Inspirational Woman: Sarisha Ved | Founder, F5 Global

Meet Sarisha Ved

Founder, F5 Global

Sarisha Ved founded the successful fashion brand F5 Global at only 16 years-old and has encompassed the Gen-Z passion to protect the planet by creating a fashion brand for the future.

The sustainable athleisure brand is part of the Apparel Group – one of the largest retailers in the Middle East who are connected to global fashion brands from Aldo to Dune, and focuses on comfortable streetwear by offering stylish clothing for adults and kids that is versatile, trendy and colourful. Designed for both Gen-Z and Millennials, the brand also places ethics at the forefront of its identity – fashion with a conscience!

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and your current role

I am Sarisha Ved, Founder of F5 Global, UAE’s most adored conscious athleisure brand. I started F5 at 14 as part of my school project and eventually decided to build this business to work towards a bigger purpose.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Honestly, entrepreneurship came to me naturally; having parents who co-founded an omnichannel retail business, it couldn’t have been a better platform for me to start my own. I launched F5 as it was a solution to the change I wanted to see in the fashion market. So, to answer your question, I haven’t sat down and planned my career. I have specific goals that revolve around my further education and business, and I want to achieve them by the time I turn 25. 

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Having an ethical stance is extremely important to me. As a brand, we’ve been striving for perfection and ensuring that we use 100% sustainable materials; it took me more than six months to find the right factory to work with. So from the fabrics to the zippers to the design prints, it’s all consciously produced and ethically designed, and that has been our biggest challenge, too, because it’s important for us to work with the right manufacturers who practice fair trade and are certified as well. Many brands claim sustainability but being certified the way we are – with our GOTS and SEDEX – makes a huge impact. 

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I went to Nathdwara in India a few years ago with my family to do charity work. When we got there, the organizer told us how those children had to walk four hours from their village and wait three hours just to get a pen, a notebook, a pair of shoes, a blanket, and food. It made me realize that things we take for granted are something people can only dream of. Having this wonderful life that I do, there is nothing more I could ask for except to try to change something in the world. Even if it’s just a few children’s lives, it’s a significant impact because it goes down in generations. At the time, I only had this one sentence in mind. A hundred percent of the proceeds go towards children’s education. Then I asked myself if I wanted to do this long-term or do it as a school project and finish it off. I thought if I have an idea and the support, why not?” So far, we have raised USD17,000 for children’s education in association with Emirates Red Crescent where we support children from underprivileged communities by providing schools with necessary teaching equipment and learning aids, such as computers and tablets. This campaign helps support vulnerable students, orphans, and people of determination, who have been affected academically during the COVID-19 pandemic. The teaching equipment includes electronic devices, enabling them to pursue their education remotely. That’s definitely one of my most significant achievements so far, and there are going to be bigger milestones and achievements that we shall speak about in the coming years.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in your achieving success?  

F5 is beyond a business for me; when your purpose becomes your passion, you start working towards it, and eventually, everything starts to work out. I genuinely believe it is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee? 

We do a lot of student internships at F5 because, as a business, we want to focus on educating and empowering future generations. Six of my friends came and worked at F5 with me; two of them created my whole website; one of them is still working on it. The other two helped me plan two marketing initiatives and the social media content that we used. I couldn’t have asked for a better team right at the beginning of my journey. 

Level Up Summit

 

Don’t miss our Level Up Summit on 06 December, where we’re tackling the barriers for women in tech head on. Join us for keynotes, panels, Q&A’s & breakout sessions on finance, people management, negotiation, influencing skills, confidence building, building internal networks, maximising the power of mentorship, and much more. 

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

Wow, that’s a beautiful question. Gender equality is both a fundamental human right and an essential foundation for a sustainable world. Advancing more women into management and leadership roles is what I have stood by and practiced with F5 Global as well. 80% diverse young women who head central departments. They are passionate about sustainability and are paid equally to their male colleagues.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

How much younger are we talking about now? 😊

I think I might need a little more time to answer this question with perfection, but I would surely advise 14-year-old Sarisha that be confident and fearless with every decision you make; it will all work out. Being confident can be hard when you are a teenager starting a full-fledged business.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future? 

I am only focusing on global domination. My aim is to ensure people around the world have easy access to sustainable fashion. 

Who is your ideal customer?

Our ideal customer is the 23-year-old Alicia, a digital native, tech-savvy, informed, and aware, and she has been unapologetic in what she demands. Having a purpose and being value-driven isn’t just a personal requirement for my generation anymore – it is something they expect from all the people they follow, the content they consume, and the items they purchase. 

How important is the London pop-up and what are you hoping it will achieve? 

Our mission is to ensure that F5, the fashion-forward and planet-positive brand, is easily accessible worldwide. The London Pop-Up is our first step towards expanding the brand globally. Oxford Street in London is the busiest high street in Europe, what better place to build awareness about the brand that aims to go global? Also, we can’t wait to learn people’s response to our brand, in the UAE, it’s been loved by the Gen Z audience for the luxury streetwear we’re offering. The brand stands for a purpose, and we firmly believe that the people of London are waiting to embrace sustainable fashion and its purpose. We couldn’t think of a better city than London to have our first ever international pop-up.

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