Episode 24: Saba Gul
"Walk through a door without knowing everything."
Saba Gul, CEO/Founder of Popinjay, A Brand Of More Than Just Fashion, on creating a brand that makes a world a better place.
When Saba Gul landed in the US two weeks before 9/11, she didn't know she was soon going to become an overnight ambassador for Pakistan. From that day forward, she was on a path to connecting women around the world. This path became luminous when she attended a talk one night that became the catalyst to shifting gears from engineering to ethical fashion.
Saba launched the ethical brand Popinjay in 2013. Since then, she has been impacting the lives of artisans worldwide by providing them dignity and sharing their stories with consumers globally.
Find out from the podcast how Saba:
- Was the first in her family to attend college in the US, with a full scholarship to MIT
- Was impacted by a woman named Azaada that eventually led her to pivot from her career in engineering to sustainable fashion
- Was led by her curiosity to find her passion and how she courageously followed it
- Gets inspiration from her team, her customers and her artisans
- Describes the changing landscape of retail to being purpose driven
- Copes with the dark and difficult days of running a start up
- Defines success as using your voice to influence positive change
Saba’s passion and enthusiasm for her brand was contagious. By the end of the conversation, I wanted to own a piece of her dream. You don’t want to miss listening to her inspiring story.
"Popinjay began with the grand vision of providing equal opportunity to everyone on the planet."- Saba Gul
Saba Gul is the CEO/Founder of Popinjay. Inspired by her roots in Pakistan and growing up in a country of marvelous beauty and immense talent, Saba felt inspired but also heartbroken at how this talent was stunted by a lack of opportunities. During her travels to Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan and Indonesia, Saba grew inspired to connect indigenous craft to global markets, and to connect the makers of products to their consumers.
While in graduate school in the US, Saba heard the story of an Afghan girl named Azaada Khan who masked herself as a boy for 12 years to be allowed to attend school when girls were prohibited by law to get an education. Her story influenced Saba to quit her job in the US and move to Pakistan to pilot a program that provided livelihoods and education to young Pakistani women.
In winter of 2013, Saba launched the ethical fashion label Popinjay. Saba’s dream is to create a brand that sells stunning products that are also making the world a better place. She is an alumna of MIT, where she completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies in Engineering.