Female Founder Spotlight: Angelique Fihn, Co-Founder Femique

Photo: Angelique Fihn and Miriam Lindholm, founders of Femique

How did you find yourself launching Femique?

Miriam and I decided that we were sick of having to compromise when it came to our own personal pregnancy journeys. It was such a daunting and new, yet beautiful stage of being a woman that was in parts jeopardised, by not feeling our best in either comfort or appearance. Both of us shared this common feeling that the maternity wear industry was somewhat neglected, and both of us had the vision to create a line that not only empowered the wearer but was also made up of the most luxurious, highest-grade material. I focused on sourcing materials and warehouses, taking the time to design the most comfortable yet intimate maternity wear, while Miriam focused on the business, homing in on sustainability and potential vendors and taking on a lot of the marketing. 

How long did it take from your first idea to your first sale? 

It took about a year after we started to work together to make our first sale. During COVID, our designs finally came to life, and we were lucky to be able to continue manufacturing during COVID-19 as our factory was still open. Me and Miriam bounced off each other from the get-go and balanced out each other in lots of fields. It was both our first time running a business, so we’d asked for a lot of feedback from similar-sized independent businesses and were shocked to hear how long it normally took to get to the first sale. We were ecstatic from the first transaction, as we knew we had faith in our items and had put them up to the test many times. We were ready to finally impact the mother-care community and build something that made a difference. 

How did the brand evolve? What marketing strategies did you implement? Have you used social media to grow your business? Or another advertising channel?

Throughout our business journey, our core message has always aligned, however, through showcasing our pieces and ideas to customers and other business owners, people’s visions of the brand expanded on ours and it evolved into the brand it is today. 

What’s always been most important to us is customer satisfaction and having our customer retention rate remain very high. Femique is not fast fashion, it is trying to build up a community of customers for life, that has a deeper value than just normal maternity wear. We wanted to build a community that can strive during what can be a lonely, challenging time for many women. One way in which we try and keep very high customer retention is through our high calibre fits and materials, which are sourced worldwide, with Miriam’s flair for business and expansion and my attention to detail and experience, with working in Luxury Fashion Retailer’s, we know exactly how to pinpoint high-grade fabric at an affordable price point, which is what I think gives us our unique selling point.

In the beginning, we experimented with social media, but realised later, just how impactful social media can be. We needed to show real women and show what real bodies looked like during this time, creating a personal story for each of our customers. So, in our photoshoots, we don’t use models but instead reach out to followers and friends. We don’t want to create a façade, like most businesses in the space do, using props and child actors, we want to capture the happiness and ease in families and how comfortable real women feel in our sets, behind a lense. We also felt that it was more of an achievement for us to see the real smiles of our customers on screen and hope this resonated with the buyers.  We really advocate being comfortable in the ‘now’ of our bodies, and dismantle the notion of ‘bouncing back,’ as this stigma around mothers to bounce back into shape for the male gaze, is something that really should have been given up decades ago. It’s our job to restructure our views first, and we believe this is what Femique stands for.

What has been your biggest career success with Femique?

Again, seeing returning customers is always a great indication of our success and makes us feel like our journey has been worthwhile. As per a singular moment, one of our highlights was working on our shoot with friends, family and customers, seeing their radiance and comfortability in our pieces is something that really resonated with both of us.  

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in growing the company?

It’s a combination of finding good suppliers, prioritising our tasks on a daily basis and juggling our family lives at the same time. Being mum’s is already one of the most demanding, yet rewarding jobs on the planet, and to be running a start-up business on top of that can sometimes be daunting. We are lucky to have each other to balance off and run ideas through with. We are also incredibly lucky to get on so well as business partners, we can be candid and open with one another, and nine times out of ten we are on the same page. We remind each other to be kind to ourselves daily, as sometimes we forget we’re only human and can’t do it all without each other’s help.  We’re both high achievers and want to do everything but we’re in this for the long run so must find a good balance, so it works in all aspects of our lives. 

What does a day in your life look like?

No day is like the other with children. However, since we both have 3 kids each it’s always nice to connect past the business and resonate as mothers. I love tending to my garden and doing arts and crafts with the kids, while Miriam loves pushing herself toward new challenges, having climbed a range of mountain tops such as Kilimanjaro, so it fluctuates what our daily routine would be on a day-to-day basis!

What would you say is the number one obstacle/challenge that female leaders/moms face in starting and building a business? What would your advice be in overcoming this obstacle?

Being a parent is demanding within itself, and I normally give the same advice I would give to growing a business as I would to keeping a family working. It’s a marathon not a sprint, remember your support system and don’t hold all your own pressures in. We are lucky to be able to share our worries and anxieties about the future and I find talking about them with Miriam or my family has really slowed down my pace and realize the importance in taking time and living each day to the best of your abilities. It’s all about equilibrium, some days you’ll focus more on making sure the families are together and happy, and others you’ll be out all day talking to vendors and suppliers and that’s okay… you can never do it all. It’s best to break it up into small tasks and take them as they come. 

What are your plans for the next 3 years?

Growing Femique and our community here in the Middle East and Europe. Further working on how we can be a sustainable brand and work within the fashion industry to achieve this is important to us.  We want our core message to be heard on a global level and that’s the next step for us as a business. 

How can readers find out more about you and Femique?

You can find us on Instagram @femique_lingerie. We’d love to hear from you so write us a DM directly or have a look at our website www.femique.com. Also, if you want to keep up with us and our business expansion please visit us at https://www.linkedin.com/company/femique-lingerie

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East