MoneyTalk With Julie Ngov CEO & Founder of ADRENNA
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m the Founder and CEO of Adrenna, a sustainable activewear brand for women, and the world’s first customisable brand. I grew up in Australia, where my parents moved to in the early 80s as refugees from Cambodia. They suffered a lot of trauma from the civil war and lost friends, family, and neighbours from the genocide. We grew up very poor and my parents – young adults fresh out of their teens then – had to re-establish their lives in a foreign country. I moved to London from Australia in 2010 for a job as a lawyer in the City. I only intended to stay for 2 or 3 years! Since then, I’ve spent time working in finance, government and now consult for start-ups and tech businesses while running Adrenna. I love fitness, especially yoga, dancing, surfing and boxing.
What inspired you to launch Adrenna?
The long hours and pressure as a private practice lawyer took its toll. I discovered that I was no longer seeing friends and was gradually losing touch with my family and myself. I eventually burned out and suffered from chronic neck and back pain and took up yoga and weight training to build strength and manage the pain. This led to a range of sportswear purchases, but none of the garments really fit me and no brand spoke about having any environmental or ethical standards. Adrenna is an effort to bring together my love for movement, a healthy body and mindset, and respect for the environment and humanity. In London, the dominating presence of fast fashion brands and cheap, disposable clothing was a real eye-opener to the damage we do through our buying choices. Also, with Cambodia being a major hub for garment manufacturing, the exploitative nature of the industry and how it impacts women particularly are issues that are close to my heart.
What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?
I was always taught that if you look after the pennies (cents) the pounds (dollars) will look after themselves. I’ve personally always lived frugally, but with generosity to friends and family.
What does financial independence mean to you?
To be able to make short-term and long-term decisions about your life, goals and career without financial considerations having a negative influence over that decision.
What’s the one thing you indulge in?
Fitness classes and experiences (on top of my gym membership), though I see this as an investment in my long-term health. And, in a new development ever since reaching my 30s, expensive candles. I can’t explain that one!
What is the best financial decision you have ever made? And what is the greatest long term investment?
Definitely my financial and personal investment in Adrenna. I have learned so much from the experience and it drives me everyday. While the work can be uncertain, gruelling and lonely, I can look back and see how much I have grown as a person and entrepreneur.
It is also my greatest long term investment.
Have you ever experienced a financial epiphany? A sort of wake-up call, where you suddenly think - “I must start doing things differently”?
Not so much as an epiphany, but bursts of inspiration as I continue to speak to more people about finance, whether it’s investing in crypto, micro-investing or using digital banking apps to help budget.
What is Vestpod for you?
That intelligent yet accessible money coach I never knew I was missing! It’s coaxed me into stop thinking of financial matters as a chore, but as a habit that I can develop to better myself and my position.
What do you wish you have done earlier in terms of financial planning?
I always think I could have stayed in employment for a bit longer to get onto the property ladder, but I doubt I’d be standing here with a fledgling activewear business, living an active life, if I had.
What would you recommend to younger women?
Don’t be afraid to explore the untrodden paths.