Interview with Meredith Garcia, Co-Founder of TheFashionList.com.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
TheFashionList.com is a service that offers a dynamic interface between the fashion & beauty professional and the seemingly endless calendar of events within our industry. We act as the scheduling and calendar mechanism for domestic and international events.
When and where did you start the business?
April 2008 in New York, NY.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
This is my first business. Prior to this I acted as PR/Marketing Director to my current partner, CFDA fashion designer R. Scott French.
How did you come up with your business idea?
Having worked in the trenches of New York fashion on countless events, my partner and I were tired of dealing with the decades-old broken scheduling mechanism that was in place and knew there was an easier, more efficient way. Armed with technology, we set out to bring the world of fashion scheduling to a new era of user-controlled ease.
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
Take a chance. Many times you may find yourself the only female in the room. You have to be able to balance your presentation. On the one hand, speak up and don't let yourself be overshadowed by your male counterparts or appear timid. On the other hand, don't try to over compensate by appearing abrasive or a rambler. You should listen to what others have to say, as others' ideas and opinions will help you to learn and provide a better understanding to what they are thinking.
Green business is all the rage right now. Has it really been practical for you as an entrepreneur to incorporate green business practices?
Yes, for a number of reasons. Since we are all online, we give our members the opportunity to print only what they choose to print, which was not an option prior to our service. In addition, around the office as a whole we are very cognizant of a "green" lifestyle; for example, last year we only printed one ream worth of paper. But we do make sure not to pride ourselves too much as a "green" business as this is not our main focus, but rather our social awareness.
With the current economy in a slump, what cost saving tips would you have for a new entrepreneur?
When we first started the company a few years ago, I read a book by Mike Michalowicz called The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and thought so highly of it I encouraged my business partner Scott to read it as well; from that point forward we lived by its message. The book taught us that even though we may be "at the end of our roll", an entrepreneur will always find an option, or a "square" if you will.
With this mentality, we have vowed to always seek out and do research to the best and economical alternatives to any of our product needs. For example- we are proud to boost about the free services we have found online like www.freeconferencecall.com, www.tubemogul.com, Google Calendar, and www.quantcast.com.
Finding employees to work in a new and growing business can be a challenge. How did you find your employees?
Our employees came from students who believed in us and took a chance with an interesting, fashionable and tech-savvy company that would give them a learning experience by throwing them into the trenches of NY Fashion. For us it was easy to gain employees - people who work with us, believe in us and what we are doing.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Technology always costs more and takes more involvement than originally estimated. We are a technology-enhanced business in our given industry and this has been the hardest obstacle as we are not technology experts. From the ground up, it would have been easier to sign on an equity partner that is an expert in this field.
What a great idea to bring technology to the fashion industry. Thanks for speaking with me, Meredith.