Supporting RAF spouses in Business – ASALI Designs

The Summer edition of Envoy magazine has a 12-page pullout section called ‘Spouses in Business and Employment’ which highlights, among other things some of our RAF spouses who already run their own businesses. Not only to promote ‘our own’ in the RAF Family but also to perhaps inspire others to dip their toe in the water of self employment.

Here’s our featured article on ASALI Designs…

Screendrop of ASALI Designs' website

Mindy Arora launched her own genuine luxurious leather gift business, ASALI in May of last year. Based in a village on the outskirts of Lincoln, the Families Federation caught up with Mindy to find out about her journey and how having her own  business flourishes alongside life as an RAF wife.

Having studied Economics at university in Liverpool, Mindy also met her husband to be, James. Whilst James proceeded along his career path in the RAF as a pilot, Mindy took on her own route, working in the world of marketing and publishing sales in  London.

Mindy Arora
Mindy Arora

Mindy shared:

“Living in London wasn’t really sustainable with having your other half in the RAF and as such needing to be closer to a station. So I then decided to train as a school teacher with the idea that I could always find a job wherever James was posted.  I absolutely loved teaching and carried on for a few years. It was also during this time that we started  our family and are now very proud  parents to our two children.

“In parallel to teaching, I also started  to help a very good friend as he set up his own business and needed  someone to cover the marketing side of things. Then gradually, the teaching ceased and Arora Marketing grew (tick business number one!). This was a great opportunity to work from home alongside being a mother and wife. I then went on to take on more clients, some are still with me today and I continue to manage their social media, web design and general marketing.

“In doing this, my marketing skill-set had been refreshed,  reinvested  in and I was ready to take on another challenge.”

“If you already have a business idea, that’s half the battle.”

Image of three travel bags in different colours
ASALI’s ‘weekender’ bags

The business

ASALI, translates to ‘genuine’  in Hindi and as such, this family run business has this ethos running through absolutely everything the company does.

All products are made from high quality leather and those in the military range hold a genuine license from the MOD. As well as celebrating these brands, Mindy has created  a small range of ASALI ‘s own products which also have created a great deal of interest.

To add further, ASALI donates a portion of revenue from every aviation-designed product to carefully selected charities:

  • RAF Association
  • Combat Stress
  • Jon Egging Trust
  • Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF)
Three different coloured cardholders pictured with a branded ASALI paper gift bag
Great and colourful cardholders

Why a leather goods business?

“With the good fortune of family in India who own their own  leather factory, I always knew I wanted to make use of that  and take something to market but I didn’t initially have a clear idea on specifically what. At the time a friend was applying for the Red Arrows and of course aviation is so close to our lives anyway, it became a logical step to design the ranges around the RAF. I used the Diamond 9 logo and so the Red Arrows Collection began.

“I took a punt. It took a year to bring everything to fruition. Research led to needing and applying for the MOD licence and then I expanded the range to what we have now: 7 Squadron, BBMF, Chinook, Red Arrows  and Typhoon Collections, each with its own specific brand.”

What advice would you share to those inspired to set up in business themselves?

“If you already have a business idea, that’s half the battle and you are already blessed. Take that idea to people who have been there and done it.Talk ideas over and just by vocalising your plans you will be surprised how that helps.”

Connect with ASALI

Register to receive Envoy magazine 

This article has come from the Summer edition of Envoy. The full pullout section shares where you can go to gain access to free training in business start-ups as well as finding employment and CV training and interview support. If you would like to receive the magazine quarterly (it’s free!), simply sign up online.

There is also an Employment and Training section on this website which provides a good reference point, together with a list of businesses run by RAF spouses.

 

Front cover of the Summer edition of Envoy
Front cover of the Summer edition of Envoy

 

 

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