Entrepreneur Q&A: Aida Pickering
Inspiring others to live their lives and love their imperfections – unapologetically
Aida Pickering is a 33-year-old entrepreneur, CEO and founder of SB & CO, who has spent the last five years building an athleisure brand that inspires and empowers women to honor who and where they are in their journeys to be their best, most authentic selves. Born in Ivory Coast and raised in Brazil, she uses her Afro and Latin roots as inspiration in her creative process and as a way to connect with her diverse audience from all walks of life. Making comfortable, versatile, and minimalist products is part of her daily motivation. She is obsessed with getting it right: the right design, the right fabric, the right fit, the right thing for a positive lifestyle. Her modeling background and love for fashion have also equipped her for this enterprising adventure as she strives to create a leading national athleisure brand.
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Simply Believe & Co.
3. Describe your business:
Inspired by bodies in movement and personal stories of resilience, Simply Believe & Co. started as a t-shirt company but quickly evolved into a movement that celebrates individuality, beauty and strength without boundaries. We believe that clothing is the physical manifestation of our identity, which in turn is shaped by the stories we live and defined by who we are. It has the power to connect and tell others what we are all about before we even say a word. Building upon this, we design a line of products that invoke a trendy lifestyle that connects, inspires and empowers you to shine out your inner badassery. You are a work of art after all!
4. Everyone in business has that moment when they know this is what they’re supposed to do. When and what was yours?
It might sound cheesy but for me, it was when I made the conscious decision to accept all of my imperfections. For years, I was insecure in my own skin but once I figured that I’m the author of my own story, a fire lit up in my heart and that’s when I knew. I knew I needed to use my personal story of resilience to inspire others to live the life of their dreams by being who they are – unapologetically. Needless to say that the message has resonated with our customer base and we are 5 years in and still going strong.
5. What were the first five action steps you took to turn your dream into a reality?
First, I put a business plan together. It is crucial to have your mission, vision and goals written down to remain focused. Secondly, I connected with a few people within the industry to seek out guidance. The learning part in an entrepreneurial ship is never done, you have to keep improving and that comes with knowledge and experience. Then I made a decision on which platforms to connect with our customer base. Once that was decided, I vetted out some local suppliers as I believe in supporting our own in this beautiful community that is Columbus. The next thing was coming up with designs and cuts – my favorite part of the creative process. Lastly, I made sure I tested out the final products along with a few trusted people within my circle to give me honest feedback as I pride myself in giving only the best of the best to my customers.
6. When did you know you had something special that people loved?
The moment when we sold out of our first batch in under 24hrs.
7. What current company or entrepreneur do you admire?
I greatly admire Homage. I think the story of how it all started and where they are at now is one to follow and be inspired by. Another one is the Columbus Apparel Studio – the owner Denise Falter-Conklin had a gem of a business that everyone should know about. Last but not least, Peggy Larue at The Road Forward Program is a great asset for small companies looking for booking services.
8. What are your plans for future growth?
The vision is to become a national brand that continues to inspire and empowers.
9. What are the top five things you keep on your desk?
A coffee mug, my water flask, a pen, notepad and laptop.
10. Behind every entrepreneur are people who helped them get where they are and continue to support them: who are your people?
It’s a very long list, but to name a few – my dedicated team, my supportive partner, my loving family and friends, one heck of yoga teachers and friends Amanda Snavley and Lucilene Ayers, my bookkeeper Peggy Larue and everyone that I wish I could add to this list if you are ready this – you know who you are and I’m beyond grateful for each of you.
11. What challenges did you face or continue to face while making your dream your reality?
Keeping up with the trends and staying relevant in an ever-changing industry as well as the limited and costly supply of sustainable products.
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