Since 2003 best friends Barbara Boccara & Sharon Krief have taken their love of fashion and created it into a business titled after the beginnings of their first names, ba&sh. ba&sh has a Parisian style that has faced over 15 counties in almost 20 years, now even during a pandemic, ba&sh has finally opened their first retail stores in Canada and Toronto, and we had the please of chatting with the owners.

How did you take your knowledge of fashion and turn it into a brand?

BB: Even though neither of us started our careers working in fashion, it was always a common love we shared, and a desire to create something special together. 

SK: That desire of wanting to bring our dream wardrobe to life is what drove the beginning stages of our brand – we like to say ba&sh was founded from a shared love for clothing. It was in 2003 when we met Dan Arrouas, who had real experience in the retail industry and was able to bring everything together.    

Despite the competitive market fashion is, what do you think made your brand successful for the last 15 years?

SK: Our core value of authenticity, that we’ve stayed true to since day 1. We follow our own desires and intuition in everything we create. I think our clients recognize this in our brand and that’s what makes us special. Ultimately, we just seek to create beautiful collections that make women feel amazing.

As females and best friends, what do you find has been the most rewarding when running a successful fashion brand?

BB: Building a team that shares the same vision and values, creating clothing that women can wear every day, to feel their most confident self, while also having fun with it.  Oh, and working together with my best friend!

How has running a business during a pandemic changed your mindset or helped you become better businesswoman?

SK: This pandemic taught us that you cannot prepare for everything, but flexibility, adaptivity and reactivity are more important than ever. Learning how to pivot and react during this challenging time has prepared us for the future and helped ensure we are better equipped for whatever may happen tomorrow.

BB:  To expand on that – we’ve really learned how to quickly adapt to our client’s needs. For example, during the pandemic, we designed our first ever loungewear capsule collection, because that’s what our shoppers wanted at the time. We made sure it was still ba&sh – chic, versatile, with special details – and it did extremely well.

Finding support is one thing but supporting others is another, as business owners what ways have you supported or given back to other female-owned brands who need inspiration?

BB: We built our brand with a core value to always be community-engaged and to help the most disadvantaged, and it’s still a priority almost 20 years later. Being female founders, our drive for our philanthropic initiatives has consistently been female-focused. 

SK: Every year, we create a t-shirt from which 100% of profits are donated to help a female-focused nonprofit whose mission we strongly believe in. Last year for International Women’s Day, we declared “Women are Heroines EVERY DAY” and created a t-shirt boldly proclaiming this message, with profits donated to CARE’s Together For Her campaign and Women Safe, to support efforts against domestic violence globally. We continue this tradition every year with a new charity so we can continue to support women around the world.