Best friends and co-founders of 437, Hyla Nayeri and Adrien Bettio started their swimwear line right out of University. In a few short years, they were able to take their small Toronto-based business global harnessing the power of social media, e-commerce, and entrepreneurship. At 25, they made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2020, a huge accolade that speaks volumes to their business savvy talents. Their success came with its challenges and they know firsthand the grit, determination, and hard work it takes to start a business with no financial backing.

437 has created a community of like-minded women that support each other, and both Hyla and Adrien are champions of female entrepreneurship. Their experience and knowledge are invaluable for anyone looking to forge their own path in this fast-paced world of business. We caught up with the Toronto natives and chatted about the early days of 437, the necessary skills for entrepreneurship, and the advice they would give their younger selves. Read the full interview below.

Best friends and co-founders of 437, Hyla Nayeri and Adrien Bettio started their swimwear line right out of University. In a few short years, they were able to take their small Toronto-based business global harnessing the power of social media, e-commerce, and entrepreneurship. At 25, they made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2020, a huge accolade that speaks volumes to their business savvy talents. Their success came with its challenges and they know firsthand the grit, determination, and hard work it takes to start a business with no financial backing.

437 has created a community of like-minded women that support each other, and both Hyla and Adrien are champions of female entrepreneurship. Their experience and knowledge are invaluable for anyone looking to forge their own path in this fast-paced world of business. We caught up with the Toronto natives and chatted about the early days of 437, the necessary skills for entrepreneurship, and the advice they would give their younger selves. Read the full interview below.

“We both studied business in school, so being in Forbes had always been a dream for us.”

“We both studied business in school, so being in Forbes had always been a dream for us.”

What are you doing when you feel most passionate?

We feel most passionate when we are working on the vision and strategy of the company. It’s so exciting when we get to sit down and conceptualize future collections, new ideas, and steer the company towards our big goals. More and more we find ourselves focused on what is happening six months to one year from now, rather than being as involved in the day-to-day.

What was the first moment you felt successful in your career?

When Forbes wrote its first article on 437! We both studied business in school, so being in Forbes had always been a dream for us. Seeing the article was surreal, and made us feel so grateful for our team and community, not to mention proud of how hard we worked to get there.

What struggles have you had to overcome to pursue your passions?

When we first started the business, we were hardly making any sales, and it took almost two years for us to get to the point where the company could pay us a modest salary. It was challenging to keep our spirits high and keep putting in the work every single day when we weren’t seeing that work pay off. That being said, this period taught us a lot about resilience and supporting each other to stay motivated, so it was definitely crucial for our learning as business owners.

What are you doing when you feel most passionate?

We feel most passionate when we are working on the vision and strategy of the company. It’s so exciting when we get to sit down and conceptualize future collections, new ideas, and steer the company towards our big goals. More and more we find ourselves focused on what is happening six months to one year from now, rather than being as involved in the day-to-day.

What was the first moment you felt successful in your career?

When Forbes wrote its first article on 437! We both studied business in school, so being in Forbes had always been a dream for us. Seeing the article was surreal, and made us feel so grateful for our team and community, not to mention proud of how hard we worked to get there.

What struggles have you had to overcome to pursue your passions?

When we first started the business, we were hardly making any sales, and it took almost two years for us to get to the point where the company could pay us a modest salary. It was challenging to keep our spirits high and keep putting in the work every single day when we weren’t seeing that work pay off. That being said, this period taught us a lot about resilience and supporting each other to stay motivated, so it was definitely crucial for our learning as business owners.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

Don’t take things so seriously! There’s more to life than getting high marks in school or finding a perfect job. As cliche as it is, you only live once so what’s the point of forgoing amazing experiences and adventures for an A+ versus an A?

Have you had any mentors? How have they helped you on your journey?

We’ve had informal mentors in the past that we’ve looked to for specific parts of our journey (such as finance and accounting). However, we would have loved to have a mentor that better understood our specific field and had gone through the same growing pains as us. Having that resource could have provided invaluable advice on things we were clueless [about] (e.g.,manufacturing and growing a team).

What was the most surprising thing about receiving so much success so fast?

That’s tough because success is so subjective. Each level of success brings its own round of challenges. I think people assume that, once you achieve a certain level of recognition or revenue, it will equate to some form of happiness or job satisfaction. It’s important to define what success really means to you, and pursue that definition of success, rather than chasing a universal idea only to realize that it isn’t what you want. Because the growth of 437 was quite rapid, we only really sat down and properly considered this idea recently, and it’s been great to make future plans with our own ideas of success in mind.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

Don’t take things so seriously! There’s more to life than getting high marks in school or finding a perfect job. As cliche as it is, you only live once so what’s the point of forgoing amazing experiences and adventures for an A+ versus an A?

Have you had any mentors? How have they helped you on your journey?

We’ve had informal mentors in the past that we’ve looked to for specific parts of our journey (such as finance and accounting). However, we would have loved to have a mentor that better understood our specific field and had gone through the same growing pains as us. Having that resource could have provided invaluable advice on things we were clueless [about] (e.g.,manufacturing and growing a team).

What was the most surprising thing about receiving so much success so fast?

That’s tough because success is so subjective. Each level of success brings its own round of challenges. I think people assume that, once you achieve a certain level of recognition or revenue, it will equate to some form of happiness or job satisfaction. It’s important to define what success really means to you, and pursue that definition of success, rather than chasing a universal idea only to realize that it isn’t what you want. Because the growth of 437 was quite rapid, we only really sat down and properly considered this idea recently, and it’s been great to make future plans with our own ideas of success in mind.

“Not every best friend duo will make good business partners, but we got really lucky that our relationship works so well!”

“Not every best friend duo will make good business partners, but we got really lucky that our relationship works so well!”

What entrepreneurial skills were most useful during the early days of starting a business?

Hyla: Being resilient and having the grit to keep pushing forward even when you are not seeing results. This is so important when starting a business.

Adrien: I would say being creative and inventive with what you have is important when you first start a business and the budget is tight. It’s also important to stay motivated and inspired by why you started the business in the first place. This helps you keep a positive attitude and continue to be passionate about your business even when things get challenging.

Tell us about how you found balance as co-founders and best friends.

It’s always an ongoing process to try and balance the relationship as we enter new phases of the business. Like any relationship, we continuously work on our communication, we are always respectful of each other, and we both put the work in to nurture the relationship in order for it to be successful. Not every best friend duo will make good business partners, but we got really lucky that our relationship works so well!

What entrepreneurial skills were most useful during the early days of starting a business?

Hyla: Being resilient and having the grit to keep pushing forward even when you are not seeing results. This is so important when starting a business.

Adrien: I would say being creative and inventive with what you have is important when you first start a business and the budget is tight. It’s also important to stay motivated and inspired by why you started the business in the first place. This helps you keep a positive attitude and continue to be passionate about your business even when things get challenging.

Tell us about how you found balance as co-founders and best friends.

It’s always an ongoing process to try and balance the relationship as we enter new phases of the business. Like any relationship, we continuously work on our communication, we are always respectful of each other, and we both put the work in to nurture the relationship in order for it to be successful. Not every best friend duo will make good business partners, but we got really lucky that our relationship works so well!

Time is so valuable - how do you power your time?

We are both very schedule oriented. We try to organize our calendars so they contain every single thing we need to do in a day. Doing this helps us stay organized, and helps to avoid feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed.

Where do you see yourself in five years? What's next for you?

Our lives have changed so much in the past 5 years that we are not sure where we will be in the next five! We don’t have a specific plan in mind but whatever it is, we’re optimistic that it’s going to be exciting and full of new challenges.

Time is so valuable - how do you power your time?

We are both very schedule oriented. We try to organize our calendars so they contain every single thing we need to do in a day. Doing this helps us stay organized, and helps to avoid feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed.

Where do you see yourself in five years? What's next for you?

Our lives have changed so much in the past 5 years that we are not sure where we will be in the next five! We don’t have a specific plan in mind but whatever it is, we’re optimistic that it’s going to be exciting and full of new challenges.

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