Rita Sheth is a designer, lawyer and entrepreneur. Before launching Mercury Dasha, a future-inspired, urban fashion and design brand, Rita Sheth worked in the corporate world for over ten years after graduating from Oxford University. In that time she started her journey as a fashion entrepreneur with her first fashion venture, a marketplace for indie brands from around the world, before launching her own label.
Mercury Dasha creates phygital fashion and art and its premise is to explore the intersection of science, tech, nature and spirituality through both its collection designs and also in its presentation.
Mercury Dasha offers physical urban luxury streetwear to be worn in real life and also digital fashion to be worn by your digital twin. The brand creates metaverse wearables for virtual worlds such as Decentraland and gaming experiences such as Roblox.
Finally, Mercury Dasha presents fashion as art by creating fashion-art NFTs to be collected by followers of the brand and fashion lovers which showcase digital fashion pieces in a visual arts context.
Rita’s collections have explored themes such as crypto and chemical elements, codes, signatures and waves. As well as playing with crossover between futurism and the natural world, she has also explored identity and the occult. To her, fashion is a vehicle for exploring important issues that go beyond aesthetics and is a way of making art that makes you think.
Rita also writes and speaks about various topics arising out of her life and entrepreneurial journey on her website themanysides.com. Topics she writes about have included personal power, entrepreneurship, productivity and authentic storytelling.
How did you get started in this business?
I had a previous fashion business which was my first entrepreneurial venture. It was promoted by a passion I had always had for creative arts, fashion and design. After having run that for a number of years, I then decided to take a break but it was not long before fashion was calling to me again and I had an idea for a way of exploring it in a new way.
How do you make money?
Selling physical products and digital assets.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
We are still in growing phase so in order to generate profit we will be focusing on building community and product. The space is still quite new and innovative but we think that we will become profitable in the next few years.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Yes of course. No-one knows if a business is going to work. You must, as a founder, believe in your vision and relish experiencing set backs and failures. It is a constant process of analysing what works and what doesn’t and making adjustments so that you are more likely to succeed.
How did you get your first customer?
Through building a community and email list.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Facebook is still a massive social engine and a good way of starting to get traction is through paid ads.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
To decide to invest in the metaverse in a real way. As no-one knows what will happen in this space long term, it is a leap of faith, but we and other actors in Web3 believe in it.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My refusal to give up, my passion and my self-motivation. I think the last one is especially important because as an entrepreneur you have to motivate yourself to do things you don’t always want to do. You must have an ability to drive yourself.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I love creating new products so every time I create a new collection is very satisfying to me. I recently launched a new NFT collection and it gained a lot of traction and was picked up by Vogue which was a real highlight for the brand and myself as a fashion-lover personally.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
To see where this takes me as it is a very cutting edge and new space and there is much to explore and learn. Everyday there is a new development in digital fashion and VR, everyday there are new companies appearing doing amazing things and also new metaverses appearing. In future, I want Mercury Dasha to be part of this shift and also to be creating fashion and art that pushes things forward and inspires.
What business books have inspired you?
The Lean Start Up. The War Of Art. The Artists Way (not a business book but one on how to tap into creativity) The 100 Dollar Start Up
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To follow my passions – no matter where they lead – and not to listen to people that say doing a creative career or business is never going to make money and/or is a waste of time. There is a real bias against creative careers and creatives in general but creativity is where everything starts so they should be respected and counted.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Yes – I do some mentoring and coaching. They can contact me through my website.