Empowering the Future: Evangelina Fysa’s Journey as a Tech Entrepreneur, Advocate, and Trailblaze

  • Published on:
    November 29, 2023
  • Reading time by:
    6 minutes
In this exclusive Women on Topp interview, Evangelina Fysa, the visionary behind Bungalow 28 and co-founder of the sustainable clothing brand Tallulah, shares her inspiring journey into entrepreneurship, the lessons learned from facing failure, and her strategic insights on navigating the ever-evolving tech industry. Fysa also delves into her commitment to sustainability through Tallulah and the pivotal moment of self-transformation that fueled her entrepreneurial spirit. As a passionate advocate for women's empowerment, she offers valuable advice to future generations of women and envisions a legacy built on determination, authenticity, and unwavering dedication. Join us as we explore the intersection of technology, creativity, and empowerment in Fysa's remarkable story.

In this exclusive Women on Topp interview, Evangelina Fysa, the visionary behind Bungalow 28 and co-founder of the sustainable clothing brand Tallulah, shares her inspiring journey into entrepreneurship, the lessons learned from facing failure, and her strategic insights on navigating the ever-evolving tech industry. Fysa also delves into her commitment to sustainability through Tallulah and the pivotal moment of self-transformation that fueled her entrepreneurial spirit. As a passionate advocate for women’s empowerment, she offers valuable advice to future generations of women and envisions a legacy built on determination, authenticity, and unwavering dedication. Join us as we explore the intersection of technology, creativity, and empowerment in Fysa’s remarkable story.

Can you tell us more about the inspiration and motivation behind starting Bungalow 28, and how you transitioned from your previous job to entrepreneurship?

The inspiration for Bungalow 28 came from my passion for technology and creativity, coupled with a strong desire to provide innovative solutions to businesses and individuals. I’ve always been fascinated by the potential of technology and the power of creative thinking to solve real-world problems. This led me to dream of a company that could bring together the best of both worlds.

The motivation was fueled by the realization of two major pain points in the market that we were determined to resolve.

Firstly, we observed that clients in creative industries often struggled to find a single agency that could provide a comprehensive, all-in-one solution. These clients were seeking high aesthetics, but they had to engage with multiple agencies for different aspects of their projects, such as web design, branding, and digital marketing. Bungalow 28 was founded with the goal of offering a holistic solution to this problem. We wanted to be the agency that seamlessly blended technology, creativity, and aesthetics into one cohesive package, making it easier for clients to achieve their vision.

Secondly, we recognized that curators in the art world often lacked the technical knowledge and marketing expertise required to set up successful exhibitions. They had brilliant ideas but faced significant challenges in executing them. Bungalow 28 aims to be the bridge between their artistic vision and the technical aspects of exhibition setup. We provide the necessary technological and marketing support to curators, ensuring their exhibitions not only come to life but also reach their target audiences effectively.

Ultimately, our aim is to make technology the cornerstone of our strategy, in order to explore new and innovative ways of communication for the industries we are targeting. In essence, technology serves as the enabler for our creative endeavors in these industries. It’s the conduit through which we break down barriers, enhance user experiences, and open doors to new modes of communication. Our dedication to staying at the forefront of technological advancements allows us to provide tailored solutions that empower luxury, fashion, and cultural enterprises to thrive in an increasingly connected world.

Bungalow 28 is committed to the fusion of technology and creativity, transforming how these industries connect with their audience, tell their stories, and ultimately thrive in a digital landscape.

You mentioned pitching your company to investors and experiencing failure. Can you share some valuable lessons you learned from this experience?

In October 2021 I pitched this to independent parties and failed. On some occasions I took the feedback personally and on other occasions I blamed it on bias. But with time and reflection, I realized that the truth was quite simple—I was confused, and I did not have a clear plan. I had ventured into uncharted territory, where everything was uncertain.

Launching a business is far from formulaic. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. They might say that a successful business requires a strong product, a talented team, strategic marketing, and capital, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What I learned is that everything in the entrepreneurial world is an unanswered question waiting to be addressed. We don’t always know the problem we’re solving, who our target customers should be, or what we should build to address specific issues. We’re in a constant state of uncertainty, dependent on layers of unvalidated assumptions. All of these things mean that the environment we operate in is inherently complex and uncertain. And it sets the stage for giving up.

Even the most established companies were once new businesses on the block, and they overcame the odds by evaluating, pivoting, and pursuing their goals relentlessly.

So, what inspires me to keep going is the understanding that there’s no one path to success. I’ve learned to research my market, develop my customer base, iterate rapidly, pivot when necessary, and, most importantly, to love what I do passionately. This journey has taught me that failure is not the end; it’s a stepping stone to success. It’s about constantly learning, adapting, and having the determination to move forward. It’s a journey I’m committed to, and I’m excited to see where it leads.

How do you see the tech industry evolving, and what strategies do you employ to stay at the forefront as a woman in this dynamic field?

The tech industry is a dynamic and ever-evolving space, with rapid changes and innovations shaping its future. To stay at the forefront of this dynamic field, we must first understand how we got here, and I find it fascinating to trace some of these developments back to the gaming industry.

In recent years, the gaming industry has witnessed remarkable growth. In 2019, we had around 124 million gamers in the US, and by 2022, that number had increased to 148 million. What’s even more intriguing is that, contrary to expectations, the average spending on gaming has gone up. This phenomenon underlines the industry’s resilience and potential.

Looking ahead, we expect to see major technology companies building their presence in the gaming industry, often referred to as the “gaming stack.” Companies like Tencent, Microsoft, and Sony have already established a full stack, and we anticipate more players entering this space. 77% of the 148 million gamers engage in non-gaming activities within games, and this trend laid the foundation to a new frontier, the Metaverse.

The Metaverse is a concept that has captivated the industry. Brands like Adidas, Gucci, and Nike have embraced web3 projects and NFTs to connect with consumers in new ways. This shift was significant, as it marked a transition from traditional marketing to building actual, immersive digital experiences. It peaked in 2022, and I believe that from 2023 and onwards investment will be sustained.

In 2021, global spending on virtual goods reached $110 billion, more than double the 2015 figure, and it’s projected to reach $135 billion by 2024. This presents a real business opportunity, with the potential to contribute up to 5% of revenues in the fashion industry over the next 2-5 years. Virtual skins in digital worlds and NFTs are key drivers of this revenue, but the challenge is moving beyond mere marketing opportunities to aligning business strategies with the Metaverse.

Becoming a dominant player in this evolving tech landscape requires a multifaceted approach:

  1. Connected Stores:
  • The rise of e-commerce has necessitated a rethinking of physical stores. In-store technology and mobile apps can enhance the shopping experience.
  • Customers who engage with in-store technology spend significantly more time shopping.
  1. End-To-End Upgrades:
  • Integrating digital tools and analytics throughout the entire value chain is essential – from the backend to the frontend.
  • Brands should break down silos and create integrated, efficient, and profitable processes.
  1. Traceability:
  • Sustainability is a major focus in the tech industry, with traceability becoming increasingly important.
  • Knowing what happens in every step of the supply chain and being able to document it is crucial and can even reduce emissions.
  1. Artificial Intelligence:
  • Leveraging AI for data-driven, personalized experiences is pivotal.
  • LVMH’s Patou has begun rolling out a new AI-powered authentication system with its technology partner Ordre, adding a new dimension in fashion’s effort to fight fakes using AI’s ability to spot patterns indiscernible to humans.
  • In April and May of 2023, Prada Beauty displayed fragrance bottle images on its Instagram account that were made using a combination of photography by Johann Besse and then manipulated using generative AI.
  • We are entering an era where AI and ambient computing redefine our interaction with technology.

To stay at the forefront as a woman in this dynamic field, my strategy revolves around staying informed, collaborating, and embracing innovation. It’s essential to continue learning and adapting to the ever-evolving tech landscape, leveraging the power of diversity and inclusion to drive creativity and innovation. The future of fashion technology is a dynamic one, and I am excited to be part of shaping it.

You’re also involved with the sustainable clothing brand Tallulah. How does this commitment align with your mission, and what impact do you hope to make through this initiative?

Tallulah, the sustainable clothing brand I co-founded with my mother in 2016, is deeply ingrained in my mission to promote sustainability and empower women. These two aspects are at the core of what we do, and they are amplified through our “You Are Tallulah” hashtag initiative.

We aim to take a rigorous approach, recognizing climate change as both a social and environmental issue, and embracing the need to work with our value chain to accelerate progress. The SDGs provide a shared blueprint. They’re an urgent call to action by all countries toward a common goal to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. It’s one thing to know where you want to go, but it’s another knowing how you’ll get there. We’ve implemented an alternative model by reviving a traditional textile technique in collaboration with artisans in India. This way we adopt a Farm–To–Closet initiative by cultivating our own organic cotton. Spinning and weaving are done by hand on ancient wood spindles and machines, resulting in the finest and lightest cloths. We also use natural, plant–based dyes. Our Roadmap sets clear targets against the framework of our three key sustainability pillars: Humans, Nature, Earth. We call it the Join Love mission. Love for humans. Love for natural fibers. Love for Mother Earth.

Through the “You Are Tallulah” hashtag, we have created a platform for women to express themselves, embrace their individuality, and share their stories. This initiative has turned into a vibrant community where women support and inspire each other. We want women to feel confident, beautiful, and unapologetically authentic. Through Tallulah, we aim to elevate women, not just by what they wear, but by the sense of self-worth and empowerment they feel.

The pivotal moment when you were willing to let go of your past self to embrace the woman you were becoming – can you describe the emotions and thought process behind that decision?

Certainly, that moment was transformative, and it was deeply rooted in the understanding that as individuals, we cannot be forced into a box; we must learn to see beyond it. Some are lucky enough to have everything mapped out. It’s in a spreadsheet – they know when they are going to get married, have kids… We call them… Accountants. For the rest of us, it’s not always that clear. And it’s okay. When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and you are just going to have to play it safe, be comfortable, and follow what society has dictated for you. It’s like how our corporate ecosystem operates – predict accurately, plan accordingly.

My experience has been the exact opposite.

It is November 2021, and I have just launched my own company. I had invoiced one client until the end of the year. And at some point, I ran out of money. That day, what shifted for me was I was willing to completely let go of any form I’ve been so that I could birth the woman that I was becoming. The reason why a lot of people won’t become who they want is because they are attached to whom they’ve been. We want to grow, but we want to stay liked by everybody. We want the convenience of transformation without the inconvenience required for transformation. I knew it wasn’t working for me any longer; it was my version of rock bottom. I was faced with two options — to evolve or to expire.

The phrase “la vie est belle,” which translates to “life is beautiful,” became a guiding principle for me. It encapsulates the idea that being alive is a profound joy, and I had to learn this from the course of my own life. Life is indeed beautiful when we learn to love the process of becoming our true, authentic selves.

As a woman who’s deeply committed to empowering others, how do you stay inspired and motivated, and what keeps your passion alive?

My inspiration and motivation stem from a profound belief in the transformative power of self-empowerment and a dedication to empowering others. Someone once described this phase of my life as my “glow-up era,” a statement that initially took me by surprise, reflecting on how it fit my current journey. But in that moment, a deep truth dawned on me—how we feel within radiates to the world outside. In today’s fast-paced world, we often find ourselves juggling a multitude of responsibilities, from supporting our families and excelling at work to managing financial growth and more. In the whirlwind of life, it’s easy to overlook the most crucial person—ourselves. However, here’s the beautiful truth – we all possess the power to shine like never before. We can command our space, claim our voice, and be unapologetically authentic. Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s an absolute necessity. It’s not about taking away from our commitments; it’s about enhancing our ability to meet them with a combination of grace and grit. Whether it’s a moment of quiet reflection, a walk, an inspiring book, or any activity that rejuvenates our spirit, it’s essential to give ourselves permission to embrace it.

As women, we are forces of nature. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, and it’s time we let that power and confidence shine. My passion stays alive because I’ve witnessed the incredible transformations that occur when individuals realize their own potential and embark on a journey of self-empowerment. It’s a continuous source of inspiration, knowing that I can contribute to this process. I am driven by the belief that every person has the capacity to shine brightly, and I am here to support and encourage that brilliance in every individual I connect with.

Looking ahead, how do you envision your legacy as a trailblazing entrepreneur and advocate for women’s empowerment, and what message would you like to pass on to future generations of women?

I firmly believe that talent is a wonderful starting point, but it’s just that – a start. You can be the most talented person in the room, but without determination and unwavering drive, that talent may remain untapped. The true magic lies in the energy to be the best, to embark on the journey of self-discovery, and to determine what you want to contribute to the world. I aspire to motivate future generations to not only recognize their unique talents but to cultivate the passion and determination that propels those talents to their fullest potential.

It’s not just about doing the work; it’s about giving it your all and putting in 200%. You never know who might be observing, who might be taking note, or whose life you might inspire. You are in a specific place, at a precise moment, for a reason.

That’s why I wholeheartedly believe in giving it your all, being your authentic, best self, and pouring your heart and soul into what you do. I hope to instill in future generations the understanding that hard work and dedication not only lead to personal growth but can also capture the attention of others, opening doors to unforeseen opportunities.

The message I wish to impart to future generations of women, especially those in search of strength, is rather straightforward: We are women, and strength naturally finds us. My aspiration is to ignite a sense of empowerment within women, encouraging them to dream boldly, shatter barriers, and unapologetically embrace their true selves as they pursue their aspirations.

Believe in your unique talents, harness your determination and drive, commit your full being at 200%, and embark on your journey with unwavering enthusiasm and purpose. Understand that, quite often, the magic and transformative power reside in the work we don’t shy away from. You possess the ability to shape your destiny, inspire others, and leave a lasting impact. It’s in the energy, dedication, and the unrelenting effort you pour into your passions that you have the potential to create a meaningful legacy.

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