Archive for Vintage

Warby Parker: Making Glasses Cheap Again

Warby Parker has reimagined the eyewear industry as the first company to introduce affordable eyewear that can be purchased online. The company offers prescription eyeglasses for a flat $95 and has a number of stylish options. Customers can order a number of different eyeglasses, try them on at home, and return the pairs that they do not want. The idea started with a simple question. Why are glasses not sold online? Founder, Neil Blumenthal asked that question so he recruited three friends and Warby Parker was born. However, the company ran into problems early on. Forty-eight hours after the website had launched, it had to be taken down because they received so many orders. The website did not indicate when a product sold out which led to a 20,000 person wait list. Eventually, they sorted out their website issues and are currently making waves in the industry.

This company peaked my interest because of Warby Parker’s ability to recognized gaps in the marketplace. Currently, Luxottica has a near monopoly in the eyeglasses industry. While Luxottica controls the brick-and-mortar sales, they do not address the online market. Neil Blumenthal saw that gap in the market and was able to capitalize on it. However, the problem he solved wasn’t complicated, it was simple. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.


Bringing Back Classy Swimwear

rey-swimwear-modest-swimming-suits71f9323eb27d9e49f01a3d8d764f067fIt  was a hot summer in Hollywood, and between acting gigs Jessica Ray found herself spending most of her time by the poolside to meet up with friends and escape the blistering heat. After being frustrated by observing how objectified women are in bikinis, Jessica decided to boycott her normal scanty swimsuits for something with more character and coverage.

After surfing the web for hours, Jessica gave up. There weren’t any decently modest swimsuits available on the market that didn’t look like they belonged on a grandmother. Seriously, what’s so hard about making a cute, classic, semi-conservative swimsuit that’s appealing to the younger generation? Jessica was determined, if she couldn’t buy a cute swimsuit- she’d make her own. She had no sewing or design experience, but that’s not a problem for a true entrepreneur!

Jessica isn’t alone. Other people in Hollywood are interested in sporting classier swimwear; there is a healthy demand and Jessica decided to satisfy that want with from a creative and youthful approach.  8 years ago, Jessica Ray swimwear debuted their first swimwear line.

Jessica Rey swimsuits are becoming increasingly popular.  The brand is inspired by the debatably the most iconic woman of all time: Audrey Hepburn. The line strives to uphold the value and dignity of women through their designs. Classy doesn’t have to look frumpy, and Jessica Rey swimwear exists to promote that vision with a vintage vibe.

Warby Parker

When picking a product, I often hear people toss around the words “fashion” and “function” to describe their purchasing priorities. For me, there’s a third category that warrants equal consideration: the fiscal element. Luckily, one brand that has a tremendous impact of my life discovered how to ace every single one of these divisions. Warby Parker literally affects how I see the world. Yes, literally- not figuratively. They are an eyewear brand whose goal is to provide modish, high-quality eyesight for significantly less than other brands and to impact the world positively while doing it. 

The problem that commenced the creation of this company was the outrageously high price of a crucial product: glasses. The co-CEOs discovered this issue when one of them lost his frames while backpacking, and due to the (previously) expensive nature of the product, had to complete his first semester of grad school in the haze bad vision creates [see the rest of the story here]. They identified that one company had a monopoly on the industry and was creating, “artificially high prices” for the public’s only option. Solving this problem, the team now offers designer eyewear at substantially lower prices whilst simultaneously providing eyewear for those in need with every purchase. Their process is a win for the customer, a win for those in need of eyewear, and- through the buzz it’s created- a win for the company.

Although their number of stores is increasing, online is still a large contributor to Warby Parker’s sales. Glasses, which must be looked at in correlation to each individual’s face, are difficult to pick without having them there in front of you. Warby has two ways to workaround this. The first is a virtual try-on system where you upload a photo and and get to see the glasses on you virtually. The second is Warby offers their customers (and even just potential customers) a service where they send five frames to your home to try them on in person. These innovative methods make online glasses shopping possible and a highly-effective alternative if there isn’t a Warby store near you.

Another key elements of their brand is the atmosphere and community they’ve built. Everything about the brand, whether it be their packaging, website, store, or social media feeds portrays a unique blend of hipness and innovation. The are frequently community events, such as button making parties and concert series, hosted in their quaint and quirky storefronts. It’s very obvious Warby Parker thinks that fun should be a part of the glasses buying process, and honestly, the promotion they do of these events makes me want to be best friends with every single one of their employees. And the community! When I see people in Warby frames I can’t asking about them which without fail has always led to a pleasant, friendly conversation. This cool company has a lot of cool customers.

The best part about Warby Parker’s is that they wrap up fashion, function, social consciousness, and fun, into one neat looking and fiscally-responsible package. What more could a girl with poor eyesight ask for?


A Small Network Still Works

When researching millennial entrepreneurs there seems to be a connection between all of them. They did not begin a certain business, or create a product to gain revenue from it, but rather they had an idea, and put that idea to work. Consequently it usually ends up that their idea makes them money. But it is just the fact of providing a good or service that seems to drive these people.

Eric Koger and his wife Susan Gregg Koger were two young adults attending Carnegie Mellon University together. They both had a want to create a better way to get vintage and vintage style clothing. They figured that the best way they could accomplish this was through a website. So in 2002 launched the website Mod Cloth. This website went into full time operation by 2006.

While this idea seems menial to many of us today, due to the vast amount of web sites we can access at the touch of a button, In 2006 this was innovative for the service it was providing. Since there take off in 20006 they have moved from the Strip-District in Pittsburgh to San Francisco, where they are based.

A move in location was not the only thing that happened however. A move in the direction of online selling had also been created due to these two college students.

These two young entrepreneurs show me that innovation is a result of a network greater than yourself. Who knows, if Eric Koger didn’t meet Susan, the internet shopping experience may be a little different today.

Meagan Nicole Photography

Today, friends, I am going to share about Meagan Nicole Photography. Meagan and I both graduated from the same high school. Meagan was always passionate about photography growing up. She always has a camera in her hand and a photo-op in mind. After graduating from high school in 2009, she was able to pursue her passion by doing a few internships and taking a few classes at a local community college. Meagan launched her business “Meagan Nicole Photography” in 2012. Meagan has a unique eye not just for photography but the knack she has for props and special scenery to enhance the photoshoot experience. There are many photographers back where I come from in Lancaster, PA. Instead of having a “competitive attitude” about these other photographers, Meagan has a beautiful vision that I wanted to share about her attitude about her business:

Meagans vision is to see all the various photographers band together, and create one bigger, more effective force – a team in a sense, and accomplish our passions + goals more effectively and give our customers a unique, unbeatable experience. We each have a different eye, and a fresh perspective. But we each have similar knowledge. Why not all come under one team, and fortify one another. Meagan’s vision as the “boss” is to empower and not control.

Meagan has a passion to live life to the fullest and to use her abilities to serve others and serve the Lord and leave an impact on this world. Meagan personally took my senior pictures in 2012. I highly recommend you take some time to browse over her lovely website. It is definitely worth your time.











Sweaters Anonymous

This is a really cool story about a young entrepreneur that I wanted to share with everybody. Sarah Gehman, a good friend who I grew up knowing in high school, and ALSO my roommate’s sister, began this business in 2012. Sarah is a missionary with the world’s biggest Christian mission organization, YWAM. Her job title is “Social media/marketing manager and photographer for the Ekballo Project. She is currently based out of the YWAM base is Kona, Hawaii. Sarah raises all her own money and one of the biggest things that she did to do this was through Sweaters Anonymous. It all began with her love of shopping at thrift stores. One day she realized that that she should try to turn this small obsession into something practical and decided that this could be a way to raise money for her YWAM trips. How this business works is that Sarah travels to various thrift stores and purchases used and sometimes new sweaters. Instead of regularly pricing the sweaters, she lists them on her website; and instead of pricing each sweater individually, she asks for a donation, so whatever a person is willing to give she will take. It is definitely a unique way to run a business. Sarah has been extremely successful, and she gives all of the credit to the Lord. Sarah quotes: “God is such a good God, and he doesn’t call us to do something that he won’t provide for”. To give an example of Sarah’s success, she has sold over 100 sweaters and has made 3,000 thousand dollars. Sarah has her own personal website, as well as a facebook page that she advertises these sweaters on. Check out Sarah’s Sweaters!



Having recently joined Swing Club at college, my roommates and I have become interested in vintage clothing, because not much could make swing dancing more fun than having a vintage style skirt that flares out when you spin.  While searching vintage clothing on the internet in our spare time away from our studies we came across a website called ModCloth.

As an entrepreneurship major, I found it interesting that the founders of ModCloth, Susan and Eric Koger, got their company up and running while in college.  It all started with Susan’s hobby of collecting vintage clothing, a love that began in high school. With Eric’s help Susan’s passion grew into a business. In college, Susan and Eric began selling vintage clothing online to help pay for books. After graduation from college, they continued the company, adding new clothing from independent designers.  With the continued growth of ModCloth, Susan and Eric now work with over 700 independent designers. Their inventory has grown significantly to include thousands of vintage inspired products from clothes to accessories to shoes and even home furnishings.

Susan and Eric’s ModCloth is a great example of the way in which a special hobby or interest can be turned into a profitable venture, creating great satisfaction for the entrepreneur and their customers.  ModCloth not only creates value for their customers, but they help other entrepreneurs by working with independent designers in their own entrepreneurial adventures.

ModCloth: eCommerce at its best!

images (2)ModCloth is an online retailer that specializes in vintage , vintage-inspired and indie clothing, accessories and decor. ModCloth was started in Pittsburgh in 2002 by Susan Gregg-Koger and her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Eric Koger. Eric started a web development business in 2000 and used his knowledge to help Susan launch an eCommerce site for the amazing pre-worn vintage items she’d found at vintage sales. The company began in the Kogers’ college house basement at Carnegie Mellon where they employed a student part-time to help with packaging and shipping. It now has, however, 450 full-time employees across offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. It is one of the fastest-growing fashion and home eCommerce ventures to emerge in the past decade and the company did more than $100 million in sales last (2)

ModCloth is extremely popular with fashion bloggers, vintage lovers, and online shoppers in general because there are up to 50 new products a day on the ModCloth website. That fresh content is essential to making browsing the ModCloth site a daily habit. Also, ModCloth’s Be the Buyer program allows customers to vote on which designs are created and sold by ModCloth. Combine all this with ModCloth’s great customer service and it’s no wonder that in 2010, ModCloth was  named the #2 Fastest-Growing Private Company in America according to Inc. It was also named to Forbes 30 under 30 list for Technology in 2011 and for Art and Style in 2012. ModCloth also made No. 19 on the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies as well as No. 14 on the Most Innovative Social Media Companies list by Fast Company in 2013.2-3_ModCloth