Every company should be able to dedicate at least one hour a week for their workers to exercise. Maybe in the office, in the cafeteria or any empty space. I think exercise is so important. It puts everyone’s guard down as well. And bring to your kids to work once a month at least. I’m a big family person and most of my time outside work is dedicated to my two sons.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Micky Sivapruksa. Micky is Founder and CEO of Flexi Lexi Fitness and PIMM Movement. She wears many hats but her most important one is a mother of her two boys, Troy (5) and Zac (3). She lives in Bangkok, Thailand with her husband and her sons.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Yes of course thank you for having me. It started five years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. I was practicing prenatal yoga and I was wearing a sports bra. Because my body was changing a lot and the sports bra even though I got the right size was so difficult to wear and take off, I thought maybe there should be a market for a bralette that would hold everything in but was comfortable to wear and with fun colours!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I seriously think everything that’s happening with our brand is interesting! I would say though the most interesting thing would be finding it hard to believe that Flexi Lexi Fitness would come this far and that people from all over the world love our brand and our unique designs. Before Flexi Lexi Fitness there were no premium yoga and activewear with designs like ours. Think pink flamingos and pineapples with eyelashes and mer-cats and avocado pants.
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?
I think no mistakes are funny when it happens honestly lol. But yes when you think back about that it could be funny. Mistakes when I first started the brand would be doing everything on my own (when I was pregnant too!) and mixing up orders. But what I learned from those mistakes, apart from the fact that I should always have to be extra careful when reading orders and packing orders lol, is that people are so forgiving when you talk to them nicely. I emailed the customers apologizing and explaining what happened. They usually said it was OK and they couldn’t wait to receive the right orders. With emailing back and forth so many times, some of them actually have become friends with me until now.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Definitely our fun designs and our quality. When I sourced the fabric I told the factory I wanted the best fabric they had. If I wanted to start something and I wanted it to last I wanted to focus on the quality. And then came the fun designs which all came from my personal preferences. I love all the bright and happy colours and designs and I worked with designers to come up with the designs that I liked. When we first launched the bralettes a lot of people actually gave feedback that they loved them so much. And the customers were actually the ones who suggested we should start making the leggings too. A few months after I launched our bralettes, then came our popular Flexi Pants with cute designs. They became a hit as well and then I got approached by many retailers worldwide. Then we started launching our products in collections like other international brands.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes we are launching the new Summer Collection which is called Under the Sea. This collection is our first recycled collection. I know we are a little late into the game when it comes to using recycled fabric but it took us almost a year to find the right fabric for our products. This collection will come with special natural canvas bags with cute wording and graphics on them. And these bags are hand-made by our local seamstresses in order to generate income within our local community. So yes this collection will help save the world as well as our local Thai artisans as well.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
The only thing I can say is that you should never give up. There will be days that are so hard you have 0 energy left but you need to get up and fight for what you love. When you have that energy back again, your team will see and they will follow your suit. Nothing is more disheartening than seeing your boss giving up. But again remember it is OK to rest and take a break as well.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Sympathy and empathy. Remember everyone has a bad day. Always be nice and friendly and accessible but never ever be fake or flaky.
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?
To be completely honest, I have done everything on my own. But I think I owe a lot to my parents I guess. They always give me moral support and they always encourage me to follow my dreams.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Yes we do a lot of donations to local charities and we always do events that help communities. We will organize Zenergy Wellness Festival in July and there will be activities that involve local communities in Thailand like the communities who live in the mangrove. We organize the mangrove tour to help generate income to local communities.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Always communicate to your team — there’s many people that I know both leaders and followers who fail because they either do not communicate with their staff or are not given proper instructions. Communication is key. In Every Single Relationship. Business or personal. I love communicating with people. Sometimes I talk too much or share too much lol but I think it does help me in terms of people will understand me clearly of what I want.
- Always take responsibility — I never let my staff take responsibility for me. I take that it’s always my responsibility to follow up and make sure everyone’s job is done properly. Yes they are doing their job properly but is it how I want it? I have to talk to them and make sure the project is going the way I want. If it’s not, it is my responsibility to make it right.
- Be innovative — Every business in fashion world needs creativity and innovation and it usually comes from the leader of the team. I learnt this right from the start and I would say we are where we are today because of our creative designs. I always pass on my ideas to my team and ask them to develop from there.
- Delegate your work — hard to believe but true — you cannot do everything yourself. If you assign the right person to do the right job, that creates more productivity.
- Always be fair — there might be some team members who you feel more connected to or like more in general but the best thing is to do is to treat everyone in your team fairly and equally. This is a very sensitive issue and it does affect the company’s overall productivity.
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. 🙂
Every company should be able to dedicate at least one hour a week for their workers to exercise. Maybe in the office. In the cafeteria or any empty space. I think exercise is so important. It puts everyone’s guard down as well. And bring to your kids to work once a month at least. I’m a big family person and most of my time outside work is dedicated to my two sons.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
In general, I would say my life lesson would be “Make Yourself A Priority” and “It’s OK to Ask for Help”. Self care is so so important especially when you lead a company and are solo parenting at the same time (my husband travels a lot for work). I always try to find time to hang out with my girlfriends and ask for help from my parents or in-laws to take care of my kids. You really need to take a break once in a while or else you would go crazy lol.
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 love Ellen DeGeneres. I think she’s funny, amazing and has such a good heart. There was one time when there were kids in the soccer team in the north of Thailand who got lost in the tunnel for weeks and then they were rescued. Ellen invited them over to her show and took them to meet the soccer players of their dreams. Being Thai I thought that move she made was so touching.