Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion and design but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elle AyoubZadeh, founder and CEO of Zvelle, located in Toronto, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Zvelle makes beautifully crafted accessories (shoes and bags) that are inspired by intelligent women. And crafted for their one-of-a-kind journeys. Our mission is to inspire women to walk how they want.

Tell us about yourself

I'm Elle AyoubZadeh, founder, CEO, and creative director of Zvelle. I founded Zvelle because I wanted to modernize the way women and their stories are portrayed through fashion. Every style I design is named after a woman or person that inspires us, and we share that story through our platform. Fashion, as an industry like many industries, has been telling women what to do and what to look like for years. A lot of it is outdated and shocking at times. Zvelle is challenging all those outdated preconceptions and inspiring women to walk how they want. We understand that when we say Walk How You Want, it means different things to different people, and we like that. We mean it figuratively and literally. We want to inspire women to chart their own paths and listen to their own unique voices.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is building my company independently. I strategically choose to bootstrap my company vs. raising money. We are a small but mighty team on a mission to inspire women and men to walk how they want. I'm a purpose-driven individual and have been all my life, and one of my life's purposes is to encourage and inspire women to be themselves, which is where Walk How You Want comes in. It hasn't always been easy walking how I want, and it is worth it. You only live once!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Building a brand takes ten-plus years, and Zvelle is still young. One of the hardest parts of being a brand founder is living with the vision you have for the brand and company and also doing what you need to do in the present moment to help get you there. It can be internally frustrating. I am also in a capital-intensive business, and so I am always worried about having the financial resources to do what we want to do.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Prior to being an entrepreneur, I had a successful career in finance, and I was prepared to give up all the luxuries I was accustomed to, to be an entrepreneur. I think its key to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Am I prepared to make the sacrifices I need to get my business started and off the ground?
  2. Am I passionate enough about my idea and prepared to devote the next years of my life to being obsessed with it and doing everything I can to grow it?
  3. Do I have a realistic idea of what I need to do to get my business off the ground, i.e., the basics of whatever it is you need to do. In my case, to make luxury shoes, I wanted to work with the best luxury factories in the world. And I am proud to share that today we work with the best of the best factories in the world.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It's cool to be one now, and it may seem like successful entrepreneurs are living glamorous lives. What you see on social media or the profiles you read about in media, including the one you are reading now, sounds glamorous. It's not. It is just press. You have to surround yourself with people that will not discourage you. If you are in a relationship, you need to make sure your significant other knows it is going to require hard work and a change in lifestyle. And the most important thing is knowing that you will grow in ways that will surprise and delight you.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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