THE BLOG

Women in Business Q&A: Tapasya Bali, Co-Founder and COO, YOGASMOGA

08/30/2015 06:49 am ET | Updated Aug 30, 2016

Tapasya Bali is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of YOGASMOGA. YOGASMOGA is a designer, manufacturer and retailer of Yoga inspired athletic apparel and accessories and is proudly made in the USA. Tapasya is significantly influenced by her upbringing in the Himalayas and the culture of yoga. In addition to running YOGASMOGA's operations, Tapasya is instrumental in forming the NAMASKÁR Foundation as a core pillar of YOGASMOGA. Prior to founding YOGASMOGA, Tapasya was a senior Director in the Risk Financing Department of Prime Brokerage at Credit Suisse, playing a key role in building out the business.

Ms. Bali holds an MBA from New York University and a Masters Degree in Information Systems from Baruch College.

How has your life experience made you the leaders you are today?
I have worked in male-dominated environments from a very young age. It was challenging to fit in and prove myself and I found working in such environments really molded me as a leader. Men have a different approach to leadership and tend to take opportunities more aggressively than women, especially at the formative levels of their careers.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at YOGASMOGA?
Business is all about problem solving. Working on Wall Street for many years really gave me the experience to take a problem, analyze it, break it apart and find ways to solve each part so that the execution becomes easier. I think this skill set is transferable in any business.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at YOGASMOGA?
We are growing YOGASMOGA at a very rapid pace across both U.S. coasts. While this is very exciting,the largest challenge I face is staffing up quickly with the right people who fit in with our values and ethos.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
Take more risks. Being an entrepreneur is challenging - it might not be the "safest" route to take but it allows you to express who you really are and lets you live up to challenges. The satisfaction of achieving goals far exceeds any other professional experience.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
Don't ever give up. If you believe in what you are doing and enjoy doing it, don't let temporary setbacks discourage you. Your gut should always lead you back to your belief of what you have set out to achieve.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
To be honest, it is a challenge to maintain that balance when you are entrepreneur working on fast growing company. My secret is to start my day very early. Waking up at 4 am helps to get ahead of a hectic day and fit in some personal time for workouts.

How does YOGASMOGA empower women?
90% of the staff at YOGASMOGA is comprised of women. We have a performance-based culture and everyone is evaluated equally. We empower everyone to provide their views and opinions and take ownership to execute the big picture.

Our factories also employ a large number of women. Additionally, our NAMASKÁR Foundation works to empower women by giving back to them through investing in their health, education and micro-lending programs.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Mentorship is very important. It is always good to learn from other people's experiences. Every one has their own set of deficiencies and growth opportunities. Finding the right mentor helps accelerate the learning process and be more in tune with one's self.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Arianna Huffington & Angela Ahrendts are two women who I greatly admire: Arianna for her self-awareness and leading a publication that really connects with people at the core and Angela for transforming a major brand at Burberry and already making recognizable strides at Apple.

What do you want YOGASMOGA to accomplish in the next year?
YOGASMOGA has set out to open 10 new retail locations by the end of this year. We are aiming to increase that number significantly for next year. Our footprint is rapidly expanding and we plan to keep the heat on going into next year.

How would you describe YOGASMOGA'S DNA and what makes your brand unique?
Our product is made with a lot of love and care. We put a tremendous amount of effort into building our products and providing a personal experience for the consumer. We want YOGASMOGA customers to feel good about their decision to purchase our products.

Having grown up in India, the ethos of yoga is ingrained in me and helps me to provide a sense of authenticity to the consumers' experience. Marrying that with superior fabric and color technology, that we spent years developing in the best research labs in California, we can offer an exceptional quality that is proudly made in USA. Almost everyone else in the manufacturing space is chasing cheap labor and moving production overseas - resulting in an inferior product. We are proud of our choice to produce in America.