Each week we present an influential woman whose career and style has inspired the team at Silkarmour to aim higher and dress better. This week, Silkarmour’s woman is Cynthia Salim, a former McKinsey consultant and founder of women’s luxury blazer brand, Citizen’s Mark.
What makes Salim’s story special is how she manoeuvred lessons learned from her previous working environment into her journey as an entrepreneur. Citizen’s Mark was inspired by a gap in the market - a lack of quality business-wear that was responsibly sourced and designed for a professional environment. Having realised this as an intern for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, the issue prevailed as Salim transitioned to McKinsey & Company in 2012, rendering it “impossible to find anything that was serious, and high-quality, much less ethically made.”
Thus, The Geneva, The Zurich, and The Copenhagen blazers were born in Portugal, in a factory that met Salim’s high standards of ethical production and environmental preservation. Made of double-pressed Italian wool, each jacket is finished with a German wool under-collar and pressed twice for a sharp finish. Given the culture of disposable-fashion that exists today, finding a brand that bridges the gap between young woman and working professional is exceptionally refreshing. Salim credits her postgraduate studies - a Masters in Human Values & Global Contemporary Ethics at Kings College – with shaping the vision of her brand. In applying her lessons and experience, founding a brand that prioritised responsible production made her think about “how I can make my mark on the global stage”. That said, the attention to detail and overall aesthetic of the finished the garment has an exceptionally professional finish, merging the concepts of quality and responsible production together effortlessly.
Naturally, no entrepreneurial journey is without hiccups. Salim’s signature quirk is processing failure like data; analysing the situation and learning from it directly. Regarding the future, she hopes to be acknowledged for her efforts, but only if she is deserving. Referring to the accolade panels at her alma mater, Salim states how she previously “couldn’t wait” to be on the boards, but now, with a larger sense of responsibility at hand, “now my thought is ‘I can’t wait to deserve to be on that’”.
Surely that’s a principle that will leave a mark.
Career Golden Nuggets
‘Failure is data – it’s information. Put it in a list for the future.’
‘Marry your idea; sometimes it’ll take a really long time to do something so sometimes you have to make it work.’
‘Be really decisive and really confident in your direction, develop your voice.’
‘Every day is crisis so zoom out and keep perspective.’