PROJECT #BEYOUROWN BOSS: LEILA QURAISHI
We are back for our second season of the #BEYOUROWN Boss Project whereby we are taking fantastic women to talk openly to us all about what it means to each of them to BE YOUR OWN Boss in the 21st century. So in the second installment of our 6 part campaign, we present Leila Quraishi, founder, and CEO of NudeSox. Nudesox is the first company to create athleisure socks in various shades of nude that closely match your skin tone. Nudesox was created to fill a void in women’s fashion. When it comes to getting dressed, we often color-coordinate everything without giving much thought to our socks, even though they are usually visible. These sporty chic socks effortlessly complement your outfit every time while providing superior comfort with simple elegance.
As a junior in high school, I came up with the idea for a women’s sock company. Now junior studying communication and entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California, I am the founder and CEO of Nudesox. Although being my own boss has been challenging at times, the events in my life strengthened and prepared me for the business world.
Growing up in several cities on both coasts of the U.S., I learned to adapt to my environment quickly and with resilience. I was born in Washington D.C., where I lived with my parents for nine short months. We then moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where my brother was born and my father advanced in his career as an investment banker. Right before starting Kindergarten, my father received his dream job offer on Wall Street, so our family of four moved to New York City.
Fast forward to 2013, my family and I left New York. We were on to our next stop, Newport Beach, California, for my father’s job. This move was a huge adjustment for all of us. With a new place, new people, and both of my parents dealing with serious health issues, coping was something my brother and I had to learn quickly. But after a year of living in Newport Beach, we decided that Los Angeles was more our style and that we would all be happier living in the city. Los Angeles is now my home.
Through all of the moving, I felt a surge of instability in my life and it was as if I had no control over anything. This feeling was the main reason I began my business, Nudesox. I wanted to have control over something and create my own success. I wanted to come up with a product that was original and would solve a problem. I spent hours thinking of different products and ideas. I finally looked down at my feet and realized that I was annoyed by my socks. I hated that they showed with my sneakers, but I also hated wearing no-show socks, since they would slip off, were uncomfortable, and didn’t even cover my foot. That was my lightbulb moment. I decided to create women’s athleisure socks in different shades of nude so that the socks would cover an entire foot, and still be unnoticeable.
I was always interested in business and even started several small brands in grade school. I remember being ten years old and asking my closest friends to submit their resumes for a position in my fashion company, La Maison de Lulu. I even had proper business meetings with them after school! In addition, I spent a lot of time practicing yoga as a child and became a licensed children’s yoga instructor when I was fourteen. I instructed private yoga lessons around New York City. Once I moved to Los Angeles, I taught yoga to women in a sober living house, in order to ease their recovery process. I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts, videos, or audiobooks that talk about marketing, branding, and selling tips from successful people. One of my absolute favorite people to listen to is Tony Robbins. I attended his seminar, Unleash the Power Within, and plan to attend the Business Mastery seminar. To me, these are the small things that truly pave the way to becoming successful and educated. It is finding the way that you learn best. I do not believe in traditional schooling, although I am enrolled in college. I think education is much more than attending classes. Education is a personal journey that must be reformed to mean more than receiving a diploma because education never ends. We are constantly learning and evolving as people. Education to me is not just going to school and following a curriculum. I have always been an out-of-the-box type of thinker, which is why I never excelled in any of my classes that had a linear framework, which was most of them. I am against the idea of a Grade Point Average (GPA). The society we live in constantly labels everything and everyone and a GPA is just another label. Your mind is not money or tangible property so it cannot have a net worth. As humans, we constantly learn and grow and our minds develop and expand, so to place a number on our capabilities is inaccurate, since no one knows what one is capable of. We only see people’s capabilities through their actions, which is what people should be focused on.
Awareness is important in order to be successful since awareness can breed understanding. I believe that communication is key, only if understanding is present. Understanding yourself and what makes you feel good is crucial to paving your path in life. It is interesting to think about how our emotions are all isolated. You’re either sad or happy, nervous or excited, fearful or trusting. When we isolate emotions, we become our emotions. However, when we don’t give our emotions too much power, we allow ourselves to have control over our feelings, and not let it determine our mood. If you think about it, emotions are just a state of mind, but when you label it, you prolong the state of mind by becoming it. Thoughts are fleeting, but when you start to feel, you start to become, which is not necessarily healthy. You must separate how you feel from who you really are because if you don’t, then you may behave in a way that you will regret.
Authenticity is really the best state of being. Being authentic is the most liberating feeling in the world, and really a gift to yourself. You attract the people into your life that are truly right for your soul, and you free yourself from the effort of maintaining fake relationships that do not suit your soul. You only get one chance to live. No one will remember all the decisions you are or are not making. Only you will. It is important to surround yourself with people you want in your life, but it is equally important to remember that you do not need those people in your life, nor will they always be good for your soul. You are your own person, and no connection or interaction should change how you feel about yourself. It is okay if people influence you to change if it’s because it will ultimately make you a better person, but the one thing that should remain constant is the feeling you have at your core. You must always be happy with who you are. Always.
To BE YOUR OWN Boss means to have the strength to follow your own path, and continue on it, regardless of obstacles. As a young girl, I watched my mother take the lead and start her own foundation, SVQF, which aimed to alleviate extreme poverty in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. Her ability to impact the lives of thousands of people taught me that I can make waves as well. I launched my brand five months ago, and have already gained media coverage for the socks through several magazines and online publications. I want to expand Nudesox worldwide and be the leading sock company for women. Being a businesswoman in the 21st century is powerful because of all the transformations that are taking place in the workplace. It means setting the tone for your relationships and what you are comfortable with. Building my self-worth is a priority for me since it is directly correlated to the success of my business. Your mindset determines your outcome, so I am focused on building a brand that represents power, sophistication, and value.
Instagram: @leila_rana @officialnx