Founder Friday Feature: Tania Kottoor, Founder & CEO, WEST X EAST

What inspired you to start your company?

WEST X EAST is an end-to-end solution for custom-fit and on demand cultural attire using AI and robotics for more efficient, faster and eco-friendly production. The mission is to preserve and elevate cultural heritage.

As a first generation Indian-American, I wanted to find a way to blend the dual identity as an American but honor my cultural heritage through fashion. WEST X EAST is tapping into the economic power ($100K average annual income) of a fast-growing diaspora. WEST X EAST is a company where you start envisioning your outfit online and receive expertise from a remote design team to bring your vision to life!

How is WEST X EAST making a difference?

The core principle our business was founded on was providing a service for South Asians like me, a product of two cultures: American and South Asian. I strive to preserve the traditions passed down to by my immigrant parents, much of which lies within clothing. The biggest struggle for the diaspora is being able to source such garments when the time comes. It can be a heart-breaking moment, when many first generation, second generation, and third generation of South Asians find themselves unable to fulfill these traditions simply because of no access or connection.

The $32B South Asian market is the entryway before expanding into customizing other traditional garments for East Asian, African and Middle Eastern customers which will surpass a $100B market size.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

Navigating the startup world as a WOC is not easy. I had to work EXTRA hard to get the opportunities that were given to me. It made me very determined and resilient.

What is your biggest win? 

Immersing myself in the startup ecosystem. I have participated in multiple fellowships, accelerators and pitch competitions. I did that all by myself.

Who is your role model?

Cate Luzio, Founder and CEO of Luminary: the self-funded and inclusive co-working space. I get to see Cate’s work ethic everyday and it is so damn inspiring. She has an aura that makes people want to be around her and learn from her.

What do you wish you had known before starting your company?

The key to success is (genuine) relationships + introductions.

What is your CEO superpower?

I am relentless and ambitious. 

Learn more and connect:

G&W Team

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