FHM Pakistan
SUMAIRA NABEEL – FOUNDER OF INDUS THREADS
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SUMAIRA NABEEL – FOUNDER OF INDUS THREADS

I always found creative ways to make my work wardrobe trendy and fashionable.

FHM: Tell us a bit about yourself, your educational and professional career.
SN: I live in the heart of Silicon Valley in California with my husband and 2 boys. My educational background has always revolved around business. I focused on accounting and finance for my undergraduate degree and then proceeded to get my MBA. I am also a licensed Certified Public Accountant which is the equivalent of a Chartered Accountant designation in the U.S. Soon after I graduated I started working with international advisory firms such as Deloitte and Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG. My advisory career spanned almost 13+ years. I was working as a Senior Director with Andersen Tax before resigning and starting this venture. My job as a consultant involved advising companies on business structures, international structuring, corporate tax compliance etc. Accounting is a dry profession and I spent much of my time buried in excel spreadsheets but my clients always saw me as someone that they could talk to beyond numbers and always laughed about me not hitting the profile of a true accountant.

FHM: Working from an advisory firm to becoming a fashion designer, tell us about your success story.
SN: My love for fashion has always been there. Even though I worked in a very dry profession I always found creative ways to make my work wardrobe trendy and fashionable. At the same time my strong business background and experience in advising companies like my own really helped me make the transition smoothly. The turning point for me was last summer when my family and I did a 3 month trek through Europe visiting Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany and Turkey. This time it made me realize that even though I was successful at what I did, it was not my true passion and calling. I just felt life was too short not to be doing things that truly mattered. This pushed me to explore other opportunities and Indus Threads was born. I am very thankful for my business career as it helps me every day in my business decisions and forming a strategy for the growth of this business.

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FHM: You are also known to be a great sport. Tell us about your daily fitness regime.
SN: I am an avid runner and try to run a half marathon at least once a year. A half marathon involves running approximately 21 km and I spend my year training to make sure I stay in form to run it. To me running is a stress reliever and the most relaxing time of my day. I generally run early in the mornings about 4 times a week. As most people know California is a beautiful state with amazing weather which makes running outside easy throughout the year. I am a big fan of Pakistani music and most of my morning runs involve listening to my favorite Coke Studio songs and shutting my brain from any thoughts and just enjoying the beauty of the surroundings that I run in. To balance the running, I do hot yoga for stretching 2 to 3 times a week. The mornings I’m not running I’m either at the Bikram yoga studio or lifting weights at the gym.

FHM: Tell us about Indus Threads. What was the reason behind its origin?
SN: Indus Threads was truly created to solve a basic problem that all South Asians face in the U.S. As a Pakistani American, I personally struggled to get access to desi clothes and cringed at the thought of spending my vacations in Pakistan trying to shop for these clothes. I also live in the Silicon Valley, which is the home of Airbnb and Uber which epitomize the sharing economy. Rent the Runway in the U.S. is a rental service for mainstream American wear and I thought why not create a service like that for our traditional clothes. In creating Indus Threads I not only wanted to solve the problem of access but also bring South Asian designers into American markets in a very seamless manner. I always say that Indus Threads is a fashion company with a technology soul. We hope to remove the barriers of entry that designers face in entering new markets.

FHM: What challenges did you have to face once launching Indus Threads?
SN: The challenges I face are pretty much what any founder of a new company would deal with. I work with very limited resources and my to-do lists never seem to go down. My day revolves from following new collections from designers and identifying pieces I would like to carry to dealing with my American clients. Thankfully a strong team in Pakistan solves a lot of my headaches in managing my supply side but my days are still filled with a lot of chaos and fire drills.

FHM: What designs do you cater with your brand name and who is the target mass?
SN: My goal is to bring both Pakistani and Indian designers on to our platform and give access to the U.S. South Asian and non-South Asian market. Currently we only carry women’s clothes so our target market is all women between the ages of 19 and 55. We carry traditional pieces such as saris, lehengas and shalwarkameez’s. We also carry fusion items for our non-South Asian market that can be worn as dresses, skirts and tops. I would love to expose the American audience to the beauty and intricacy of our regions works and have them wear it at main stream American events.

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FHM: What new initiative have you decided to take with Indus Threads?
SN: Our service allows people to rent desi clothes from Indian and Pakistani designers for a period of 4 to 8 days at the click of a button. Our company is the first to bring high end South Asian designer wear to the U.S. market through a rental platform. Our clients can wear a new jora for every event and our non-South Asian clients can try out what our designers have to offer by just renting an outfit for a few days. This is a cutting edge initiative and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg with endless opportunities.

FHM: What message would you like to give to those women who would like to go forward with their own venture?
SN: I have always been involved in women’s initiatives throughout my career. As a mother and a wife I understand the importance of work life balance and I can’t assert enough that it does exist. I hope to inspire women like myself to follow their passions and dreams in whatever they do and create opportunities for not just themselves but be great role models for both their sons and daughters. I always encourage women to build a strong support structure around them to get the help they need and give themselves the bandwidth to achieve their professional goals. It’s very exciting that currently most of our team at Indus Threads comprises of women and are a big part of the growth of our company.

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