Why I Decided to Start My Own Online Store for Modern Active Women
Hi, I’m Sosi and this is the story of why I started my own online business “Sosi Leone”.
In Summer 2017, I moved to the New York area. I was a freelance graphic designer and commuted some days to Manhattan for meetings. I had to walk 20 minutes to the train station, and in the meantime, I’d listen to podcasts and audiobooks about entrepreneurship, design, and empowerment. I remember one particular day, I was walking to the train while listening to a Ted Talk on how good product design can truly improve your life, and on the other hand, how poor design can make you feel so frustrated!
In that moment, I was carrying a heavy leather tote bag with a 13-inch laptop inside. I felt exhausted and frustrated. I was wearing that uncomfortable bag to look “professional” for the meetings but I’d always end up with back pain and a sore shoulder. Part of me just wanted to get a huge masculine or even childish-looking backpack, just for the sake of comfort. But deep down what I really wanted was a grown-up women’s bag.
WHERE IS MY DREAM BAG? APPARENTLY, ONLY IN MY HEAD
A convertible bag that could adapt to my lifestyle, one that I could wear in multiple ways and make me feel feminine, professional, and stylish. Also, a bag that could fit my 13-inch laptop with ease, along with my snacks, laptop charger, and makeup.
I still remember myself walking down the street dealing with the sticky leather strap in my shoulder and hurting my neck while listening to this talk about "changing people's life through design..." The idea came to me immediately. I needed my dream bag! WHERE WAS IT? - Apparently, only in my head.
I googled: Professional backpacks for women. I found multiple bag options with different features: convertible, able to fit and protect my laptop, nice looking, durable, and affordable. BUT NONE of the features all together in just one bag, one product. I couldn’t believe it.
I thought maybe I would be able to design it myself and let the idea marinate in my head for a while. But then, I started getting thoughts such as: “How in the world would I be able to design and manufacture a freaking BACKPACK? There is no way! Is there? So, I tried to forget about it and moved on with my life.
WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED
But the idea kept coming back to me, after all, I really needed that dream bag. During that time, I got a part-time job in Manhattan. It was great to meet, interact and collaborate with new people, instead of working by myself. Suddenly, something in me started changing. I was learning so much from my experiences in New York City, and consuming so much content about empowerment and entrepreneurship. I started getting deep into this mindset of: "You Go Girl + You Can Do This + Strong Women Empower Women” type of vibe. I was loving it!
It wasn’t until Spring 2018 that I started making drawings, and finally agreed on a design. Then, I decided to manufacture a sample. I didn’t tell anybody. I was so afraid! What would they think of me? What if they didn’t like the bag? What if they would think I’m a failure?
Looking back, I now realize how insecure I was about myself. I suffered the impostor syndrome in so many levels of my life. I never felt like I was enough. Oh, how wrong did I was!
Once I got the final sample, I literally cried. After having this idea in my head for so long, it felt so rewarding to see it done. I wore the bag for almost 3 months before selling it and people started asking me about it. So, I decided to start telling my story. (Again, still very shy and discrete about it) but the reactions really surprised me! Everyone was so impressed, supportive, and excited about it! People gave me ideas and encouragement. I also realized that most women shared similar struggles, and that was really helpful to know. It was all a huge life lesson for me.
Remember, you’re more awesome than you think you are ;)
As little girls, we always got told to be modest, discrete, careful, to not take risks. But once I changed that mindset, I started believing in myself and trusting my abilities. It was the best feeling in the world and everything in my life started blossoming.
I took charge of my life and I would love that everyone can experience that, especially women. In so many parts of the world, girls are not even allow to dream, to have an education, or have control of their lives. Contributing to change that reality is what really thrives me as a female entrepreneur.
FASHION WITH PURPOSE
That's why, for every purchase made in this store, parts of the profits go directly to a group of nonprofits fighting for girls and women's rights around the world. Shoppers are encouraged to pick the nonprofit of their choice during the checkout process. You can read more about it in the 'About Us' section.
Before jumping into this adventure, I had nightmares about everything falling apart. But then, I understood that no one care more than I do.
I didn’t care about what other's thought anymore. I was too busy building the website while waiting for the first batch of bags!
Thanks for reading my story. I hope this inspires you to live your best self! Please spread the word if you believe it could inspire someone else.