Archive for Fashion

TaliaAnn – Clothing with a Cause

She’s only 18 years old, but her age has not stopped her from making a difference.

Talia has a goal – she wants to see an end human trafficking. And she’s already taking the steps she can to make that goal a reality. Talia runs an online clothing company, TaliaAnn (named after herself), where she sells high-quality, high-end clothes including dresses, outerwear, and tops. Her website is flooded with content that clearly portrays her brand and explains to viewers why she does what she does. It also shows specials, advertises her traveling team, and allows customers to connect with her.

Clothing isn’t a new thing. Talia didn’t invent sweatshirts, or tank tops with elephants. But she did something new by combining her style and yearning to set people free from slavery. Based on the success of her business, she has also provided value to customers by allowing them to integrate their love for clothing and heart for freedom as well. She has allowed everyday students, parents, and workers to play a small role in ending human trafficking just by doing something they already regularly d0 – buy clothes.

I talked with Talia on the phone just last week, and learned a lot about her heart and business. Only 18, she spends her time running this business, instead of spending money on herself to attend college. Talia’s end goal is this: to start a company where she can hire women who have been rescued from trafficking, giving them a secure job. In doing this, women will have a steady income and won’t have to go back into trafficking. TaliaAnn is just the first step in this larger end goal.

TaliaAnn is a great example of a company with a social mission. Entrepreneurs don’t have to invent something to be successful – they may just combine a mission with a simple consumer good, and make it available to as many people as possible.

Maya’s Ideas

Maya Penn is an entrepreneur, coder, philanthropist, designer, animator, writer, and illustrator. She was just 8 years old when she started her first company. Penn got interested in eco-friendly alternatives when her dad taught her about solar energy. She then discovered how harmful chemical dyes were to the environment and sought to combine that into a business idea. Penn out started by making ribbon headbands out of unused fabric around her house. The businesses started out with a $200 budget and grew from the profits received from there on out. Penn was taught how to sew from her mother. Her father was an entrepreneur and taught Penn about business and computers. At an early age Penn learned how to take apart a computer and even coded basic HTML at age 10. She now codes her own website. Her current online store is called Maya’s Ideas where she sells handcrafted clothes and accessories that are eco-friendly. The fabrics are organic or recycled. In 2013, Penn brought in $55,000 in sales and gave 10% to local charities. Penn always gives back to charities because her parents taught her to share with the less fortunate. Maya’s Ideas 4 the Planet is her nonprofit and Penn volunteers locally to this day. In addition, Penn creates also creates videos that she animates, writes, and produces about the environment. She has also created two children’s books and has a novel on advice to young entrepreneurs. Penn advises to start an idea journal. She also said to “….believe in yourself and what you’re doing. Don’t get discouraged if things are going slower than you expected. And don’t give up too quickly.”


Designer Daddy

Nephi Garcia, born in the 80s, has a beautiful family with three kids and lives in California as a fashion designer. His specialty is princess costumes, along with others that come out of movies. These costumes are elaborate and are made of high quality materials. That’s not the only point of differentiation, though. Some of the dresses that Garcia makes “transform”. These dresses transform from “peasant to princess!” Not only does he make costumes for his daughter, but also for his sons and wife. Along with the transforming princess dresses, Garcia designs and sells adult costumes that start at $1800, compared to a starting price of $600 for children’s costumes. He spends anywhere from 12 to 48 hours making an adult dress and 4 to 6 on a child’s costume. Nephi Garcia, through his business, Designer Daddy, delivers a unique product that isn’t found anywhere else.

Radiate Athletic Apparel

Radiate Athletic Apparel is a new twist on what you can wear to the gym. These shirts aren’t just for covering up, they provide a new way of seeing how much your workout is making you work. They are made with atoms that gain carbon electrons when valence electrons are accelerated by heat that comes off of your body during a workout. This causes the colors in the shirts to change colors when more heat is emitted from your body.

These shirts don’t just change colors to look nice, but they can help with recognizing what works during your workout. It doesn’t change based on sweat, but rather the heat in spots so you know that the area that changes color is the area being worked. This way you can know if an area is being neglected during your workouts by whether or not it changes colors. This is especially useful for body builders or anyone who is trying to increase a specific part of their body.

Not only does this shirt tell you where your body is heating up, but it also helps to keep your body cool by directing the heat and sweat away from your body. They use small channels between the fabric to help with the flow of excess heat and water away from your body to ensure a comfortable workout. The fabric they have created feels similar to spandex in the sense that it sticks tight to the body, however they have made this material much tougher so it can last through most extreme sports.

Radiate Athletics apparel

Alley Cat Designs

Jewelry for the Purrr-fect Touch

When Alyssa was a little girl, she always looked forward to the special times when her grandmother would visit, bringing with her a bag stuffed full of art and craft supplies. Alyssa was creative by nature, so it never mattered much to her what was in the bag – it was all about the joy and excitement of creating something new, something beautiful, something that hadn’t been there before.

It was during one of these afternoons with her Grandmother that Alyssa first discovered her love for jewelry making.  On that particular afternoon, the craft bag was full of beads, string and jewelry wire, and as the two sat making Christmas presents for her mother, a new passion was born.

From that day forward, Alyssa wanted to do more than just make beautiful new things. She wanted to make things that made other people feel beautiful. Alyssa had always found joy helping other people feel as beautiful as they always were in her eyes, and with her grandmother’s beads in her hands, she realized that she now had the tools to do just that: make things that could help women see just how beautiful they really were. And she was right – ever since clasping that first bracelet of plastic beads around her mother’s wrist, Alyssa has been designing the type of jewelry that makes the wearer feel beautiful and which reminds everyone that it is the bird that makes the feathers.

Today, Alyssa is fresh out of Cornell University with degrees in Business and Sociology and is working to launch her jewelry company, Ally Cat Designs . What began as the passion project of a little girl in love with all things beautiful has grown into a business which has inspired and empowered women all across the globe. Alyssa spends as much time traveling as she possibly can, drawing inspiration from women around the world. Along the way, she supports local artisans by collecting materials to incorporate into her jewelry, all of which is utterly unique and designed around the women who inspire her.

Alyssa prides herself on not being limited to one style or aesthetic; instead, she has something for everyone: from classic to edgy, minimalistic to romantic, each piece is handmade and one-of-a-kind, made to reflect the individual beauty of every customer. Her designs also reflect her commitment to sustainability and accessibility. Fast fashion this is not! Each of her piece features timeless style and is made to last.  But rather than using rare metals which are expensive and easily broken, Alyssa carefully selects materials which are more widely available and which stand the test of time. Great thought is put into each and every element of the design process so that each piece tells a story.

Alyssa likes to keep things personal; for her, it’s all about relationships. She is dedicated to her clients and designs with them in mind. Her favorite method of sales is house shows: by bringing clients together in an intimate environment, she gets to meet and be inspired by the women she serves. She mingles among her clients, getting to know them and helping them find that perfect piece. And if you come back to a second show, she is likely to pull you aside to show you something special she designed with you especially in mind!

As her business has grown, she has also adapted her model to meet the needs of a wider audience and has launched a website to make her work more widely available. But even with her expanding platform, Alyssa has sacrificed neither style nor substance. She still makes each piece by hand and each is one of a kind!

Down the road, Alyssa hopes to use her business as a platform from which to support other artists and to promote ethically sourced fashion. She is also passionate about social and economic development in impoverished nations. Having traveled extensively in both South Asia and Africa, Alyssa is committed to building supportive relationships with artists across the globe and using her work to empower and give back to women both at home and abroad.

It has been my great privilege to watch my dear friend Alyssa build and expand her business over the years, and I am so excited to share her story with you. Her’s is truly a project driven by a selfless passion to serve the women of the world, and the more her business grows, the more lives she touches. She doesn’t create jewelry for women to hide their insecurities behind; instead, she creates pieces that tell a story and celebrate the unique beauty of every woman.

Mo’s Bows: Youngest Entrepreneur on Shark Tank

Moziah Bridges: Mo’s Bows

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“I’m living proof that you can be anything you want – at any age”, said Moziah Bridges, the youngest entrepreneur to ever appear on “Shark Tank” and the President and Creative Director of Mo’s Bows. 

Moziah Bridges was just 13 years old when he appeared on the well known TV show, “Shark Tank” and became the youngest entrepreneur to do so. Moziah created this company in his grandmother’s kitchen table located in South Memphis, when he came to the conclusion that there just weren’t enough bow ties in the world to match is outgoing personality and style. He was dissatisfied with the lack of the selection of bow ties for kids his age. To solve this problem, he decided to make his own handmade bow ties, and thus started the internationally recognized Mo’s Bows company.

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Mo’s Bows mission is to make you look and feel your best while catering to the sometimes conservative, fun-loving lady or gentleman.” Moziah has truly lived up to the mission of his company. Not only is he an inspiration for aspiring young entrepreneurs, but he is also a living example of what a dream and some hard work can get you. In three years Moziah created a $150,000 business that has quite the following and he is not done yet. Moziah has “donated $1,600 to send 10 children from his hometown of Memphis to Glenview Summer Camp”. He hopes to go to college for fashion and start a full clothing line by the time he is 20.


If this kid can do it all while still getting to bed at 8:30 every night, why shouldn’t we? Let Moziah’s creativity and drive inspire you to follow your entrepreneurial dreams.


The Success of Tipsy Elves




In 2011, Tipsy Elves was founded by Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton. It started as a seasonal business for goofy and ugly Christmas Sweaters. In the first year of business they had $370,000 in website sales and the next year proceeded to reach almost $1 million in sales. With a booming business and bright plans for the future the two young founders took their idea to Shark Tank in 2013 where they received an investment from Robert Herjavec for 10% of their company. It has since become the most profitable investment that Robert has made in his history on Shark Tank. In 2014, their revenue was close to $12 million. The success of this funky company is mostly on their Christmas season sales of the ugly Christmas sweaters, however they have also introduced Halloween wear, beach wear, and ski wear.

A strange idea for a business turned into a multi-million dollar one because Evan and Nick found a demand for ugly Christmas sweaters that no one else saw. If they can stay focused on the Christmas sweaters and not overt a lot of energy on the other less important products they feature, they will continue to grow until Tipsy Elves is at every Christmas party in the world.


One of the Most Popular Products

Jessica Lee, Young Entrepreneur of Cerise Tea

Not only is Cerise Tea an amazing non-profit, fashion organization launched by a young entrepreneur, the name is fantastic as well. You may be wondering what even is “cerise.” Cerise is French for “cherry.” Now go back and take a look at the first picture on top of this post. And keep reading it (aloud) until you get it.

Jessica Lee, the founder of Cerise Tea, has many notable achievements as a current college student. Launching the company in 2014 as a high schooler, she has seen immense growth and excitement surrounding her start-up, non-profit organization. Cerise Tea sells clothes online geared towards teenage girls, which then donates its profits to the American Cancer Society. Realizing her love of fashion and her desire to give to those in need, Lee combined her two loves to be the driving passions behind a flourishing business. Cerise Tea’s mission to help others; the simple but trendy clothes; and the cheap prices amassed together were ultimately the factors in the success of the business.

While not much is known about Jessica Lee, her online resume lists that she attended high school from the years 2013-2017, and she first enrolled in college in 2017. Her resume doesn’t say it explicitly, but readers can inference that Lee is merely a college freshman.


college freshman who owns a company…which has raised over $450K in sales.

Lee is truly an inspiring figure who not only developed a business derived from her passions, but also continuously works hard to learn more and more. She is presently studying business economics, and though her company keeps her busy, she has also been an intern, an ambassador/leader for various organizations, and created and pitched to Venture Capitalists at UPenn.


The Rent the Runway Revolution: How Two Women Changed the Fashion Industry for Good

In 2009, two young women attending Harvard Business School met for their weekly coffee and business brainstorming session. Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss both knew they wanted to start a business together, but for many months they brainstormed ideas which never seemed to stick. However, on this particular afternoon, Jennifer Hyman mentioned to Fleiss that her sister would be attending a wedding next weekend, but had nothing to wear. She voiced the frustration shared by women across America, that it is difficult to justify spending hundreds of dollars on a dress you only wear a few times. As she said this, she came up with a business idea which would solve this problem and revolutionize the market of high end women’s fashion.

Jenny Fleiss (left) and Jennifer Hyman (right)

Hyman and Fleiss conceptualized a business model where they would partner with different well-known, high-end designers from around the world and rent these designer dresses out to women for a few days for a fraction of the cost of buying one of these dresses. These two young women started out by buying dresses in their own sizes and going around to different college campuses on the weekends of big events and putting up flyers and sending out emails announcing that the female students could rent these designer dresses for a reduced price and simply return them after the event. With each campus these two went to, their business model proved very popular, and with each event, they continued to refine and adjust their model until they landed on the current business model of Rent the Runway. Since 2009, Rent the Runway has grown from a few designer dresses advertised through flyers on college campuses into a $15 million corporation with an extremely user friendly app and a variety of supplementary services.

One things which makes Hyman and Fleiss stand out as unique in the world of innovation and entrepreneurship is their approach to founding a startup. While many young entrepreneurs look for a problem in their field of study or expertise which they can construct a solution for, Hyman and Fleiss started with a problem they simply observed, despite their lack of knowledge in the fields of fashion or technology.  However, by recording customer reactions to their product and collecting customer testimonials, these young women were able to get the designers on board and soon had enough funding to hire people with expertise in analytics, technology, fashion, and customer relations in order to create the best business possible.

Even eight years removed from its founding, Rent the Runway is an incredible company to watch innovate and expand. Because of the founders’ passion for giving women the opportunity to have that “Cinderella experience” and look elegant, extravagant, confident or professional for an affordable price, the company continues to grow its inventory, expand it market, and offer additional services, such as makeup and jewelry tips depending on the dress or outfit you rent.

Hyman and Fleiss at the opening of their first store

Hyman and Fleiss have also sought to optimize the customer experience by offering free shipping and dry cleaning, along with spending a great deal of time and money on analytics. This has allowed them to find what colors and styles customers prefer, along with how long customers like rentals to last so that they can give the customer the best, most convenient experience possible. Rent the Runway is constantly offering new features, different dresses, and featuring a variety of both well-known and new designers, which keeps their business in a constant state of growth and expansion.

Hyman and Fleiss are truly inspiring to all young women looking to be entrepreneurs. They actively thought about problems, and rather than waiting for funds or investors to back their idea, they eagerly engaged their clientele, pivoted based on the feedback they received, and then sought out investors and designers with confidence in their product and the data and testimonies to back it up. These two women are constantly pursuing excellence, passionate about their product and their clients, and dedicated to inspiring future women entrepreneurs.



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