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In 2019, University for the Creative Arts graduate Sonia Bamrah burst into the world of fashion with her luxury fashion label, So.NAEY. Launching in style, So.Naey’s first two-piece outfit was showcased by TV Personality Jess Wright at ITV’s star-studded Palooza event, and the brand has continued to grow since then. We caught up with Sonia to hear how EnterprisingYou have helped her push forward during the Covid pandemic.

Hi Sonia. Tell us about your business?

So.NAEY is an online women's clothing brand that aims to provide affordable luxury styles to women in the UK. We have a range of race day dresses, wedding guest outfits and loungewear sets that aim to showcase a sophisticated chic style, through an exquisite range of feminine dresses and trendy co-ords.

What does So.NAEY stand for?

So.NAEY derives from the Punjabi word Sōnē, which means 'gold'. That was the nickname given to me by my grandfather.

Gold is known to be very versatile; how did use your versatility to adapt and overcome the challenges brought on by Covid?

As I launched my occasion-wear brand just before the start of the pandemic, I ended up with a lot of stock leftover that I couldn’t sell. I lost deals with manufacturers and also lost a lot of time and money. This was tough, but I used this challenge as a pivot point by adapting to supply a range of everyday wear, at an affordable price. This has worked very well in my favour, as we started off as an occasion-wear brand, and we now have a range of work blouses, loungewear sets, blazers and jumpers, which are perfect for virtual meetings and comfortable weekends.

Why did you approach EnterprisingYou? What help were you looking for?

The EnterprisingYou programme was recommended to me by an advisor at the GC Business Growth Hub. They told me EnterprisingYou is a free programme that can help start up brands, especially those who are a few months old. I really needed clarity, as I was confused about the basics of how to run a business; I was unsure about how to structure my finances and needed expert advice and guidance on fields such as PR, marketing, tips on strategy, and so much more.

What help did your Business Coach provide?

They provided me with a lot of clarity, knowledge and ideas. They also suggested a variety of suitable courses and talks to me, which were absolutely game changing. My favourite training courses were those on business finance, how to write engaging content, and how to gain free media exposure. I also went on a cashflow, three-course finance bundle, which has made my life a lot easier.

What other help did you receive from EnterprisingYou?

I received help from Naomi, who helped me with my productivity and calmed me down when I was feeling anxious about how much I had on. She talked me through everything and showed me how to write down what I need to do in chart form. I also attended one-to-one coaching sessions with Robin, which were very helpful as I learned the importance of PR. I also learnt how to write blogs and was able to get a few articles checked. EnterprisingYou really has been a life changing experience.

How has the EnterprisingYou support helped you for the future? What are your plans?

EnterprisingYou have helped me to adapt my brand and have taught me so many things that a business owner should know, like ways of getting organised and gaining exposure. I will continue to grow my brand and look forward to talking in more events, being featured in more articles and spreading awareness about So.NAEY.

 

You can find out what Sonia and her fashion brand are up to here:

 

We provide fully-funded support to the self-employed and gig economy workers across Greater Manchester. If you would like to find out more about EnterprisingYou, register online or email info@enterprising-you.co.uk.