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“Create a space for real talk” With Beau Henderson & Ambika Singh

Our lives have been completely transformed and disrupted and there’s uncertainty when we will get back to a sense of normalcy. It’s important to get a routine that works for you. Having a routine makes being intentional easier and productivity possible. You have to find the calm in your routine — what are the things […]

Our lives have been completely transformed and disrupted and there’s uncertainty when we will get back to a sense of normalcy. It’s important to get a routine that works for you. Having a routine makes being intentional easier and productivity possible. You have to find the calm in your routine — what are the things that bring you joy for some people waking up and getting dressed everyday makes a world of difference.


Asa part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ambika Singh.

Ambika Singh is the Founder and CEO of Armoire, a leading subscription rental clothing company that’s revolutionizing the way women dress. Using a combination of stylists and technology, Armoire makes women’s lives easier by offering a more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable way to dress. Singh has worked in roles across tech, marketing, business development, product management, SEO and social media. Singh additionally played a key role in the creation of internet startups Rover.com and TravelPost.com.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! 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?

Iwanted to do something meaningful! I came up with the idea of Armoire when I was working in software sales, years ago. It was a highly visible job with a lot of travel and I could not get enough laundry done. I continued to notice a gap in fashion while attending MIT’s Sloan School of Business. Fashion is a rapidly changing industry, but by no means a sustainable one. Being from Seattle, I care deeply about the environment and knew there was a better and more convenient way to get dressed. Armoire was created to relieve the pressures the “modern boss lady” feels to get dressed while also keeping wardrobe costs manageable. I want to make getting dressed fun and take the stress out of the experience.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Starting Armoire, by far is the hallmark experience of my career. It was born at MIT while I completed my MBA and I enjoyed the process of building a company around all of the things I’m passionate about — tech, fashion, and community. It was shaped by a core group of committed friends and nurtured by a community of bossladies. To see a concept build out into a pitch and transform into a growing business is the great reward of entrepreneurship.

I have to say Armoire’s Facebook group — The PWR Chat is an inspiring place for me. It’s where our customers and boss ladies log-in to share not only their favorite looks but it’s a really upbeat community. During the most challenging time for our business — this COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing engagement in the chats spike and it’s their incredible stories that bubble up and give me such joy and hope for the future.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Culture is all about the people in your organization and you have to love the people you work with. It will show. Armoire has been built for women and by women and some great men. It’s exciting to see the growth. We have built a team comprised of 90% women, but this actually wasn’t intentional. Many companies, especially in tech, don’t foster supporting environments for women. We are proud of our culture and can attract talented people and embrace welcoming many who have been excluded from other traditional tech spaces. Creating a workplace that is supportive for everyone, regardless of gender, race, etc, is what truly makes us successful, and drives our mission forward.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight is a favorite. It showed me how grit, persistence and a love for the game can create great teams and great companies. I could relate when he reflected on his founder’s story — how a brand starts with an idea and a big risk. He shared his worries around the odds of ‘making it’ knowing how many businesses fail. Even when the odds are against you if you believe in your product and mission you have to — just do it.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

I really thrive when I can be present. To be present requires you to be enthusiastic and excited by the moment — not thinking about everything else going on in your life. It’s easy for our minds and attention to be cluttered with the news, social media, work, family and everything in between. When we are able to take the time and mental space to be present and aware of what matters to prioritize our lives — that’s the optimal state of mindfulness.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

Becoming more mindful helps you calm and in some instances eliminate worry and anxiety. You can essentially mute the background noise in your life and that gives you mental, physical and emotional clarity. Being mindful makes you focus and be action-oriented around priorities and create structure through a routine.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

1. ) Be Present — You can’t do it all, especially not at once. During this time when everyone is spending way more time at home with our families or in isolation it can be hard to focus. You have to create space for a mental break to reflect and calm your nerves. Self care is a must.

2.) Create a routine — It’s easy for the days to blur together. A routine is essential and waking up everyday and getting dressed is a small way to bring some normalcy back into your lives. It helps you break the PJs all day everyday default.

3.) Be action-oriented and proud of what you have accomplished — Having a routine helps you get things done which is the best feeling ever. Take time to celebrate what you do accomplish — don’t over fixate on the never ending to-do list.

4.) Metrics from home- It’s important to continue to set goals for yourself and to actually keep up with your performance (whatever that means). This gives you a sense of accountability.

5.) Do Something Fun — The days feel longer then ever same time everyday make time for something fun for you. An online shopping break, a show, a movie, a dance session, a workout — it’s up to you.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  1. Create a safe space for real talk — It’s OK to talk about the enormity of this situation and the impact of COVID-19. Real talk is so important now and people want a buddy to feel anxious with.
  2. Talk about the worst case scenario and break down every part of that scenario. It helps everyone — especially people with anxiety. You might think that an anxious person wants to “be distracted”, but they don’t. I know because I am that person!
  3. Connect with others — Check in on each other. It can be friends and family virtually or you can connect with folks online with shared interests. For example finding a funny meme online and liking it can be a way for some of us to not only laugh but cope.
  4. Be honest — Don’t sugarcoat your feelings. It’s okay to feel a whole range of emotions during this time. Talking about it might help you process.
  5. Share — It’s important to help where we can — whether you are sharing information with a small business or sharing a crowdfunding link on your social to support another. Let’s use our networks to lift each other up.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

Our lives have been completely transformed and disrupted and there’s uncertainty when we will get back to a sense of normalcy. It’s important to get a routine that works for you. Having a routine makes being intentional easier and productivity possible. You have to find the calm in your routine — what are the things that bring you joy for some people waking up and getting dressed everyday makes a world of difference.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Create the option before you decide if you want the option or not.” We all spend too much time being anxious about a possibility. There’s freedom in having options and planning ahead to give yourself the joy of choice. It’s relevant in my life because I never want to be in a situation when my back is against the wall on a decision because I didn’t create pathways for choice. As leaders every little decision we make has a macro impact in the long run.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. 🙂

I, like many others, want a movement focused on eliminating inequality and eliminating waste. Both are huge passions of mine and they are in some ways related.

I want to eliminate inequality and injustice overall. I also think there’s a lot of waste in the US and so many people in need. Let’s close that gap. We can all hoard less, and share more. When I think about the fashion / retail industry in particular — I want us to be more mindful about what we buy and not to create excess waste. Our purchasing decisions matter and supporting a sharing economy is better for the environment and our wallets. Share what we wear and always donate whatever you don’t wear giving it a second life with someone else.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

@ambikasi, @armoire.style and Ambika Singh on Facebook and LinkedIn

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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