After a decade of crisscrossing the African continent, Audra Gordon stumbled on her true passion -Fashion.

Audra’s curiosity has taken her to 76 countries around the world but it was her experience visiting 26 African countries that inspired her to leave her banking career to nurture her creative calling.

Christabel Telewa, the editor-in-chief of Afroelle Magazine, had a chat with Audra.

Audra is the Founder of Beam Bold, a vibrant resort wear brand for color lovers of all sizes.  She is  Caribbean-born, a New Yorker, an avid traveler, and a long-term Hong Kong expatriate.

I am grateful to have found my passion

I was in banking for so long that most people may not remember that my career began in retail fashion.

I then transitioned to banking. After over a decade in banking, I took a career break to pursue my MBA full-time.

I began exploring different career paths but my interest in fashion was reignited after conducting case studies on multiple fashion companies during my studies.

Upon graduation, it was important for me to pursue a meaningful career that I was passionate about.

So I began traveling across Africa conducting research and trying to gain clarity on a way forward.

Upon my return to China, a series of chance connections – including meeting a factory owner who had set up a textile factory in the Caribbean many years ago, my conviction about my brand concept, and my commitment to my cause of reducing textile waste, led me to live in my purpose.

Despite the many challenges of managing every aspect of my business, I am grateful to have found my passion.

Interesting observations during travel

When I arrived in Casablanca in May of 2010, it was my very first time on the African continent.

I had convinced a friend to join me, so we spent 10 days exploring a few cities in Morocco as part of an organized tour.

I loved the charm of the country and was fascinated by the unique pieces in the colorful markets.

One of the highlights of my time in Morocco was experiencing a beautiful evening cruise in Rabat. A local who I met on my flight offered to escort us on a mini-tour of his city.

It was wonderful getting to know the other travelers who were part of our tour, but it was fulfilling to escape the group to experience Morocco with a local.

Launching Beam Bold

Launching Beam Bold has been extremely challenging but equally rewarding. I love all aspects of the business – from the creative process to spending time at the factory handling product development & quality control, to leading pop-up shopping experiences & servicing my customers.

I am also the face of my brand so I not only direct photoshoots but also step in front of the camera to be photographed.

I am constantly learning because I am wearing so many different hats in my business as I solve my customers’ fashion pain points.

I may make the process look easy but I am constantly working. When you are building a brand from scratch, you are required to dedicate a lot of time to learning and strategizing.

It is also a very isolating journey especially because I usually spend a significant amount of time in mainland China where I do not speak the language.

However, seeing the joy on my customers’ faces when they try on my vibrant pieces & receiving feedback about how my bold dresses transform their moods make it all worth it.