Mandeep is the fantastically talented and creative founder of Something Flora, a handmade gifting company producing beautiful items for children and homes. After working for a prestigious investment bank for nearly a decade Mandeep took the opportunity to do something for herself following the arrival of her second child. She produces the most stunning hair accessories for girls and unique frames.
Tell us about yourself and what you do.
My name is Mandeep Flora and I am the proud owner of Something Flora. After spending 9 years working in Banking, I felt the time was right to explore a new avenue. My belief is that life is all about putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, despite how hard that can be. After our second child I had the perfect opportunity to do just that and took the plunge to follow my passion and start my own venture. Now just over a year later I have my very own handmade gifting company of unique frames and hair accessories for little girls. We have come a long way over such a short period of time and I am excited to continue to grow this brand over the coming years as we look to add to our range of bespoke products.
What inspires you?
Lots of things inspire me, especially when I am out in nature. Something Flora is based on flowers, so that is one area I get a lot of inspiration for my work. However, the biggest inspiration I have received in my life is from my 2 beautiful children. At such a tender age of 1 and 2 ½ they have taught me to be grateful for the small things in life, the things that really matter, the things that make me happy from the inside not just from the outside. Spending nearly a decade of my life in Banking, I was living such a fast paced and stressed out life, they have taught me how to slow down a little and enjoy life as each day comes.
What is the book you’ve given most as a gift, and why?
I have gifted Vex King’s Good Vibes, Good Life a few times this Christmas just gone. It is such a well written book on manifestation, visualisation and being grateful, that I wanted to share it with as many friends and family as possible. I had the pleasure to meet Vex in January 2019 for his exclusive book signing event and he honestly was such a humble human being trying to reach out to as many of us to teach us a positive way to live. If you enjoyed The Secret by Rhonda Byrne I would recommend you read this.
What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months?
Doterra Essential Oils. I have to admit this was a bit over £100, but it has been the best investment I have made for myself and my family. Essential oils as most of us know them are used for aromatherapy but they are so much more than that. We have now incorporated them into our life style and use them daily, rather than opening the medicine cupboard everytime we have a headache, funny tummy or feel under the weather.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours? I graduated from University during the peak of the Credit Crisis in 2009, so finding a job was very challenging. I interviewed at many top finance companies, but was unsuccessful to secure a role which really knocked my confidence. I then decided to take a break from applying to graduate jobs and volunteered at a homeless charity, where we would find temporary accommodation for people who were sleeping rough. A few months later I started applying for jobs again and was successful in obtaining a graduate position at a top investment bank and progressed my way up to a Vice President role.
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why?
*Life is SOOOO short, live your life the way you want to and be happy.*
My dad passed away suddenly in his sleep about 6.5 years ago and he was only 54 years old. This is a daily reminder to me and my family that we can’t take life for granted, tomorrow is never guaranteed, all we have is today.
In the last 2 years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
Exercise. I have never really enjoyed exercising as it was always seen as a chore and felt I didn’t need to do it. However, after having my children I wanted to be fit and strong for them but more importantly for myself (self love). Last year my husband (who is a fitness fanatic) found a boot camp class near our house for me to attend. I was hesitant but knew I should at least go to the taster session to see if it was for me. Wow, I can’t even describe how much my life has changed, I now love exercise and love the boot camp classes. I still attend religiously twice a week and am much healthier after including exercise and healthy eating into my life style.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the “real world? What advice should they ignore?
Not to underestimate the importance of networking as certain relationships you form could help you later on down the line. I was given this advice early on in my career but never really understood it fully, as I always felt so small in a big company. I appreciated the importance of this when it came to promotions or being given opportunities to do exciting upcoming projects etc. Another piece of advice I would offer is to try and get a wide range of projects and tasks under your belt. After some time you can then start to identify what you enjoy and what you are good at and then possibly start to specialise in a particular field. However, when starting out it is crucial to go into things with an open mind and learn as much as possible as this will benefit your future career.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
I speak to my best friend which is my husband. He really helps me bring me back to my ‘why’ and always tells me to look at how far I have come. I think we all tend to forget how much we have progressed and focus more on how far we have yet to go to reach the end goals we have set for ourselves.
Tell us something that would surprise us about you?
I’m a huge advocate of natural birth and specifically hypnobirthing. It is so fantastic, that I feel more mothers should be given the opportunity to be taught / made aware of this method. It is essentially empowering us to believe we already have everything inside us to birth our babies.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
Dealing with death. Losing my Dad by far has been the hardest thing I have had to experience in my life. No one prepares you for death or teaches you how to grief. I don’t think I will ever overcome it as such, however I have learnt how to live without my dad in his physical form and take comfort that he now lives within our hearts forever. It has also made me appreciate the amazing bond and relationship I have with my mum and brother and to cherish the moments we have together.
What would be your message to the AWMB community?
This platform is phenomenal in connecting so many Asian Women together. It is so empowering to see woman supporting and inspiring each other. The quote I love is:.
“Your tribe should want to see you win. Your tribe should clap loudly,when you have good news. If not, get a new tribe”.