Get To Know: sharmbaa

Hi AK (AnneKat)!

Tell us about your brand and your business model.

sharmbaa is an acronym and it stands for: SHoulders, ARMs, BAck And more! I designed my stylish, lightweight, compact, convertible multi-way toppers so that the woman on the go can participate in the moment, with confidence and ease, knowing that she can manage any type of indoor or outdoor temperature shift with flair.

Giving a voice to a woman’s femininity is of utmost importance to me as a woman designer, designing for the modern woman. I loathe the Summer Office Blanket and firmly agree with a friend who complains, “It doesn’t matter what else I wear because it’s covered by a blanket-scarf anyway.” The goal of sharmbaa is to provide a solution to our modern day dilemma, no matter what type of “office” we inhabit, by making life warmer, more convenient and more comfortable while empowering our femininity, our abilities and our stylish wardrobe.

The sharmbaa brand philosophy is founded in gratitude and mindfulness. It is focused on co-creating a harmonious and productive community. As an Indie designer and relative newbie, I personally select the companies and people I work with and have a supportive, collaborative, and good standing relationship with them all. For me, the life energy that goes into making a garment is just as important as the fabric. Therefore, ethical practices lead my list as a priority. Paying a fair wage, wherever the garment is made, is a no brainer and visiting the work environment, is of utmost importance. Currently, everything is made in NYC, so my profit margin is “smaller” than if I outsourced it. I’m okay with that and that’s why my business model has evolved into a Niche E-Retail.

My business model has become Niche E-Retail. It has evolved into that for two reasons. 1.) Ethical practices 2.) Woman travel bloggers, who are also digital nomads/entrepreneurs, tend to gravitate towards sharmbaa multi-way toppers. I’m honing in on how to market to these niches by collaborating with the variety of female travel bloggers who have all reached out to me about the sharmbaa multi-way toppers.

What drove you to start your own label? And what have you enjoyed the most so far?

What drove me to launch my own label was my own need for a solution to my modern day urban dilemma of hot, humid weather outside, and freezing AC inside. I needed something I could easily carry with me during my city travels. What I was looking for was an urban multi-way topper – a stylish, lightweight, compact, and convertible item that would ward off the chill of summertime AC and fit into my bag. I could not find an item like this anywhere. So, being a kinesthetic learner with no sewing skills, I safety pinned together a double layer scarf I had bought at a street fair and began my journey into apparel design. For years, this journey into the fashion industry started off as my side-hustle, as I stayed with my career as a professional digital video editor.

Currently, I am focusing my energies on the sharmbaa multi-way toppers as Niche E-Retail. Video editing is my side-hustle now, helping support the startup business until I get investors or steady customers, whichever comes first!

What have I enjoyed the most so far the process is discovering that I am a kinesthetic/tactile learner. This means I learn best through touch and movement, which is probably why I was a film editor. Then with technology, film editing changed into digital video editor. With digital, there was no longer the tactile experience. The process of creating clothing is very similar to old school film editing. This discovery has lead to a deeper understanding of myself and how I am in the world.

What are one or two big goals you’re focusing on in the next 6 months?

I’m focusing on two major goals over the next six months. The first goal is an exclusive line of sharmbaa convertible travel clothes made in collaboration with travel blogger, Valerie Stimac, of Valerie & Valise. Until this collaboration, sharmbaa has never been a collection of travel clothing.

The second goal is turning the clothing designs made in collaboration with Valerie, into a new luxe brand, and creating a new collection called “Cosmopolitan Transit Authority” for A/W 2018. I believe this new label will be a better fit for boutiques that cater to urban/global/creative women. It is also a culmination of what I have learned over the past few years with sharmbaa. I don’t want to rebrand sharmbaa. So, sharmbaa will then become the diffusion, or sister, line and stay as Niche E-Retail continuing to sell only sharmbaa multi-way toppers and the Valise Collection made in collaboration with Valerie.

? You can learn more about sharmbaa here.

? You can shop the sharmbaa Collection here.

? You can connect with AK on Instagram here.

StartUp FASHION offers business support and community connection to fashion designers around the world. Join the group, or learn more at The StartUp FASHION Community

StartUp FASHION is an online community where independent designers and emerging brands are coming together, helping one another, forming friendships, collaborating, letting off steam, sharing victories, and belonging to a network of people who get it; who are doing it too.


Get To Know: Jacoba Jane

Jacoba Jane makes special occasion dresses. I like to think of the collection as "old world craftsmanship meets modern values." I line every dress with natural fabrics like silk or cotton, and every dress is made to order.

Leave a comment