Nothing has to be forever unless you choose it. You have the power to change your life!”
British designer Sophie Burkart created SoffiaB based on her personal quest to find the perfect dressing gown. After many years of searching on both sides of the Atlantic she decided to design a robe that not only made the wearer look good, but feel good!
Born in the UK, she moved to the USA in 2005 to work for a large American corporation as a Program Manager specializing in IT and Change Management.
In 2011 she found herself looking for another opportunity having parted ways with Honeywell. After some interviewing she kept thinking about the idea of creating the ultimate dressing gown. After much talking about it, her fiancé challenged her to “show me the business plan” and in November 2012 www.soffiab.com was launched. She credits her business background with being able to launch within 10 months of registering her business to the live site and opening party.
SoffiaB takes its name from a hybrid of the founder’s first and last names. Influenced by the bold, rich fabrics and designs of the interior fabrics world, Sophie drew her inspiration from looking at curtains, cushions, sofas and wallpaper, transferring that aesthetic to a luxury dressing gown. She came up with a simple, elegant design but used printed silk to give each gown its vibrant, signature look.
However looking good was not enough. Tired of the big, fluffy robes that whilst kept you warm certainly didn’t breath and weren’t elegant in any shape or form. She came up with the idea of lining the robes so that whilst the beautiful silk draped and visually provided beauty, the inside would provide the wearer comfort, breathability and above all wear-ability. Cotton was the obvious choice, two gorgeous natural fibers together that are proven to breath and provide comfort and warmth simultaneously.
Where did the idea for SoffiaB come from?
It really was personal frustration! One would think finding a dressing gown or robe that was both stylish and comfortable wouldn’t be that hard. However, over many years I found they were either big toweling or fluffy robes that one became hot in very quickly and weren’t exactly elegant, or they were lacey, delicate often quite beautiful, negligée types that were really only designed for one thing.
It was also more than just a desire for a lovely robe. Today’s women have so many demands on their person from partner, employee, Mother, care giver, friend to being told we clearly aren’t doing enough unless we lean in and push forward. It seems to be even more important that women use the power of sleep fully and giving them something beautiful and comfortable to begin and end their day, I hope serves as a reminder of how precious we are and how important self-care truly is.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts with checking emails first thing, followed by exercise, then the rest of the day is social media updates, blog writing, fulfilling orders, pitching to editors, journalists and magazines, meetings.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think about it, talk about, reflect on it, share it again and finally write it down – then I do it!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Wearing one’s robe outside the bedroom, I mean why not especially when you have one as beautiful as ours!?!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Keeping to a routine ensures I accomplish the daily tasks
What advice would you give your younger self?
Nothing has to be forever unless you choose it. You have the power to change your life!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That I have good taste in music.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be interested, you never know what you might learn.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
A multi-pronged approach using a combination of traditional and new marketing media has been most effective for SoffiaB. A business like ours cannot afford to rely on only one way to reach our customers as our customers have differing shopping habits and interests. Some of our customers are women, and for those we have found the women’s magazines work very well. For the men customers, we have found that online ads and SEO seem to be the best way of reaching them when they are shopping for that ‘perfect gift’.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We spent thousands of dollars on placing an advert in the Grammy’s program printed booklet in our first year. Tt was a complete waste of money resulting in only depleting the bank account and was far too soon in our venture. However I’ve learnt you have to try things otherwise you’ll always have the “what if” at the back of your mind.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There still seem to be many, many large white 40ft trucks crisscrossing the United States, there must be a way to rent advertising space on these trucks with a mechanism that can produced quickly and easily, popped onto the truck itself and then changed over within a month or so. And of course isn’t cost prohibitive.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent it on a Barbour hat which whilst sounds excessive for a hat, it’s rain proof, has a brushed cotton, fleecy lining and looks stylish with a faux fur trim. It covers my ears and keeps my head warm, all the while looking almost stylish!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Canva is just great for making spiffy marketing ads for FB, Insta, Twitter etc.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
If you’re marketing to the high net worth demographic then I would recommend reading No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent by Dan Kennedy.
What is your favorite quote?
A quote I came across the other day, I thought to myself that is so true and something I’ve suspected for some time.
“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either.” – Tim Ferris
• Be authentic in all that you do, when you’re trying to build a brand don’t be someone else or something you think the market might expect, be yourself. Some people will relate quickly and completely and some won’t, but that’s ok.
• Be interested! Ask questions and keep on asking questions, most people actually love to help other entrepreneurs and are keen to share their wisdom, advice and experiences. Remember you don’t have to take all the advice, but sift through what really resonates.
• I’m an advocate of writing a business plan. I think it helps to cover all areas of starting a business and I think it shows where some areas need outside help, plus it gives you a basis to show others you’ve really thought about it seriously.
• And most importantly give fantastic, genuine customer service! People notice, customers notice and they will return. There really is nothing better, however super the product or service is, giving truly excellent customer service is what you’ll be remembered and praised for.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.