Saturday, January 30, 2010

Inspiration: Your Mom

(Jackie Deller's mom from MMTSI)

My friend Nicole recently pointed me in the direction of this amazing blog called My Mom, The Style Icon. It's run by Brooklyner
Piper Weiss, who shares old photos submitted by the children of stylish moms. Most of them have some cute story related to them, but the photos are just awesome.

Looking through old photos of my mom and drooling over the outfits she wore was always a favorite past time when I was a kid, and naturally I've always thought of her as a stylish lady. It looks like she had some fierce competition back then. Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kids in a Candy Store

Next Monday, we are attending our first trade show : CALA, in San Francisco at the Westin St. Francis. We are both really looking forward to it, but honestly have no idea what to expect since it is brand new to both us.
We decided that for this trade show, we are just looking, not spending.We want to get a feel for how these things work before we start running around and getting all crazy in the head about how awesome everything is and blow all of our start-up cash :) Honestly, we are a little scared. I will come right out and say it. We have our calendar full of trade shows for the next 6 months and we might actually have to spend some money since we need to get our hands on all of those hot goods for the fall right? right? Yeah. So in the next couple of months, we need to figure out everything about trade shows, retail buying, inventory planning you name it! This is definitely what we refer to as the "fun part", but it is also daunting at the same time.
Will we know what to buy? How much? In what colors? Will people like our selections? Wowza! My head is just about to explode. If you are reading this and you have any hot tips for us we are all ears. We would love suggestions on:
-Brands/Designers you like
-Trade shows to attend
-How to establish good relationships with vendors
-How to not get overwhelmed :) Thanks.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Inspiration: Charlotte Gainsbourg

I've been struggling all day to write this little piece. I'm finding it impossible to explain exactly what is so captivating about Charlotte Gainsbourg because it's almost too obvious. It's like trying to explain the color blue. It's I'll try though, because I've always admired her personal style, in addition of course, to her many talents.

I think the main thing that I've been drawn to is that she seems like such a rare kind of "famous person". Maybe it's her European upbringing that draws the obvious line between Charlotte and her Hollywood counterparts, but maybe not (I'm looking at you Donatella). Whatever the cause, I love that she's not conventionally attractive, but undeniably beautiful. I also like that her hair is always sort of messy, and that her gamine figure is strong and tough. In fact, she seems very much composed of a bundle of contradictions. This of course is evident in her fashion choices as well, which are at once understated, edgy and classic.

Anyway, you be the judge. Although, how many women do you know that can look just as bad-ass in a couture gown as they look elegant in a pair of jeans? Yeah, me neither...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fancy French Cologne, LLC

Dorkily, we roll along....

Last night we decided that we needed to ONCE AND FOR ALL, decide on our business structure. We have been hemming and hawing for weeks as we gathered plenty of conflicting advice from friends, family and colleagues.In the end, we finally settled on creating an LLC, as opposed to just a partnership.
When you are trying to make this decision, it is important to consider what you think your business will look like a year from now and further into the future, not to mention how much money you think you will need to get started and maintain your business. A partnership is great because they are super easy to create - all you need is a written agreement between you and your partner. The only trouble is, that not only will you be personally liable for any debts your business racks up, but you also be liable for any debt your business PARTNER racks up! If you know that crazy Christine, you know that is a chance I cannot well take. But seriously folks, this decision is one that is made without any emotional influences, it is about protecting yourself while you attempt your venture. It doesn't matter if we are the best of friends and trust each other deeply, it still makes sense to protect our precious personal credit while we take this plunge together.
If you are thinking about creating a business entity, this is a great resource for reading about the pros and cons of each:

Small Business Planner

Another thing that initially made us hesitant to form an LLC was the minimum $800 tax you have to pay annually to maintain it. It seems like a lot of money to throw down when you are just starting out and not sure how things are going to play out. However, a friend pointed out that this is not the place to try and save money. You want to make sure you do this right. And, in the grand scheme of things, with all other business expenses considered, it is really a small price to pay to protect yourself.
Well, now that we have that out of the way, it's time to start the fun stuff. Stay tuned. Tally Ho!!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This should be an easy project.

On January 15th,2010, Econsultancy posted an article called "Five client statements that frustrate freelancers". I wanted to share a couple of these here as they relate to our own experience, because when you are starting your own online business, you will most likely need to hire a variety of different professionals to help you achieve your vision. While you are still the client, these are good guidelines to follow so you can come off as professional and experienced in your interactions:

1. "This should be an easy project"
After 4+ years of working at a tech company, I can tell you this statement drives engineers and developers nuts. Remember, you are hiring them for a reason: because you most likely have no idea what it takes to build out a fully functioning site. Let them decide if it is easy, and get multiple quotes if you think their time estimate is off the mark. Actually scratch that. Always get multiple quotes :)

2. "I don't have much money for this but it could lead to future work down the road."
When Christine and I started looking for web designers we liked, I found one that I was really set on pretty early on. I waited for what seemed like a millenium to get his quote and when I finally did it was WAY outside of our budget. After doing some more research we were able to break down all of the tasks we wanted him to do and figure out which ones would benefit most from his touch. We decided that we really only needed him to develop a logo and identity system for us, not necessarily build the entire site. He was able to give us a rate well within our budget for that specific task. So instead of haggling back and forth and over promising on work in the future, we were able to figure out a way for both of our needs to be met.

3."I'm looking for someone who can handle X,Y and Z"
(X, Y and Z are, of course, completely unrelated)
While it is perfectly OK to be clear about what you are looking to have accomplished, make sure that the person you are seeking is actually the right person for that task. As the article states, "your chances of finding a good freelancer decrease exponentially when you seek out someone who can 'do it all' because the jack of all trades is almost always a master of none." It sometimes seems a whole lot easier to just hire one person to do everything, but you always have to ask yourself if there is someone else within your budget that can do it better.

Read the full article here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How many burritos does it take to run a business meeting?

Hi everyone!

We have been hard at work (devouring delicious burritos) on our business plan--something that is very new to us both. To be honest, it has been very stressful--our attemps to complete all of the components of our plan have forced us to ask ourselves some tough questions and struggle with the idea that our faith alone in this business is not enough to make it a fruitful venture. What's so special about our ideas? Will others find value in them? Is our idea remarkable enough to compell others to invest in our business or are we just replicating something that already exists? What's missing from the marketplace and how can we fill that void?

After some serious thought and research, we are relieved to feel like we are getting closer. The process of frustration has actually been very helpful to us, and through it we have come up with some very exciting and creative solutions. Of course many challenges still lie ahead, but our renewed sense of purpose has lifted our spirits. For now, most of our ideas will have to be cloaked in mystery, but let's just say there's nothing like a good challenge to get those creative juices flowing...

We've also been monitoring the progress of our market research survey, and can't be happier with the results so far. Almost everyone seems to have participated and we're learning a lot from your responses. Thanks again for your support! The results of the survey will help us complete the Market Analysis Summary portion of our plan, which essentially is a fancy way of saying "what do people want and how are you going to give it to them?". The people have spoken, as they say.


Saturday, January 9, 2010 this thing on?

Hello out there! Welcome to our blog!

As you may have heard, we (Carly Schneider-Clark + Christine Bolghand) have decided to start our own business! After five years of working closely together in Finest Dearest, we are taking steps to develop an online retail store for women’s clothing. This blog will chronicle our adventures and challenges along the way. Other than the years we spent together in the band, we've never really done anything like this and we welcome any and all comments and input. We hope you're as excited as we are about this new project.

Some things you can expect to read here:
- ideas and plans we're hashing out
- reports on new experiences, such as going to trade shows or the frustrations of writing our first business plan
- posts on people/art/music that inspires us

Oh, and if you haven't already, please take a few minutes to complete our survey . It'll help us a lot!