Anna Raabe is the co-founder of Gardoré, a specialized marketplace for women’s business fashion, that makes shopping for work clothes easy and fun.
What’s your story?
When I started my career as a management consultant I realized how difficult it was – also for a fashion-lover – to find adequate and nice clothing for work. My co-founder Laura experienced the same during her work in a consultancy, as well as many women across the world that we met during our international studies and careers. Having also experienced the great power of clothing and its effect on our appearance, we decided the women’s world finally needs a solution to this problem. So we created Gardoré, a platform that finally makes shopping for business clothes easy and fun and that helps women to be empowered through style.
What excites you most about your industry?
Generally, I am fascinated by the power of clothing and the effect it has on how we are perceived by others but also on how we feel and perform ourselves. It makes such a difference whether you wear a hoodie or a blazer! I love to bring across that knowledge to women and help them to bring out the best in them. I further find it exciting to be part of the rapidly changing fashion e-commerce industry. I strongly believe that many exciting features will come up during the next years, enabled by technological progress in this field. Let’s see when e.g. robots exchange personal stylists or I have an interactive mirror at home.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I’ve just spent three months in Singapore with my co-founder to work on Gardoré together with our investors from Antler (Antler.co). It was a great experience to work in such a different environment, compare the startup landscape to Europe and to broaden our international network with very interesting people.
Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. I think it’s a fascinating city with a still young but rapidly evolving startup scene. It’s a very international setting and there is a general ambitious vibe in the city that sets the perfect scene for working hard.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
What do you have to lose if you try it out?
Who inspires you?
Anybody who is truly passionate about what he or she is doing.
What have you just learned recently that blew you away?
How valuable a platform for women can be that offers room for being truly honest. I went to a women networking event in Singapore where it was not about the greatest achievements, KPIs etc. but about what struggles women went through and what obstacles they overcame. Check out #womenchangemakers!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I believe that everything happens for a reason.
How do you unwind?
Yoga and fitness, time with family and friends, traveling and reading a good book – ideally all combined in one trip to a place I have never been to.
Favorite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
The area around Coron Island in the Philippines. Most white sand and turquoise water I have ever seen. And the best part: on some islands, you don’t have cell phone reception!
Everyone in business should read this book:
I could suggest any of the standard founder’s literature, but my personal advice at this point: don’t forget to sometimes pick fiction. It’s best to clear your head. I personally love all Scandinavian thriller and crime stories.
Shameless plug for your business:
At Gardoré women find the best fashion for work. We curate all the established and new specialized brands and shops in the market to present only adequate items for the workplace. We help our customers to dress powerfully in any work occasion by providing guidance and orientation on dress codes, inspirational outfits and educating blog articles. Overall we finally make shopping for workwear easy and fun and empower women through style.
How can people connect with you?
Shoot me a message through LinkedIn and I’d be happy to get back to you!
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.