Samia Khan shares how she transformed her passion project into a popular fashion platform that's ever-evolving and growing.
We love entrepreneurs and small business owners at Honeycombers, which is why we’ve created Launchpad, a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It’s a privilege and pleasure to learn from so many talented and inspiring folks, so we’ve decided to share the love by interviewing some of the lovely Launchpad members. Looking for inspiration? Check out how the founder of Melange, Samia Khan, gets it done like a boss.
What is your backstory and why did you decide to launch your business?
Fashion has always been my first love. What started as a passion project to bring the creativity of the best and upcoming fashion designers from South Asia to Singapore has now grown into a thriving e-commerce platform. Melange is a labour of love, as I carefully curate each collection from various brands.
My career started in hospitality, back in 1999, armed with an MBA in marketing. After experiencing different cultures in India, Bahrain, Dubai, Macao and Singapore, I finally had the opportunity to start this platform in 2014. Unable to access authentic South Asian fashion in Singapore, I realised it was a challenge for the entire South Asian diaspora as well as the local community.
Melange has since grown from strength to strength to become the go-to brand for all South Asian fashion desires in Southeast Asia – with a goal of expanding to the rest of the world.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
Getting the business off the ground wasn’t easy, but the biggest challenge was when Covid hit us in 2020. Our offline vertical had many limitations. It threw a significant challenge for my business and we had to reinvent ourselves. The priority was to ensure our survival, and being a small business helped. Once we made sure of that, my team and I worked towards setting up our e-commerce platform.
My biggest accomplishment is launching the online store in October 2020 under difficult circumstances, with limited knowledge of online retail. A significant number of sleepless nights, numerous conversations, experimentation and loads of coffee helped us get to that.
But our hard work has paid off now because we have over 50 top and upcoming South Asian designers working with Melange online – and it continues to grow. The last two years have seen positive growth; we have plans to scale up the e-commerce business and grow it within Southeast Asia and the US.
How do you stay motivated and energised?
I exercise regularly which keeps me energised on a daily basis. I’m a firm believer in being led by the dreams in my heart and not being pushed around by fears in my mind. My motivation comes from the love of what I do and that keeps me going! My passion is the key to my success.
How do you deal with self-doubt or criticism?
I use a combination of self-discovery and seeking help. I take time to reflect on my weaknesses and do a “stop” and “start” assessment. This has proven to be a great intervention to overcome my shortcomings when I’m in self-doubt. Seeking help and confiding in trusted sources has also helped in growing my confidence and clearing the doubt.
Favourite place to work?
My home office! It allows me the flexibility of being around my two boys once they’re back from school.
Can you share a work ‘mantra’ that you use?
I am a creative being with a limitless amount of energy; everything positive I do pushes me closer to my goals.
One thing you can keep talking about for hours?
The evolution of Indian fashion and how it’s become more international and appealing to all races of the world.
Your go-to self-care activity?
A regular fitness routine is my go-to self-care activity. Exercise is good for your mind, body and soul; it helps keep stress levels low.
One piece of advice to your younger self?
Let your dreams be bigger than your fears.
Get in touch with Samia Khan online.
Launchpad is a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It is designed to make the entrepreneurial journey not only easier, and more successful, but also a whole lot more fun. We offer almost daily activities for members to connect, along with weekly masterclasses, member networking roulette, small-business mentoring and media profiles on Honeycombers. Check it out and join us!