- Rachel Barac
Founder of FORME Activewear
Where are you from and how did you end up in Shanghai?
I am from Iran. However I lived in the United Arab Emirates while finishing my Masters degree in Architecture. While I was studying and working as an architect I got a job opportunity in Shanghai. I moved here in September 2014.
How did the idea for FORME Activewear come about and how is it unique from other activewear brands out there?
My love of fitness and sport led me to change my career from being an architect to become a personal trainer. I came to Shanghai to work as an architect, however I’ve always liked sports. I was tired of not getting the results I wanted from exercise while investing so much of my time and money, so I decided to become a personal trainer to end this misery, I did it FOR ME.
I passed the personal training course on my first try and I’ve kept learning ever since. I was able to change my mindset and my body and I am proud to say I’ve managed to help many men and women on their fitness journey as well.
When I started my fitness journey I was walking around town with this huge backpack, sneakers and yoga pants all the time- there’s nothing wrong with this until it’s time for meetings, birthday parties or just wanting to look more classy and elegant. I wanted more options than just functional activewear.
My options were; either go back home and change which can be so time consuming and not always possible when you’re living in a big city like Shanghai, or to carry half of my closet in my backpack.
I did both.
When I was looking for something suitable I found that anything available was either too functional which meant not so good looking in my opinion, or they were very pricy. There it was again, I couldn’t find what I liked so I created an activewear brand FOR ME. FORME activewear is sexy, elegant, yet functional and affordable. FORME came when I realized that every change I decided to make for myself was permanent and I always made it work, and that’s what I want anyone else to remember with every item from FORME, that they are doing it for themselves.
What is one of your biggest lessons learned through your entrepreneurial journey?
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Learn to promote
- Learn to sell
- Make it a business
Getting out of my comfort zone was the biggest challenge for me. As a personal trainer in the fitness industry I feel we tend to have so much focus on ourselves that we kind of forget how to be socially active and promote our service, so I had to push myself to get out of my comfort zone.
Luckily I come from a family who turns any opportunity into business, so being surrounded by them I had no choice. Thanks Dad!
How do you define success? What does it look like to you?
Having a positive impact on the lives of people by uplifting them and inspiring them to think and act in ways that they may not have considered before. And by not taking “no” for an answer.
Every time anyone puts on a piece that they purchase from FORME, I want It to become a reminder of why they started, and to assure them they are not alone, we have a great community with like minded people full of energy, positivity and support.
And to look AMAZING while remembering it.
Do you think Shanghai is a unique place to be an entrepreneur, if so, why?
There are so many opportunities in Shanghai that can be overwhelming sometimes, with all the events and social activity happening all year round, as much as it can be a great opportunity to network and expand your business it can be distracting as well.
So if you aren’t careful you might end-up attending all the events that might have nothing to do with your business, which happened to me. So I had to coach myself every time I was invited to an event, I would ask 3 questions from myself before I would say yes to an event;
1. Why do they want me there?
2. How can the relationship help me and their business?
3. Who is their target audience?
So yes, Shanghai is a very unique place to be an entrepreneur, so make sure anything you do is getting you a step closer to your goal.
Especially if you are a startup company, you have to do a big part of the job yourself, so keeping up a high social life while there is tons of work that needs to be done can be exhausting.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs or those thinking about starting their own business?
- Track Finances
- Listen and Learn
- Take quick action
- Purposely schedule your rest time
Plan, plan, plan, plan every single move then, plan some more.
Be on top of your finances, I followed the lean business method which means I used no loan or credit, all I planned on was my own saving, so I tracked every single cost and I still do.
Listen, watch and learn, don’t be shy to ask questions, if you don’t ask you never know.
Address issues and take action immediately.
Schedule a rest day. It might sound silly, but if you are passionate about whatever you are creating, it is easy to forget to rest, and you might find yourself unmotivated and unproductive thinking it doesn't work, but the reality is you are just tired and you need to recharge.
If you would like to find out more about FORME Activewear you can find them at: