A True Passion for Fashion! | Indi Yapa Abeywardena
The knack for creativity and ever-lasting passion for fashion, took Indi Yapa Abeywardena (Founder of Indi & Co) on a life-changing ride. Today, Indi & Co is one of the most prominent fashion designing brands in Sri Lanka.
A Truly Powerful Personality!
Indi Yapa Abeywardena displays a strong, powerful personality in uplifting herself and others by pursuing her passion for fashion. She had a fancy idea to pursue the field of fashion, but she did not receive encouragement to pursue fashion, since her friends were trying to become doctors and engineers. But fashion meant more to her than anything because she was very passionate about it and it was a way to keep the loving-memory of her late mother alive, who also loved stitching and fashion. This itself displays the strong and beautiful personality of Indi.
The Beginning of a Life-Changing Journey!
It is interesting how she got into the line of fashion, because she was more passionate about dancing. She actively engaged in dancing throughout her childhood and school and hoped to pursue a career in it. However, life had a different path for her.
Watch the full video here
It all started when she attended the open day at British Council. She saw this as an opportunity to explore what the fashion industry is all about and how it works outside of Sri Lanka. She spent the entire day there and her knack of creativity pushed her to create a portfolio of her designs. Her portfolio was picked up because they saw potential in Indi, especially since she did not have any experience or qualification in fashion. This provided her the great opportunity to pursue her MBA in London, where she was exposed to the international fashion industry and was able to grasp the scope of it.
Sri Lanka was way behind in terms of fashion, where London had progressed exponentially in the fashion industry. Indi believes that this exposure and experience, where she learnt the A-Z of the fashion industry, helped her substantially in successfully establishing Indi & Co in Sri Lanka. In addition to that, Indi worked at MAS Linea Aqua, where she worked with large fashion brands such as Victoria Secret. This allowed her to improve her expertise and knowledge on the industry.
The Launch of Indi & Co
Indi started Indi & Co in 2010, whilst she was working at MAS Linea Aqua. She started in a very small scale, because she wanted to see the response to her concept and products. She faced many challenges in the beginning because it was all her, from paying the bills, to cleaning, to customer handling. She emphasized that finding the right people to help her pursue her dream and passion was a major challenge that she faced. Regardless of the tireless working days and sleepless nights, she pushed through because was dedicated and had a never-give-up attitude.
“Starting a business is like having a baby, and you don’t give up on your child” – Indi Yapa Abeywardena
Managing Stress and Physical Well-Being
Indi believes that stress is something that comes with the trade, and she is always stressed out. She says that her dedication and willpower has helped her to push through the stress and has never let it consume her. Looking into how she manages her physical well-being, she confesses that she has not been able to maintain her fitness because of her work schedule. But, recently, she has managed to make time for herself and detach from the business. She has started pottery, working out and engages in learning new things. She strongly believes that this has enabled her to establish healthy relationships with her team and has enhanced her productivity and stress levels.
A Word of Advice to the Young, Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Being successful as an entrepreneur looks easy but is not. It takes a lot of effort, dedication, and passion to achieve success. She has been receiving countless messages from young entrepreneurs trying to venture into the fashion industry and wanting to be like her. She identified that most of these young entrepreneurs are stuck in a bubble and when things do not go their way, they are discouraged.
Hence, she lays down that the ‘Never-give-up’ attitude, passion, believing in yourself and concept, and keeping yourself together are the most essential characteristics to become successful as an entrepreneur. Failures and setbacks are a part of life and business. It is not the end of the world, but it is an opportunity to learn and keep going at it until you make it.
She shares a word of advice to the Young, Aspiring Entrepreneurs:
“Take very small steps, baby steps. You cannot start big, even if its from your own bedroom. Start to evaluate who appreciates and responds to your idea. This brings in a lot of satisfaction because you are creating your own niche. The next step would be to breaking it to the mass”