All women have powerful moments each day, whether at home, in the office, or somewhere in between. Armoire, a subscription clothing service that provides high-end garments for rent, is calling women to recognize and celebrate their strength and resilience.
Ambika Singh is the founder and CEO of Armoire. As the self-appointed “Chief Boss Lady” of the company, Ambika is encouraging women to realize their power and uplift one another along the way. We spoke to Ambika about how Armoire is supporting women in redefining what it means to be a “boss lady” while making sustainable and fashionable clothing accessible.
Harnessing Boss Lady Power
In 2016, Ambika co-founded Armoire to give subscribers access to an endless online wardrobe they could rent for a fixed price. Subscribers take an online style quiz, pick their favorite styles from a list of expert recommendations and wait for items to arrive at their door.
The brand, built by women for women, is redefining what it means to be a “boss lady.” The term has historically been divisive, used to describe women leaders as “too cold” or “too cutthroat.” The term has grown to embody the strength and determination that women have.
“It stuck from the beginning. It wasn’t like we set out to change the world with this one statement, but it stuck. The people who came to Armoire saw themselves in this description,” Ambika says.
According to Armoire, boss ladies are women who enthusiastically embrace new opportunities, confidently say “no” when necessary, and support other women in embracing their power along the way. It isn’t limited to describing women who run companies—boss lady power can be harnessed by all women.
On average, a single article of clothing will only be worn seven times before it’s discarded. When you rent a piece of clothing from Armoire, that piece can be worn as many as 30 times before it’s no longer usable. This is one of the ways that Armoire is supporting people in making more sustainable fashion choices. Fashion, Ambika says, is an “egregious offender” of both environmental and social justice, and it is the second-most polluting industry in the world. The items in Armoire’s inventory are selected for durability, and include sustainable fashion brands such as Amur, LACAUSA, Amour Vert, Zuri, and Stella McCartney.
Armoire also partners with Dress for Success Seattle, a program that provides women with professional clothing to help them secure employment and financial independence. Through this partnership, Armoire can extend the life of their apparel even further, while empowering more women to achieve their goals.
“We want to make it clear that there are a lot of people sitting on our side of the table of sustainability. We want you to buy less stuff and we want the things that exist in the universe to get used. We want the reutilization of our clothing to be as high as possible.”
When faced with the shift to work-from-home life, Ambika expected Amoire’s customer base to diminish as their traditional subscribers had been women who leave their house daily in pursuit of busy work and social lives. Amidst the changing landscape, the context of armoring women for their daily battles has evolved.
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Armoire is continuing to focus on encouraging women to prioritize self-care through their membership. Instead of dressing for the outside world, Armoire members are finding joy through a relationship with fashion that looks inward.
“We’ve added value in people’s lives where they feel something positive,” Ambika says. “I have so many stories of women telling me they feel better, happier, and more excited through their membership. What a gift it is that we have the opportunity to create something like that!”
What pros do you recommend to the users of Fresh Chalk?
“Angela Dunleavy-Stowell has provided me with so much leadership personally through the pandemic. Farestart is even continuing to hire in this environment because they’ve made incredible pivots.”
“The salon is always super efficient, and Thi Thi Hoang Nguyen blow dries like a boss.They also do nails so you can get your nails done while you’re sitting in the dye, which blows my mind.”
“Eduardo Jordan is a James Beard award-winning chef focused on elevating voices.”
“Super fun, lovely people. We ride our bikes everywhere.”
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