“In order to have your team thrive, there has to be diversity within your team members” With Suuchi Ramesh
In order to have your team thrive, there has to be diversity within your team members. Our team is comprised of 70% women, over 27 nationalities and 4 generations of workers. All these different perspectives contribute to why Suuchi Inc. has been able to see such rapid success while keeping our team balanced. Also focus on STEM — we need to proudly wear our science, technology hats and use that power to transform the world.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Suuchi Ramesh, Founder & CEO of Suuchi Inc. Suuchi Inc. is a technology company that manufactures apparel for Fortune 1000 fashion brands and emerging fashion designers.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was not originally in the fashion industry at all — my career started in software engineering and predictive data analytics. I was a part of super-fast scale companies for 9 years before Suuchi Inc. When I started Suuchi Inc., the original idea was to be a B2C business where we created custom, made-to-fit garments that were made by our teams in a few days. However, I realized that we could find more scale and success focusing our supply chain on B2B clients. Suuchi inc. now designs, manufactures and ships for forward-thinking Fortune 1000 fashion companies, as well as, emerging designers. We’ve created an entirely digital shop floor through the use of our proprietary software, the Suuchi Grid, which ensures hyper speed-to-market time and a completely transparent supply chain.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
So many stories to tell. The most interesting and funniest in retrospect is perhaps building our 3D technology and spending a lot of money on it in our 1st 6 months. You don’t want to build technology for the sake of it, and definitely not before you have achieved and proven market-product fit.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We’ve taken a dusty industry and used technology to completely digitize the manufacturing process. Our technology includes our software, but also simple hardware built into our machines to analyze sewer productivity, while ensuring trackability and transparency. Additionally, consumers more than ever want to know where their products are coming from and the Suuchi Grid allows our clients to have that information readily available at no extra cost.
Our culture is a big differentiator as well. 70% women, sewers and software engineers, folks in their 70s and 20s, 27 nationalities. Our diversity has afforded us stability in the face of very fast growth.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We have recently launched our Micro Packages and White Label packages for micro-brands and emerging designers. These packages completely democratize the fashion industry and remove the gatekeepers who once controlled the industry. We believe that every designer should have the opportunity to launch their brand on their own terms and that’s exactly what these packages are doing. We are also moving to a new, larger facility in the next month in Kearny, NJ and plan to add at least 500 more employees over the next 2.5 years.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
In order to have your team thrive, there has to be diversity within your team members. Here at Suuchi Inc., our team is comprised of 70% women, over 27 nationalities and 4 generations of workers. All these different perspectives contribute to why Suuchi Inc. has been able to see such rapid success while keeping our team balanced.
Also focus on STEM — we need to proudly wear our science, technology hats and use that power to transform the world.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
You can care about your team, but still need to make tough decisions to let the company grow. One of the lessons I learned early on is that you are only holding yourself and your team members back if you don’t let them move on when the time comes. People don’t often talk about separation principles because it seems taboo and tough to talk about them. Firing fast is as critical to company growth, and as important, if not more important, than good hiring.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am grateful to my leadership team, especially the team members that come with decades of experience. Not having co-founders or a board early on, my leadership team was really my sounding board. Their experience has helped me and the company deal with the big, daily anxiety that comes with running a fast-growing company
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One of the ways we give back to our local community is by partnering with local universities and schools to teach the people of our community advanced manufacturing skills. We want to show people that sewing can be a sexy job and a dependable, exciting career choice and that these skills can be transferred to other jobs once they are certified through our education program. We are also able to employ many of the people who we certify and return jobs not to the US, but especially to our local Hudson County, NJ.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Surround yourself with good-hearted, brave people that will go into battle with you.
- Read till your eyeballs fall out of their sockets
- Hard work never grows old
- Hug your pet for 5 minutes every night. It gives the best perspective
- There is nothing a glass of bourbon cannot solve
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I am passionate about encouraging more women to be in the STEM fields. We need to have more women leverage their geekiness in order to disrupt traditional industries. That is also why are we trying to use our education partnerships to encourage more women to learn advanced manufacturing skills and technology in machines.
My dream is to have women in their 20s and 30s want to enter manufacturing again and to view technology enabled sewing as the best career choice.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Nothing worth doing is easy.
One the simplest more effective quotes. It has helped me always aim higher, and swim through excruciating moments of the build. Very grateful for what we are and who we are today, and every excruciating moment was worth it.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Can I do 2?
Reid Hoffman and Ray Dalio. I’m a big fan of the “Masters of Scale” podcast. I’m reading Hoffman’s Blitzscaling book now and it is brilliant. Hoffman’s philosophies inspire our growth and scale. Dalio, the man, and his book, Principles: Life and Work, drive our culture and leadership thinking.