helps everyone see possibilities instead of complexities. Her warm personality is infectious, her drive is inspiring, and her generosity is unparalleled. It is an honor to be her business partner and to create a company that is grounded in positively enhancing people’s lives.
My boyfriend Lee has been my rock. He helps me see what I can’t. He was my confidence booster who helped me realize I can start my own company and he made me realize that the only thing holding me back was myself. By removing my personal limits, I could embrace the creative entrepreneur calling that has always been within me. Lee’s unconditional support, along with Susie’s passion, are the foundation to Simple Satch’s empowering community.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?
One of the challenges that I had to overcome while in quarantine and co-founding a business is that I do not need to be “on” all the time. Working from home does not mean constantly working. A clear separation of work and family time is key. Additionally, tending to each relationship in your household is important to keeping a family strong. Every dynamic in your household matters — parents, children, etc. Don’t forget your pets! All relationships need love, care and nurturing, even during a pandemic, so they can grow.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
While I do think working from home can be challenging, it is also rewarding to show my kids another side of me. “Mom” is more than just a “mom.” She is a decisive leader, a strong negotiator and compassionate colleague. But, being a businesswoman and mom means trying to find balance and learning how to turn it off. One of the ways I create separation is by moving all business conversations off text messages and onto e-mail and an app — this way my kids have my full attention, not my phone.
Everyone deserves attention. Kids need attention, my boyfriend needs attention, my dogs need attention. Our kids are living in a different world than we grew up in, so we really need to hear them to best help them grow through these times. As a blended family, my boyfriend Lee and I make a concerted effort to care for each relationship in our household. By being mindful and proactive, we have peace of mind that everyone is getting the attention they deserve, and their feelings have been heard and addressed.
Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?
As a Co-Founder of Simple Satch, we launched our entire company during the pandemic — so business as (un)usual is our normal. All the stages in our development happened remotely — from product sourcing, prototypes and back-end development, to our launch and virtual charity events. Empowering women and giving back to those in need is part of the fabric of our company. As women, I think we thrive on personal connection. During this remote working era, building deep relationships has been challenging when business is done solely over e-mail, zoom and text messages.
When designing Simple Satch, safe and hands-free hygiene was our top priority. We wanted to create a product that women could use every day no matter if you are on the frontlines, in the boardroom or a parent raising kids. We went through more than 10 prototypes until we finally landed on the right product. Each stage of this design process was done virtually which was also unique.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
As Co-Founders starting a business in quarantine, we each make a concerted effort to over-communicate. From inspirational messages to each other to kick off the week, to sharing daily updates at the close of each business day, feeling connected, even while we are staying apart, is a priority to us. Setting intentions at the start of our meetings creates a foundation of positive energy and helps us cope with any situations that arise along the way.
From the design standpoint, we decided to provide access to sanitizing wipes from the outside of our bags to minimize contact with the interior compartment. Our patent-pending design has a rubber port which wipes can be pulled through making wiping and swiping a breeze. Going through the development stage virtually we were able to expedite certain steps such as directly communicating with our production team. With everyone’s health, including our vendors, the №1 priority, the production side did take longer to ensure all safety measures were taken. Over-communicating with all our vendors resulted in stylish, and convenient product we are proud of.
Lastly, as a wholesaler and product-based company, interfacing with Simple Satch customers is a critical component of our business. During this time of social distancing, we pivoted from a traditional in-person showroom to a digital one, this way our retail partners and customers could still access our products. Our ability to quickly find a solution proved successful. We were able to schedule customer appointments and showcase our entire collection, a surprising benefit as we were not always able to carry all our products to physical appointments. A solutions-based mindset is everything.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
Recalibrate when needed. As a mom and a businesswoman, you are constantly giving to others. Take time to focus on what you need to be successful in all areas of your life.
Sitting in guilt is never productive. Yesterday is done. Focus on today. Nothing is permanent, so kick your heels up, lace up those sneakers and just keep moving forward. Don’t feel guilty for not answering the e-mail right away because you were making your daughter lunch, and likewise if you need to dig into a presentation, sometimes you might not be the best homeschool teacher that day. Keep going, you are doing your best.
Businesswoman or mom? Why do I constantly have to choose between these roles? How I define myself is not an either or situation. I am a mom AND I am the Co-Founder of my company. Daily mantras and quotes on being both a mom and businesswoman lift me up and inspire me to continue doing my best.
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
My philosophy of doing a consumption inventory, not feeling guilty about giving time, and having clear boundaries between work and family, has really helped me stay calm during these uncertain times.
From the food you eat and the social media accounts you follow, to the podcasts you listen to and news you watch, everything you consume has an impact on you. Do a consumption inventory. Sometimes you need to shut off, unfollow and even have a digital detox to reconnect to what matters.
My second rule is to stop feeling guilty about not giving enough time. Throughout motherhood, I have always worried if I am giving my children enough time. Live in the moment and do the best you can.
While at home, the distinction between work and family is hard. Setting clear boundaries such as defining your work hours and prioritizing family time is key for my personal sanity.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
With hope, anything is possible — even during a pandemic. Here are my five reasons to be hopeful and mindful during these unprecedented times.
- Nothing lasts forever. I’m a firm believer in the saying, “this too shall pass.” It helps me remember that today is the most important day. Leave yesterday in the past and tomorrow will come tomorrow.
- Hardships often bring out the best in people. For every impossible element we are facing, there is a possible solution, but sometimes it takes innovative thinking mixed with being resourceful to generate it. Sometimes the best results come from challenging situations.
- Find your purpose. No matter what happens in life, have a purpose. Don’t define yourself to a job, a title, wearing a specific high-end designer, define yourself by your higher calling. Everything you do matters. The cycle of gratitude starts with you and it all ladders up to a greater calling. This will help you get past the small stuff and keep you focused on the future.
- Be flexible. Change is the only guarantee in life. Be nimble and go with the flow. The more you resist, the harder life is. Breathe. Let it go.
- Reimagine yourself. Constant evolution is key. You are a multi-faceted person. While sheltering in place, don’t be afraid to shake things up and take risks. Your kids will view you as resilient and takeaway what a dynamic person you really are. Mom is not the only role that defines you.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Genuinely listen to your kids and acknowledge their feelings. While we manage through this new normal, everyone in the household might have different feelings towards various parts of this new lifestyle. We are all allowed to feel and manage through those feelings differently.
Provide each other much needed space to digest what is going on in everyone’s own worlds. Just because we are sheltering at home, doesn’t mean we all spend time together. Keeping individual relationships up in the household are key components to a healthy family.
After I have listened and given my kids my full attention, sometimes positively redirecting their attention is another way to best support loved ones.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring,” by Marilyn Monroe.
You only get one shot at life — be you. Be unapologetically and authentically you. Speak your mind, don’t worry about what other people think, and live the life of your dreams, not what society has planned for you. It took me a long time to really get comfortable in my skin, but now I own it. Yes, I’m a mom, but I’m also a designer. Each day I wake up and feel good about being me, and my wish for you is to feel good about being you.
How can our readers follow you online?
Follow me on @SimpleSatch’s social platforms or by visiting SimpleSatch.com.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!