So Rad (shopsorad.com) offers stylin’, creative, simple product designs on adorable dresses, jumpers, play suits, bath accessories, blankets and kimono onesies to name a few. The “ninja-in-training”outfits are just one of the best sellers, ready for take-out in a reusable cotton ninja bag! Products are designed to be functional and help in everyday parental madness. Each item created was carefully thought out and designed to match features Jasmine Bashaj liked as a parent and found useful in parts of existing clothes, putting it all together in the So Rad collection.
“Rock the playground with So Rad’s colourful and stylin’ baby get-ups!” – Jasmine Bashaj, Founder
1. Tell us about yourself, your career or business. – I’m Jasmine Bashaj, the owner of So Rad. I design baby clothing styles and the prints that go on them to create seasonal collections that are functional, fun and stylish. I have 3 jobs and 2 kids with another baby on the way. I’m a digital illustrator by trade and I continue to do freelance for a stock company in the US. I’m a professor at a local college in Toronto and I’ve got So Rad to keep me busy – since I’m not busy enough;) I teach photoshop, Illustrator and a studio simulation class.
2. Describe your most recent business success and tell us about your next big goal!- Picking up a store in Japan and one is Scotland is pretty cool. I’m also always amazed that I do continuous business with a store in the Yukon. I have a few next big goals. Most of them are creative ventures. I’d like to try towels and bedding. I’m really excited about my fall and winter2013/14 collection. It’s got a lot of new designs and I’m happy to be taking a slight step back from the staples I usually create.
3. What does a day in your business life look like?- This depends on the day, depends on if I’m teaching on what is in the schedule. Everyday is different which I love. I did the whole office work gig before and I got bored fast. Some days I head to the sewers to go over what’s being made and check up on production – I love that I can just drive there to see how my creations are turning out. I am generally doing something with inventory or shipping as well and I have recently decided that I want to learn how to sew! That’s right – I am not a sewer, funny isn’t it? I’ve learned so much from the sewers I have worked with and I’ve been very fortunate to have some friends that know sewing well and have helped me along the way.
4. What types of customers are you looking to connect with?- Generally I have store information in my books, but I am always looking to expand that list. I love new ideas and I am always open to suggestions.
5. Is owning your own business as glamorous as it sounds?- I guess it depends on how you look at it. Probably not as glamorous as most might think, but it still makes me happier then any other job I’ve had. I love finding little places to buy things and try things. I also love seeing my creations come to life. I think lot of business owners have a couple skills, and are great in business. For me, I am the artist who makes everything tactile to see how it goes.
6. Where did you get your education?- When I was about 11, I wanted to be a fashion designer, but never thought that would happen. I used to draw a LOT.When I got older I decided to go to Seneca College for Digital Media Arts. I also went to George Brown College for Cartooning. After graduating, I became a Motion Graphics Designer, but wanted to do illustration only. I then got a job as a Digital Illustrator at clipart.com, along with freelance jobs. I saw this as education and practice as well.
7. Where do you manufacture your products? – Canada! I did a lot of research, I checked other countries, but in the end, I chose Canada so I could keep it local and I could see what actually happens in factories. Sourcing in Canada, again, was research, and a lot of word of mouth. I have tried more then 1 factory within Canada, just to make sure.
8. What are your plans for expansion?- Gotta work on sales to expand, I’ve also hired this amazing Public Relations Firm, Pink Pearl PR (pinkprfirm.com)!
9. What is your favourite travel hot spot?- Anywhere! I love to travel. My husband is from Albania, so that’s the last place we went – for a month! It’s very different from Canada. Nice beaches there as well. Before that was the Mayan Riviera in Mexico – really, really amazing! We’d go back there for our next sunny holiday.
10. Can you offer any advice for new entrepreneurs? – If something doesn’t work, be open to suggestions and tweaks. Research, ask around, and research! They say it takes about 5 years, so patience also.
Interview: Talia Beckett, Managing Director, Pink Pearl PR