Episode 21

Jagdish overcame limiting beliefs and established a successful business in the fashion industry

Episode Notes

Jagdish Baghra, an inspirational Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur is my special guest on today’s episode. Jagdish shares how she went from having little belief in herself, spending almost 20 years on the sideline to finding the courage to establish a business in the fashion industry. She grew up in a regular well-intentioned traditional Indian family but only realising in Adulthood how many limiting beliefs she had to uncreate especially when it came to carving her identity as a female entrepreneur.

Jagdish is a Mum to two children with a special message for anyone sitting on the side lines wondering if they have what it takes to follow their dreams. Tune in!

You can find Jagdish Baghra on…

Website https://deesh-official.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DeeshOfficial


[Roksana] My guest on today’s show is a mum and a creative entrepreneur in the fashion industry. For the longest time, and I mean 20 years long, she didn’t think she had what it takes to launch her very own fashion label, despite being qualified and despite supporting others in the fashion industry. She is here today to talk about her personal power journey. Welcome to the show Jagdish!

[Jagdish] Thank you Roksana, thank you for having me again.

[Roksana] Welcome back! So, you came on a while ago and we talked about your- how you define success and satisfaction, and it left me wanting to know a little bit more about how you became the Jagdish that you are now. So tell us a bit about your backstory.

[Jagdish] So I was the firstborn for my parents, I was the oldest child and I’ve got a younger sister and younger brother. I was born in Coventry and then when I was six years old my dad and my mum moved to Maidenhead which is West London, to start a new life there and starting work there. Life as a young child was very quite traditional. I think I was quite conditioned from an early age that I’m- one day I’ll be, when I’m a bit older, I’d be getting married and that subconsciously was my goal in life, I guess. That was enhanced by aunties who got married, older cousins, and it was just conditioned and I was led to believe that that is the most important thing and that’s- that’s what my life goal would be. Study wise it was there but in my family it wasn’t as important for girls and it was more important than boys hence me and my sister didn’t go to private school whereas my brother, my younger- youngest sibling, he did go to private school because my parents thought it was more important for him to go private school but not as important for girls to go because one day they’ll grow up and get married.

[Roksana] Isn’t that interesting? So you come from an Indian family, don’t you Jagdish?

[Jagdish] Right, yeah, Indian.

[Roksana] And I- and I also come from an Asian family so my parents were Pakistani- are, still- and so there’s so many parallels here so that there was always this kind of almost unspoken but most definite implication that the key role for a girl in a family is to learn to do housework and to be a good daughter in law, and then to grow up- you know almost like training to become the perfect daughter in law.

[Jagdish] Yeah, I think I was trained from a very early age because my mum- I think I was about 9, 10 years old where my mother was like, oh you want to come and watch me make this because when you- when you grow up and get married then it will be easier for you, and you know you have to be good daughter in law, and one of the things to be able to be good daughter in law is that you need to be able to cook. You need to know how to cook so I’m actually a very good cook now and it is because of my mum and it is because I started from a very early age but yeah that was that was key. It was almost like training on a daily basis. We don’t answer back, because you don’t answer like that back to me, because you won’t be able to answer back like that to your mother in law. ‘Cause otherwise it could cause problems.

[Roksana] How interesting, how interesting. So when you around that age, so around the age of 10, 12 years old, did you have- was there an inkling, did you have this desire that maybe I don’t just want that for my life? Or were you kind of going with it?

[Jagdish] I think I was just going with it. I mean I had a very happy childhood and my parents were very loving parents and I had lots of cousins and we used to get together we have used to have lots of fun. aI had very loving grandparents as well, so I never really thought much of it, I just went along with it I didn’t- I never questioned it really. Probably until… until I was about older actually, but at that age certainly not.

[Roksana] How old were you were you started questioning it?

[Jagdish] I think early 20s, I would say.

[Roksana] Was this around the time you were kind of exposed to new and different ways of living or was it something that just kind of appeared within you? A thought that maybe you want something else?

[Jagdish] It was after I graduated and my parents were supportive with me going to live away at University and doing my degree but it was always subconsciously that, yeah you’re going you’re going to do this degree and everything, but remember you know after you come back then we’ll have to start looking for you, and you’ll have to start looking to get married because ultimately that is the most important thing, you know. So after I graduated I don’t- then in those days, I was introduced to guys. Like these days people look themselves, but in those days families kind of said, oh there’s so-and-so, oh there’s so-and-so, and I started looking and I was quite happy too coz I was single I thought okay I’ll be quite happy to meet if you guys but there was nobody I liked. And then the more guys I said ‘no’ to, that’s when it started becoming, ‘wow, what’s wrong? Are you actually going to get married?’ kind of thing, you know. But that when I realised, like, I’m not just going to marry anybody. I will get married, I do want to get married, but I want to get married to the right person.

[Roksana] So, around that time, were you thinking- so you graduated and were you thinking about a career or was your sole focus at the time on finding a future partner?

[Jagdish] After I graduated, my priority was to find a job so I started looking for a job, and then I was lucky enough to land into fashion buying which is quite difficult to get into. It was always on the back of my mind though, that if I married someone who lives outside of London then I’d have to leave here. Subconsciously, I didn’t realise at the time, but when looking back I always knew that if the person I marry is say for example, lives in the Midlands or a different town, then I wouldn’t- I won’t be here long; it was never a long term thing. So, I love loved my job and I carried on working but in the background my parents were always looking. What I would have liked to have done is got my own place in London and get placed nearer to my work and enjoy my life and just find someone naturally without having the pressure of a timeline.

[Roksana] So you wanted to do it a bit more independently if you like yeah, rather than being pressured.

[Jagdish] And even though I stayed away to do my degree, it wasn’t really a done thing then where a girl then would then move away to work as well. It wasn’t back then.

[Roksana] Completely, and that’s another parallel I draw with you that was also the expectation in my family.  Now take us back to the moment that you were triggered to create your business. What led to you realising that you could actually become a fashion designer and have your own label?

[Jagdish] Yes so I did Business A-Level, and I remember sitting in my Business A-Level class one day thinking, ‘I would love to have my own business’, and I was thinking-you know when you do case studies, when you learn about case studies in Business, I remember this one case study is about the Evian water- someone just thought of an idea of selling Evian water in a bottle and it just took off and they became a success, and I was thinking I’d love to you know I’d love to be able to think of an idea or do something like that and do it my own- on my own. So that was on my mind always after the Business A-Level and then because I’m very creative person and I always wanted to do something creative, I went on to go do fashion degree. So I did really well in my fashion degree and then I started working in fashion buying and the part of the reason why I went into fashion buying is because I knew at the back of my head that one day I would like to have my own fashion label. I would but then it was always like oh, I don’t know, am I going to be good enough? or whatever, but it was something that has been a dream of mine from an early age but having that dream doesn’t necessarily mean anything- okay you’re actually going to do it, it’s just a dream. So then I just carried on with fashion buying and got married, I had children and because I got a new job in Leicester where I had moved, I was working long hours so then after having children I left work and I think part of the reason why I left work that is all but looking back now is quite conditioned. Oh, you’re having children, you’ve got children now, you know you need to concentrate on them because having a family is ultimately the most important thing. I had a small little jewellery business on the side just as a hobby to keep me going, to keep my creativity going, and time just went by and then it was actually when I got to 40 and the kids were older that I thought what do I do now? I didn’t- I was lost. And then somehow I came across a life coach that I thought it wasn’t necessarily- I didn’t want to have sessions for them to necessarily make her make me do a business, but it was more about which direction should I go now: should I go back to work, or shall I do something else? But I never thought that actually it would I should or I could do a fashion label because I actually thought it was too late now.

[Roksana] Was that another part of the conditioning? The thinking that you’re 40 and that might deem you too old to be- was that the fashion industry? Where was that thinking coming from?

[Jagdish] I don’t know where it was coming from. I think it was looking at other designers, they start off in their 20s or 30 but I don’t know many designers that have started later in life. They all started younger. I think some of that conditioning was coming from that.

[Roksana] So you weren’t really seeing examples of 40 year old women like you who decided to pivot and become- to start their own fashion label.

[Jagdish] I do now because the more research I’ve done into this, I have realised that actually there are a lot more women that started later and have been really successful, and actually the most successful ones are if you have started later in life but at that time I didn’t think that was possible, I thought it was too late. Also, I thought where would I get the money from? Me starting a fashion label was just not there. It was just I came across this life coach I thought she might be able to guide me to what I could do now that my kids are a bit older, soon they’ll be starting second secondary school, but having starting a fashion business I just thought it was so out of reach.

[Roksana] What did your life coach say to you that helped you lean in towards this idea of becoming- of starting your own label?

[Jagdish] She asked me a question: what is your passion? And I said my passion is fashion and being creative. I said I’m constantly thinking of design but just have to go for a walk in the park, and I see flowers and I start looking at the colours of the flowers and I start envisaging an outfit from the colours and she said well as you’re telling me this right now your eyes are so lit up, so I can tell that’s your passion. And I said yeah that is my passion and I said when I graduated I my collection was selected for London Fashion Week and it arrived in the Guardian paper two days later, and even that I thought it was just a fluke.

[Roksana] That’s amazing.

[Jagdish] Yeah I thought it was just a fluke, so it’s just something that happened, I was lucky enough the Guardian newspaper editor or photographer was just there at the right time and just liked my colours and he just put it in but it was you know, I just thought it was a fluke. But that has been my passion but also alongside that I’ve always thought I’m not good enough for some reason as well. So that was the question she asked me and she said well do you see your life what would your ideal life look like if you if money wasn’t an issue, if fear wasn’t an issue, what would you love to do and where would you like to be? I said I’d love to be a fashion designer but I’m scared that I haven’t got the financial- the finance to start. She goes, look, if that wasn’t an issue, imagine if there is no fear involved, imagine if there’s no money involved, what’s your ideal thing that you would like to be doing? And I said fashion designer and that is ultimately what I would like to do but it was deep- it was buried deep inside there somewhere.

[Roksana] I’d love to know what happened from a financial perspective because obviously all new start-ups require an injection of cash at some point and so how did you- what was your relationship like with your money and how did you give yourself permission to invest and take a little risk and see what happens?

[Jagdish] Yeah so I was financially dependent on my husband, and she said you know if you really want to do this you can get the finance some way, you can. And I said yeah but I have to ask my husband and everything. She said well, you know if you want to be a fashion designer and you want to have your fashion business then you’re just going to have to take the risk. A) he can say no, B) he says yes and you lose that money but at least you’ll know you tried, you know? I can’t remember if it was her  or somebody else said to me you don’t want to be on your death bed and then ask yourself I wish I’d done that or “what if?” You don’t want to ask yourself ‘What if?’ so then I just have to pluck up the courage and said to my husband I need X amount of money. So I never ever thought that I would be able to have the courage to ask him because it kind of like, it is very scary because you’re asking for a big amount of money, but you’ve got no guarantee that you’re going to get that money back. But then my life coach said to me that is the risk you have to take, because all these successful people that you see and all these fashion designers, they have took that risk and that’s why they’re there. The risk-taking just comes with it if that’s what you want to do.

[Roksana] Was your fear of the conversation with him worse than the actual conversation? Was he quite supportive or- what was his kind of stance when you plucked up the courage?

[Jagdish] My husband’s quite practical and he said, okay, if you want this money then you need to do a business plan and you need to prove to me that you’re serious about this. He works for a large corporate company so he’s familiar with business plans and everything like that, he said I want you to do it, do the business plan, I want you- he goes, you have to treat me like just how you would ask anybody else for a loan, and you need to show me exactly what you gonna do with it, where you’re gonna spend the money on a proper plan and when you’re going to expect to see it back. So that took me awhile to do. I had to treat it really professionally, and that’s what I did. I did a proper business plan.

[Roksana] Gosh, he put you through your paces a little bit there.

[Jagdish] Yeah, he said I’m not gonna give you the money just like that you know, just pretend I’m a bank or something.

[Roksana] I think that’s a really pragmatic approach to have, and it shows that there’s a nice synergy between the two of you that you know, he could have said no, but he could have said yes, but the fact that he helped you to create a business plan probably help you define more clearly what you wanted to do and why you wanted to do it and what you- where you could see in your, in terms of your plan you know what aspects of it were, to kind of create a nice creative outlet for you because let’s face it: a lot us have hobbies and we know that they never going to turn into any kind of profit, and you can sink a lot of money into those kind of hobbies and so it’s really good to have a pragmatic person in your life who can help you really think through those details. Because when we’re passionate about something, we kind of lose sight of reality a little bit, don’t we? It can be a bit, oh I’ll know it’ll work.

[Jagdish] Yeah, that’s what I used to say, I don’t need to do a business plan, I can’t guarantee that I’m going to get it back, I need to try anything. And I tried to cut corners with the business plan- I thought, it’s only my husband I’m gonna show it to, and he wouldn’t have any of it, he was like no you have to do it properly. So I ordered business books because one thing my life coach taught me is anything you don’t know about, you can learn. ‘Cause I always had this mindset, oh I don’t know about that so I can’t do that, but actually she taught me about growth mindset. If you don’t know how to do something go and get a book, buy a book about it and learn it. So that’s what I did; I bought a book, ‘How To Do a Business Plan Step-By-Step’ and I just followed all the instructions and everything and that was actually really helpful so then so yeah, growth mindset: you can learn, if you want to do something, you can learn how to do it.

[Roksana] That’s amazing. So I’d love to fast forward to the day that you launched. So you got your business plan in place, you’ve created your design collection and it’s launch day. It’s the day that you’re going to hit live perhaps on the website, on your social media handles, let the world know that you’re here. How was that day?

[Jagdish] Oh it was- it felt so satisfying. As in, I’ve done it. I just kept saying to myself, I’ve done it. I’ve done what I wanted to do, this is a start now. Now in the future I don’t know what’s going to happen, it could be a big success, but it could be a big failure but at least I’ve done it. I will not be on my death bed now thinking, what if I had tried? It’s there, it’s a start. I can only go upwards now.

[Roksana] That’s amazing, so it was one of those really pivotal moments in your life by the sounds of it.

[Jagdish] Yeah but you know that but just the fact that I’m not- I haven’t been one of those people that have always talked about something, or always thought about something and we had this dream but never actually pursue it I’ve actually pursued something that I really wanted to do and that feels so satisfying because I know from a hand- a handful of people that have got this dream, that they haven’t got the guts, if you like, to go for it. They just haven’t because they’re too scared or they think they can’t, but I was there as well but I’ve actually done something about it. I’m not just going I haven’t been one of these people that I’ve always talked about my dream but not actually done it. I wasn’t before, but I’ve actually done something about my dream now to make it a reality.

[Roksana] You sound so passionate and energised and I can even hear that you’re proud of yourself, I can hear that in your voice.

[Jagdish] Yeah I am. I am proud of myself, and my husband’s proud of me, even my kids are as well. I’m glad that I’ve actually done it I can’t guarantee that you know- I’m just happy that I’ve done it.

[Roksana] Absolutely and I think that’s the main thing. There’s moments where it takes a decision to do it or not to do it. It doesn’t always matter what the decision is, whether you choose decision A or decision B, it’s the most empowering thing that you can do.

[Jagdish] And also to stick to that decision because you know my husband is bit worried that what if I start this and what if I change my mind – no. I’ve made a decision, I’ve stuck to my decision and I proceeded to to the end which is launched now. I’ve still got a lot of work to do going from now but I know I’m not going to give up.

[Roksana] So now that you’ve launched, what would you say you love most about your life now that your vision is realised? If you could pinpoint one thing that you think, I love this about my life or I love this about myself?

[Jagdish] I love the fact that I’m able to make my passion a reality. The fact that I can draw a sketch and just from a simple sketch, I can get that made and get it photographed. I mean right from the very beginning to the end I can get that done now. And that feels so satisfying, that makes me happy and I feel satisfied I can do that because I found the right contacts for a seamstress, where to get the fabrics from, everything around it. And it’s there now, the website is done, it is out there now I can just add as many styles as I want, so that feels good I feel good that I’m able to do that around the kids and I can do this from home because it is online, and I take video consultations as well. And I’m happy that my husband is supportive. I have the support from my family and so I feel good.

[Roksana] So many things. I’m so happy that you’re loving your life right now. What would you say to my listeners who have a dream or a desire, but they don’t know they have what it takes?

[Jagdish] It’s up to you to shape how you want your life to be, and nothing is impossible and there is not another you, so if you think there’s a lot of competition out there for example and you will never be good enough- well, your competition is not you. You’re unique in your own way. If you’ve had failures before, cause this was me as well, I started something with somebody else awhile back and also my jewellery hobby, it was okay but it wasn’t- you know, I wasn’t spending enough time on it, but all these things in the past that happened in your life, actually you’ve learnt something from it. They’re not actually failures. Treat failure as something that you’ve learnt from.

[Roksana] They’re life lessons, aren’t they? They’re valuable life lessons.

[Jagdish] Yeah, that’s right.

[Roksana] What took you the longest to learn or accept about yourself?

[Jagdish] That I can be good enough and I can do it. Because I used to look at competition and think, wow they’re so good, I would never be able to do that, it’s just so out of reach. I used to think that is so out of reach, but actually my life coach helped me realise that nothing is out of reach. Nothing is actually impossible and nothing is out of reach. You can be like that person if you wanted to, and you’ve got to try, and you gotta work hard but you can be.

[Jagdish] [Roksana] And if you could go back in time and whisper a little life lesson or an affirmation to the little girl in you, what would you say to her?

[Jagdish] The little girl in me, I would say to her tthat marriage is actually not the most important thing, the most important thing is being happy, because when happiness happens and you live your life with passion, then everything else naturally happens anyway, you know?

[Roksana] Amazing. Thank you it’s been an amazing conversation Jagdish.

[Jagdish] Ah, thank you so much Roksana.

[Roksana] If my listeners want to find your fashion label or your jewellery collection, where’s the best and easiest way to find you?

[Jagdish] So all my social media is linked on my website, and that is www.deesh-official.com.

[Roksana] Thank you Jagdish! Take care.