We had the good fortune of connecting with Munira Syeda and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Munira, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
During the 2020 lockdown, I sought a deeper meaning in my world. After much thought, I decided to launch a women’s clothing line. Being born in Pakistan and having familiarity with the rich handicrafts of the region, I thought – wouldn’t it be nice to bring these rich handicrafts to north Texas and rest of the U.S., make these ancient techniques relevant for today’s modern women, and expand opportunities for Pakistani women artisans to make a living?
What should our readers know about your business?
Chic and Gold is a women’s accessories e-commerce shop, based in Dallas. We make accessories for today’s fashion-forward women, in partnership with Pakistan’s artisans. Our accessories are made from handloom and incredibly soft cotton, beautifully hand-embroidered and naturally dyed.
This business has been a labor of love. There was a lot of learning. For instance, you must be dedicated. You must fight the urge to set deadlines, even though that’s essential for a successful business. Timelines are very long. You must find ways to come together – remotely, and while conquering the 12-hour time difference – to understand artisan capabilities, and which artwork would work with which hand embroideries. Supply chains need considerable improvement.
And many times you wonder – why did I get into this? I went through moments of doubt until late July 2021, when I finally had gorgeous artisan-made samples in my hand.
And there’s still a lot of work ahead. I’ve been fortunate to work with a local accessories design consultant and a social media expert – both also driven and aligned with Chic & Gold’s mission. And together, we three small businesswomen are getting this wonderful impact startup off the ground this fall.
Here are some lessons I’d like to share: have a network of family and friends who will cheer you up during your dark moments. Entrepreneurship can be a hard, lonely journey. And, be sure to get out if the business is not working. In other words, fail fast!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs. For me, some of the most fun places were going to the Stockyards, and having an anniversary dinner with my husband at the Reunion Tower. I’ve also enjoyed catching performances at the beautiful Winspear Opera House, and grabbing lunch at Cafe Brazil in Little Elm. Downtown Coppell is also a beautiful place to visit.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to recognize Donna Coletti and Brooke Traister, both past presidents of the Dallas chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Dallas) for mentoring and guiding me as a new volunteer, and breathing new life into my public relations consulting career. I’m grateful to be a part of this awesome organization, where I’ve learned about leadership, creative thinking, tenacity and pivoting from a great group of people helming the organization.
I am also reading a book “Grit” by Angela Duckworth. The book’s author defines grit, backed by research, as a special quality that has elements of enthusiasm, or passion, and perseverance to be able to succeed. Grit, not talent, is an indicator of true success, according to Duckworth.
Paul Jay Photography