We had the good fortune of connecting with Liza Sakhaie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Liza, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
There was a time where a traditional modest dresscode felt antithetical to my beliefs: oppressive, restrictive, archaic, frumpy, ugly- everything a 20 something year old feminist working in the fashion industry would likely want to avoid.

But with time, and through my own religious growth, I decided to appreciate the value of covering up, eventually coming to understand it as an external reflection of my internal values: Humility, sophistication and refinement. And so, despite my younger self, I started dressing modestly.

At first it was a challenge. I tried to shop exclusively with “modest” brands, but few met my quality and style standards. So I went back to shopping with my favorite brands, but with a new lense, seeking out longer sleeves, higher necklines, and lower hemlines. And I made it work, but it was hard work.

At the time, I was working on the experiential retail marketing team at Bloomingdale’s, conceiving of new ideas to capture customers in innovative and interactive ways, and yet, in my own modest shopping experience, it felt like no one was doing much to try to capture me.

I started speaking to other fashionable and modest women, who all apparently shared the same problem. They were tired of scrolling through every product on e-commerce sites. They didn’t know how to style a more covered look for their body type. They struggled to find brands within their budget and quality standards.

And they weren’t the only ones. Around the same time, fashion publications started to notice an uptick in women’s desires for more coverage in their day-to-day wardrobe, right around the #metoo movement. Whether it was for faith, work, comfort, body image, or even safety related-reasons, data showed that midi skirts were replacing mini skirts and turtlenecks were outdoing v-necks.

And yet, retailers still haven’t caught up. The actual experience of shopping for modest clothing hasn’t changed. If successful retail is about curating for a unique customer, they haven’t yet provided a curation for us.

So I sought a solution myself. I gathered a team of women who shared the same pain points, and built a platform for every woman to feel seen and heard in her modest experience. We wanted to show women that choosing a “modest lifestyle” doesn’t mean sacrificing your individuality. It means Reflecting Your Worth and your personality through your wardrobe. We want her to know that The Reflective’s got her covered.

What should our readers know about your business?
The Reflective is an e-comm marketplace revamping the modest fashion shopping experience (think Shopbop but make it modest!)

However, we did not start off as an e-commerce website. We initially launched with a very vague definition – a modest fashion platform for the modern woman. This was an intentional decision as we wanted the consumer to define what she was missing in her modest fashion shopping experience and build that for her.

We began with a weekly newsletter of curated products and styling ideas. Immediately, there was demand for more. We began to expand, hosting community events, live conversations, curated pop-up shops, and grew awareness for the movement on Instagram. Responding to our community’s needs, we’ve most recently added a curated e-commerce shopping experience to our website, functioning as a one-stop-shop for elevated, high-fashion modest options from across the web.

We’re now at the stage where we’re beginning to raise capital for our seed round! We’re very grateful to have come far enough to be in this phase but also feel that it’s important to be transparent about the challenges on the way here (and the ones we still face day to day!)

Firstly, I launched this business because I was passionate about ensuring that women didn’t have to sacrifice time, budget and style in order to stay true to their values. I jumped straight into this right out of my first job in college and had no idea how steep the learning curve would be. Someone recently told me that if entrepreneurs knew what they were getting themselves into, no one would start businesses. I couldn’t have related to a sentiment more. So challenge number 1 has been staying motivated despite the fact that every day comes with a new unknown situation for our team to decode and solve.

And challenge number two is finding the balance between my excitement for this business and it’s potential, and the other areas of my life that are important to me: eating healthy, learning Torah, playing and listening to music, spending time with family and more. I can’t say that I’ve mastered this yet but it’s something I’m working on daily!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Amazing question!!

I’d definitely start off with some of the classics. Day one would be spent uptown, exploring the most recent Metropolitan Museum fashion exhibit and strolling through Central Park.

Day two would be a local day near my home in the West Village. We’d stop at my local coffeeshop, Blackstone, bringing our coffees to the famous “Three Lives and Co.” bookstore, spending the morning reading. We’d then window shop the local boutiques on Bleecker, including some personal favorites: Cynthia Rowley, Another Tomorrow and Ring Concierge.

Day 3 would be a day for a break from the city. We’d go hiking upstate and come back for drinks at Employees Only.

Day 4 would be a work catch up day. Whenever I’m not in the mood to go into the office, I spend my work day at WV restaurant Fairfax. Although I can’t eat the food due to kashrut, the coffee and the intimate setting (bookshelves, plants, random and quirky decor) keep me motivated all day.

Day 5 would be another classic tourist day hitting some of my favorite downtown spots this time. We’d spend the morning seeing the epic views from the world trade center, and shop through Brookfield and Westfield malls (both are a site to see for their architecture alone, shopping aside). We’d move on to SoHo for some more shopping, or as I like to call it, market research! We’d end the night at Tabernacle, an unreal steakhouse with my absolute favorite dish in NYC: The Hot Pot

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to dedicate the article to Joyce Azria for believing in The Reflective from the very start

Website: Liza@the-reflective.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_reflective_/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/liza-sakhaie/

Image Credits
Neriah Hadad

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