Monrow Shoes is a startup founded by Veena Ashiya. It is a premium footwear brand based in Bangalore.
Biggest misconception people have about me is am workaholic but once they know me they know I chill as hard as I work, says Veena.
We at Bangalore Insider had an opportunity to have an interview with Veena. Here are the excerpts.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Monrow makes good looking shoes comfortable. Idea is to celebrate freedom of movement. To dance, to hustle, to Move to our fullest.
We marry comfort and fashion and shoes happen be our first category. we are present at 25 locations across India in shoppers stop, central, centro etc and available across all platforms online.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
I used to live in NYC and carry extra pairs of comfortable shoes in my bag to run to subway. I was unhappy that my party shoes just looked pretty while my comfortable shoes were just high on comfort. I wanted to break away from this problem and create a brand that brings together fashion and comfort. we are 2 years old now and I can proudly say with 25 locations in India honest purpose with which we started to seem to resonate with a large number of women.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
If you met me in school I was a starry-eyed geeky kid who wrote in school essay that I would one day become “Fashion businessman”. my passion for fashion is that old. I pursued my love and studied at nift. I started my career with tommy hilfiger india and then moved to Versace USA. Both these companies tremendously taught me the fine art of brand building.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Our HQ is in Bangalore and we retail across India.
Bangalore is a great testing ground for our product as a city has young savvy women who ready to rule the world. I call them hustlers in heels.
It is also a great talent pool. Cubbon Park is our real bling!
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Well, surprisingly I never wake up in the middle of the night. I am big believer of fit mind, body as base of running a great start up.
But things like our quality is a supreme priority for me. I would rather say you will catch me sleepwalking in Monrow shoes testing quality 🙂
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
Steve madden and Clarks are. But monrow is love child of steve madden and clarks. We got fashion of steve madden and comfort of clarks.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Balance word itself is very subjective. for some it is 5 days working+weekend off, for some, it is work from home while for some 100 hrs of work a week is a balance.
The way I have created balance in my life is by ruthlessly prioritising. For me it is just passion(monrow), Love(my husband) and holistic lifestyle which is utmost imp.
I have striked beautiful balance in these 3 aspects. Rest is alice in wonderland in my life.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We are a self-funded profitable company. There is a lot of joy in being able to describe your startup that way.
As we have shown tremendous growth fundraising will happen soon.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
Biggest misconception people have about me is am workaholic but once they know me they know I chill as hard as I work.
What gets you excited about this company?
Being surrounded by shoes all day – am not just excited am literally on high all time.
Monrow is my happy place where both my passion and purpose come together. I work with some kick-ass amazing folks. My work life is straight out of devil wears Prada with no devil of course and re-tilled “hustlers wear monrow”
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day probably would look like badass buddha who is on a mission to empower women with great shoes.
I wake up at 5 am every day. I read for 1 hr a day- 2 books a month is my goal.
For the next two hrs, I invest in a body-mind-soul workout. my workout range from kettlebell to tai chi bringing old-world wisdom of prana with a new world HIIT workout. I follow IF (intermittent fasting) so no breakfast. By 9:45 am I am in the office like an excited child waiting for her turn on the roller coaster. Through the day we have huddle meets, dif team reviews. by the end of the day with lots of ups and down, I survive like a glorious warrior proud of my hustle. I reach home by 9. Spend an hr with my husband who is also an entrepreneur- we have our own stand-up comedy on the life of an entrepreneur. I end my day with a gratitude prayer. How lucky I am to have the chance to do what I love and it pays bills too. Love passion and purpose I remind myself and start all over again.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
The team is an eclectic bunch of people who believe in the power of passion and hard work. most ppl in our company have come through reference which means someone who knows us suggests their best friend to us. Surprisingly a lot of folks have known me for years before joining us. It was all part of a bigger plan by the universe.
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