We had the pleasure of sitting down with Alissa Benishai, entrepreneur, #girlboss, and founder of the critically-acclaimed athleisure brand, Phat Buddha.
Phat Buddha is a NYC-based, globally loved, active fashion brand built on the sole purpose of giving back.
The brand is one of the most sought-after names in the athleisure market.
Because their community is built on supporting each other no matter what, one day at a time.
They have created a strong network that welcomes everyone to the table. Sorry, Regina George, you can sit with us!
Authentic to its story, Phat Buddha is for every woman, regardless of her shape or size.
As women, our bodies are constantly changing based on stress, post/pre-pregnancy, sleeping, exercising, etc.
The brand has created seamless fabrication that molds to the body. It’s all about feeling good from the inside out.
Direct to consumer, retailers, collaborations and high-profile influencers and celebrities are all Phat Buddha loyalists.
The brand has graced the pages of fashion and fitness world’s most established press NYTimes, Vogue, Forbes, Elle, Shape to name a few.
Public figures like Madonna, Kim Kardashian, Tracy Anderson, Batsheva Haart, Melissa Wood, Amanda Kloots, and Sydney Sadick, have all showed love and support for Phat Buddha.
View this post on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
Retailers including ShopBop, Rumble, Solid Core, Stitch Fix, Bandier, Boca Resort, Ritz Carlton, Saks, and Carbon38, are committed to selling Phat Buddha products.
What’s their secret?
Keep reading for Alissa’s inspiring journey and her daily tips to navigate this crazy journey we call life.
I am not an expert and do not claim to be, but I have been through a lot in my young life. Everyone goes through challenges. It is not what you have been through but rather how you face it and overcome it. How you tell your story is so important. It informs how other people are going to persevere through their own challenges.
So here it goes! The unfiltered version of my journey; how I started, what I went through, and what I do now in order to get through life on a daily basis.
Born and raised in Manhattan, a city kid from a family of hard-working, warm, compassionate, giving entrepreneurs, my mind was set on success and nothing less than that.
My parents have always been supportive of me, no matter what I set my mind to. They wanted me to prioritize my happiness and job fulfillment prior to monetary success. If you were truly happy with your job, you would never “work” a day in your life.
Instilled with values, education, and support I was set up for success. I pushed myself, often harder than necessary, because I wanted to create something to be proud of.
I also wanted to show the world that I can stand on my own two feet. I cut coupons, worked summer jobs, and had unlimited internships all while attending full-time school.
I interned at WWD, a very “Devil Wears Prada” job for Joe Zee and Patrick McMullan, and at NFL Today.
I graduated Ramaz High School at 16 and Stern School of Business at 19. I started working in the real estate advertising field.
One of my important goals was to create longstanding business relationships.
For me, this was the key to my success as relationships are priceless. It is not about “closing the deal, making the dollar, sending the DM, and tagging the post,” but rather trust and authenticity.
My clients often told me that one day I would be able to give back what was so freely given to me. I would be a mentor of the future.
The NYC nightlights got to me, or maybe I got to it. At 21, I needed to stop, press pause. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through.
My life looked like a dream on the outside; successful young cutting-edge club kid, entrepreneur, frequent at Pangea and Bungalow 8 with a 6:30 wake-up call.
But I was empty, broken on the inside. I did not like what I saw in the mirror. I grew up too fast, pushed myself too hard. I learned later that nothing shiny on the outside could fill that void inside.
I kept thinking to myself, if I take this time to get better, slam on the breaks, what would happen to my goals? Would I fail? Would I be behind on my self-imposed schedule?
I had to. I had no choice.
In the warmth of sunny Florida, I found the yoga community. I walked into my first yoga studio and was immediately greeted with love and reassurance. During my first class, my teacher told me to “look in the mirror, and see myself as others see me.”
Gradually, I learned how to build self-image, body positively, self-esteem, and to be grateful for what I had.
It was there that I decided to create my company, Phat Buddha.
The purpose of developing this brand was for myself and others to “get out of our own way!”
Over 18K followers later, and a fanbase of some of the most influential names in the world, you’re probably thinking to yourself “she’s made it.”
But don’t let famous names, influencer posts, or magazine covers fool you.
It is all hard work and constant perseverance. Blood, sweat, tears, lack of sleep, anxiety, prayer, meditation, workouts, and wellness while organically growing a brand.
The most important thing for you to know is that in order to persevere you must give back! You must share your experience and give back to those who have given to you.
I am grateful for every obstacle, every challenge, and all of the ups and downs. I learned from them in and in the end, these challenges have made me a better person and businesswoman.
I am truly grateful for where I am today and appreciate everyone around me who helped me along my way.
Remember, it is a daily reprieve.
So here are some tips on how I “get through it” on a daily basis:
1. Reach out to someone that needs your help professionally or personally, and ask how they are doing. Be quiet and listen.
2. Surround yourself with mentors, in and out of your business, that can catch you when you fall and give you the motivation to keep going.
3. Put your sneakers on, roll your mat out, show up even if you don't want to. The hardest part is showing up, the rest will take care of itself.
4. Take a day off every week. On Friday night and Saturday, I shut my computer down completely. When I started to make this commitment to myself, it was one of the hardest things because I overwork myself. This has given me the opportunity to just be.
5. Meditation. It does not have to be perfect. You don't have to be sitting in the perfect position, in the most aesthetically pleasing studio with scented oils and candles. You can literally lay (in any position) or sit and CHILL, listen to music. Shut it down!
6. Progress, not perfection. I am a perfectionist so this one is extremely challenging for me. Give it your best!
7. Pick up a hobby that inspires you. Mine is music. I attend the Manhattan School of Music and sing professionally while developing projects for Virtual Broadway.
8. Drop the phone! It’s so important to disconnect.
9. Spend time with your family; smile, talk and remember how it is to be innocent. It’s all about the simple things in life.
10. Give back to those who need it, small or large, time or money. The main mission of Phat Buddha was born out of giving back to the community. The Jed Foundation, Feeding America, and mentoring young entrepreneurs are just a few ways in which Phat Buddha gives back. You can do this, too!
11. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.
12. Push yourself to socialize. After a long day, this can be challenging. Get up, take a shower, put your hair together, throw on some lipstick and a stylish ensemble, leave the house, and have fun. It will change your vibrations.
13. Be observant of what you tell yourself and how you speak to yourself in the mirror. I used to beat myself up every day about how I looked and felt. It is a daily routine to self-motivate. Words are very powerful.
14. Go on a date, flirt, SMILE.
15. Know you cannot rule the world in one day. I am still working on this one!
Currently, our brand has developed an amazing Summer Collection denoting our favorite summer spots in the Hamptons as we trickle back into the city that never sleeps.
We have opened our first Pop Up Store at 55 Water Street in Dumbo which has been a huge success.
This Fall/Winter we have New Major Collaborations with the purpose of giving back.
So what’s next for the little brand that could?
You’ll just have to wait and see.
We’re taking over the active fashion space one moment at a time, and we’re inviting you on our journey.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
Photography by: Sourced from Phat Buddha