Archive for Fashion

BANGS

bangsDid you know there’s a hip shoe on the market that is all about supporting entrepreneurs!?

After graduating from Clemson with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Mandarin, Hannah Davis flew to China to teach English to schoolchildren. During her time there, she was inspired by a fellow teacher whose zesty fashion sense often featured an overlooked fashion staple; she loved sporting simple canvas Chinese work shoes.

Hannah knew she’d like to introduce a similar sneaker to the US market. The name BANGS, which is the Mandarin word for help, embodies the mission of this unique social enterprise which aspires to empower and pour into the entrepreneurs- the world changers of tomorrow.

Today, BANGS turns out several colors and styles of shoes, each of which give 20% of profits in the form of loans to entrepreneurs. New entrepreneurs are being selected every month and to date, BANGS has funded 226 entrepreneurs in 49 countries.

Wear good. Support today’s dreamers, and tomorrow’s business-people. Shop BANGS. bangs-cover

Actress Turned Entrepreneur

lauren-conrad-1Lauren Conrad is a well-known actress and reality-TV show star however most people do not know that she has become a successful young entrepreneur, owning two clothing lines as well as a book franchise and two websites. She used her fame and publicity to help launch her first clothing line and demonstrate that she wasn’t just the next star to create a business on a whim, instead she was committed and passionate about where she wanted her business to go. In 2007, she launched her first clothing line, The Lauren Conrad Collection. Although it ended up being a dismal failure, she learned and grew through her mistakes and launched a second, successful clothing line in 2009, LC by Lauren Conrad, in conjunction with the retailer Kohls. Since then, she has launched another clothing company, Paper Crown, written eight books, and started two websites.

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In 2013, Lauren and her friend Hannah Skvarla were inspired to start a non-profit named the Little Market. It is a company that empowers women artisans and provides a market for their products to be sold in order to provide for their families. Today, The Little Market partners with 26 artisans in 16 countries to carry their products and they hope to grow that number even more.

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Lauren has found much success with her products and websites, however she is not stopping there. She said stated that she no interest in returning to television, instead she wants to continue on with her businesses and keep doing what she loves. Lauren Conrad is a millennial entrepreneur who gives a wonderful example of using fame and success to get where she wanted to be, entrepreneurial, and then taking her success from there and giving back to others with dreams just like hers.

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Her personal website: https://laurenconrad.com/

The Little Market website: https://www.thelittlemarket.com/

 

Better Life Bags

What started as a personal craft project grew to an Etsy store, to a Pinterest phenomenon, and then to a full-scale business- helping people all along the way.

Rebecca Smith made herself a diaper bag, posting the images on Facebook; she was very unaware of what an impact those images going public would have. She received many compliments suggesting and inspiring her to start an Etsy shop selling these bags. The shop is called Better Life Bags, in reference to 10% of profits being donated to people in third world countries helping them start their own businesses. The bags, in addition to being practical and cute, allow the customer to pick from a wide variety of fabrics and leathers letting one totally customize the accessory.

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BLB allows you to chooses the leather and fabric colors to create a bag perfectly matching your style. [via]

When a well-known blogger, and then her  many followers, saw the brilliance of this customization and pinned one of her bags, orders flooded in. The number of orders far exceeded what Rachel’s one-woman operation could fill.  Faced with the decision to either quit the business or expand, she rejected the idea of moving production overseas reaching out instead to women in her neighborhood. Smith lives in a neighborhood swirling with diversity and filled with women who have “various barriers to employment,” whether they be cultural or religious. A neighbor from Yemen, Nadia, who is unable to leave her home to work, became Rachel’s first employee. As the business has grown, Rachel has been able to hire many other local women allowing them to provide simple necessities like food and furniture for their families.

These charming bags with cute, customizable colors & choice craftsmanship really live up to their name. Not only will they make your life better, they help Rachel Smith employee those in her community with barriers to employment.

Polyvore

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We’ve had the opportunity to learn a little about Google several times in class. This pioneering and world-changing company has a knack for curating an army of visionaries, creators, innovators, and encouraging their employees in risk and creativity. Jess Lee, a millennial entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of P O L Y V O R E, recalls that the greatest advice she was ever received came from her mentors at Google while working there as a product manager out of college.

Lee studied engineering at Stanford. She laughs about coming from an oriental family, where she was only ever encouraged to become a doctor, engineer, or something else of high esteem and considerable salary. But she went out on a limb and accepted a position with Google, determined to challenge herself.

While working at Google, Lee fell in love with Polyvore. And as an innovator, when she fell in love, that meant she incessantly shot emails to the then CEO, Pasha Sadri, with suggestions for improvements. Sadri replied offered a challenge: “Why don’t you come here and fix this stuff yourself? We should talk.”

Lee accepted.

Ever since childhood, Lee remembers wanting to do something creative, like writing. Polyvore was enchanting to Lee for the same reason it is to thousands of other people: it’s a creative platform and community of shared fashion ideas that enables fashion visionaries of all ages to graphically assemble outfits online by digitally collecting snaps of clothing items from their favorite sites. Whether you come from a small town, or work as the editor of VOGUE, Polyvore gives you the opportunity to create, combine, influence fashion in the minds of people all over the world, and gain a following.

In true entrepreneurial spirit, and with no business school history, Lee took on a company she didn’t even think would be profitable at first. She held tightly to a lesson she’d learned at Google and has served her well: “Build something users will love and money will come later.”

Meghan Markle, Global Citizen

Many people might have heard of Meghan Markle from her role as Rachel Zane in Suits, or for more recently being known as Prince Harry’s new girlfriend. That description alone might lead you to form assumptions about her character – Hollywood glam, famous celebrity, future royalty, etc., etc. However, Meghan is also a passionate political activist and entrepreneur. She is the founder of fashion/self-empowerment site The Tig. Her site features her own clothing line, articles on travel, food, fashion, and fitness as well as interviews with powerful women and blogs on issues like civil rights and empowerment. “I knew that girls were checking the site to see fashion tips or how to get a stellar blow dry,” Meghan writes about The Tig, “but in reframing the beauty content to include think pieces about self-empowerment, or feature dynamic women such as Fatima Bhutto, I was hoping to integrate social consciousness and subjects of higher value than, let’s say…selfies. A subtle means to pepper in what really matters.”

Meghan Markle, courtesy of The Tig

Meghan Markle, courtesy of The Tig

In addition to running a successful brand website, Meghan is also a global ambassador for World Vision as well as an advocate for UN Women. She writes frequently about the struggle of balancing her two worlds – the stark contrast between her glamourous celebrity lifestyle of excess and her humanitarian work with those who have nothing. She writes, “With fame comes opportunity, but in my opinion, it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings, and if I’m lucky enough – then to inspire.” Meghan Markle is truly an inspiration – for entrepreneurs, women, anybody. She has shown how you can successfully take a luxurious life and use it to bless others through an entrepreneurial spirit.

Snap Caps – Maddie Bradshaw

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Maddie Bradshaw was worth her first million at only 13 years old.  At 16, she was selling over 60,000 of her unique necklaces a month and making over $1.6 million annually.

Her idea for these unique, interchangeable, bottle cap necklaces started out as simple school locker decorations.  At 10 years old her uncle had given her 50 old bottle caps.  She decorated them, attached magnets to them, and when her friends saw them they all wanted some.  This inspired Maddie to create different designs with bottle caps.

She created Snap Caps.  Snap Caps are necklaces with metal pendants on them to attract and magnetize bottle caps.  Every bottle cap has some kind of symbol, letter, or design so that a person can swap different caps out depending on the style they want to wear for the day.

Maddie found immediate success with her necklaces.  In nearly every store she launched them in they all sold out.  As her business continued to grow and she made her first million at 13, she attracted the attention of the national media and ended up being interviewed on ABC and was able to pitch her project on Shark Tank.  The Sharks loved her idea so much that THREE of them invested into her company!

Currently 19 years old, Maddie continues to grow and expand her business.  She has said, “The great thing about our company is that it’s growing with me.  As my tastes change, so will the products.”  Maddie has also published a book called You Can Start a Business, Too.  Her advise to other young entrepreneurs like her is to, “Follow your passion. If you come up with an idea and you love it, chances are other people will, too.”

Pit It! Pinterest.

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There is an online platform that many individuals, particularly millennials, enjoy. Well, often it’s a procrastination mechanism, at least it is for me. Pinterest allows you to save links to various sites including (but not limited to) retail sites and blogs. “Pins”, as they are called, are categorized and browse-able. With one simple click on the image, your computer, tablet or smartphone immediately links to the site from which the picture was pinned. This allows a user to collect and share others ideas, styles, thoughts, quotes, travels and just about anything you could think to take a snap shot of. I have certainly found myself spending a lot of time on this virtual creativity board.

Ben Silberman, born in 1982, co-founded the virtual pin-board known as Pinterest. Silberman is an internet entrepreneur and acts as the CEO of Pinterest. Silberman is quite the accomplished man. He participated in a prestigious high school research program at MIT, and he later graduated from Yale with his undergraduate degree. Silberman worked at Google in the online advertising group, until he started creating his own apps. Silberman said he thought of Pinterest because he has always liked to collect things. Now, with Pinterest, we can all collect ideas!

Kiel James Patrick

Kiel James Patrick did not grow up in a wealthy family, nor did he go to college. He decided to use his passion for design and American-made products to create his own bracelet brand with his wife. They began making preppy bracelets with a nautical theme, and now their business has expanded to hats and clothing. However, they only make a few clothing products to maintain the quality of their product.

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KJP has used social media to turn his life into a brand. They only advertise on social media, and they do a great job of getting their brand seen. Mr. Patrick’s wife, Sarah, also promotes their brand through her blog, Classy Girls Wear Pearls. Their brand embodies a classic lifestyle, and their good quality products meet expectations set by their social media.

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These entrepreneurs also appreciate creativity, which is one reason why their brand is so successful. Their factory–located in New England–is decorated with vintage furniture, oriental rugs, and classic artwork. The factory also has a hammock where workers can nap throughout the day. These details all add to the integrity of their brand.

Inside voices? No, Outside Voices

Usually a great idea starts small. When you think of  the word “small” one of the things that comes to mind is childhood. Millennial Entrepreneur Tyler Haney reminds us all of our mother’s words to use “inside voices” in her clever, hip, and trendy line Outdoor Voices. Her clever company is based off the idea that fitness should be freed from the competitive world and thus make exercise a lifestyle. With that key idea in mind she has come up with a spunky and trendy line of great athleisure and athletic wear. All of her designs are simplistic and sleep thus giving the consumer the freedom to mix and match from any of her selections. What’s so incredible about Haney and her business though is how she brought Outdoor Voices into the highly competitive market of athletic wear. She started the idea at the Parsons School of Design, continued on to the Silicon Valley, and after pitching some 70 times landed a $7 million deal to start the business. However, it wasn’t the money that made Outdoor Voices successful, it was Haney’s ambition and smart marketing tactics that truly made her sight stand out. She implemented the idea of using celebrity fans and icons such as Lenah Dunham and Gwyneth Paltrow to help expand the knowledge and desire of her specific brand. Haney’s business is now a big and booming enterprise with a future as bright as the sun.

Something Fishy

When Madison Robinson was 8 years old, she was an avid drawer of aquatic characters. She brought a picture to her father of the outline of a flip-flop with her sea animals inside of it, announcing “Look Dad, Fish-Flops!” Seeing potential in his daughter’s idea, Madison’s father went out and bought the fishflops.com domain that very day.

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Now 17 in high school, Madison maintains the delicate balance of a normal high school girl, and working as a fashion designer most famously known for Fish Flops. In 2012, she wrote a letter to a top Nordstrom buyer suggesting they sell her Fish Flops in-store, and they accepted with 64 stores offering Fish Flops by July 2012. The next year her product was featured in a front page article on Yahoo, and the flood of buyers began – starting with every Fish Flop in Nordstrom selling out.

Madison has been featured on shows such as The Willis Report, Fox and Friends, and Inside Edition, as well as multiple publications including Forbes. With her huge success, Image result for FISH FLOPSMadison has become a philanthropist as well as an entreprenur. A portion of every sale goes to the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s campaign, SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction). She has also donated over 20,000 Fish Flops to several charities that help people around the world who have little access to footwear.

Madison has expanded her Fish Flops line to include shoes and slippers, as well as regular T-shirts advocating for the SAFE campaign. Despite already being a millionaire, instead of kicking back and relaxing Madison constantly seeks to improve herself and help others. She frequently speaks at Jr. Achievement events, and spreads the positive message of pursuing your dreams with a “never quit attitude.” Madison is making her mark on the fashion world, with a driven and determined attitude presented with a smile.