Inspirational Women: Deborah Symond


Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

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Name and role:

Deborah Symond, founder and director of Mode Sportif. 

Tell us about your role, what do you get up to on a day-to-day basis? 

Being the Director of Mode Sportif, means that no two days are alike! I started the business myself in 2013 and now work with an incredible team out of our offices in Surry Hills. I oversea all aspects of the Mode e-commerce business, paying particular attention to business strategy, fashion buying and digital. One day I can be in Paris buying collections from our international designers and the next I can be analyzing traffic, conversions and user experiences online with our digital team. It is fast paced and challenging, which is what I love about it!

When did you realise you wanted to this as a career and begin Mode Sportif

I have always been passionate about fashion and customer service and I knew that I wanted to be in this space. I wanted to build something that would have a positive impact on the industry and our community combining my loves of fashion, digital and service. I worked on the concept for two years prior to our online launch as it was important to me to understand the growing space, map out our operational work flow and partner with the leading international brands.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! I read a lot online about everything from business startups to emerging designers. I talk to people, I love to ask questions and hear their stories, whatever industry or background, I learn something from each person I meet.  Fashion is so visual and visiting different cities is a huge source of inspiration for me.

Who has helped you get started? Did you have a mentor? 

I grew up with two working parents and have them to thank for my work ethic, commitment and drive. They have both been mentors throughout this journey and amazing sounding boards and support systems. Building something is about having a strong team to support and drive the vision, and I am very thankful to work with some of the industries best every day.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started and since then?

Starting my own business has meant different challenges on a daily basis! There will always be bumps in the road, and navigating those challenges and problem solving results in more experience, knowledge, and ultimately growth for the business and the team.

How did you overcome these?

With the combined powers of a strong, passionate and experienced team, along with the support of my family, friends and my partner.

What are your goals for the future?

I want to elevate Mode Sportif to a global level, dressing women for their workouts, downtime and leisure time and building a community around fashion, health and wellness worldwide.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Go for it! Be a ‘do-er’, research and validate your ideas and then bring them life.

To check out Mode Sportif head to