fashion entrepreneurship

Q&A with Mariah Caver, Amor Swim

Mariah Caver

Mariah Caver designer of Amor Freedom, hails from Atlanta, GA. She began designing at an early age and it has now blossomed into an eco-friendly luxury clothing line. Amor Freedom has just recently released the Amor Swim Collection providing swimwear for women of all shape and sizes to feel beautiful available at AMORSWIM.COM

Can you tell our readers about your background?

My Name is Mariah Caver, and I am a lover of fashion. My love for fashion started at a very young age I would style my dolls' clothes; by the time I got to middle school, I would go to the Dollar store and buy the sewing pack which came with the thread needles colors, measuring tape, and soft ball to make different outfits and things for myself.

What inspired you to start your business?

The inspiration behind starting my business came from me wanting to give back to the world in a way that was relatable for me and people like me. That was fashion for me. Fashion is a way to express yourself ! Style is a reflection of your attitude and personality. So being able to create clothes that allow the women to look and feel AMAZING is my inspiration. #Womenempowerment

Mariah Caver

Where is your business based?

We are online currently based in Atlanta, and are looking to expand to MIA and LA... but we ship worldwide.

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

The first step I took during the process of starting my business was the sketches of course, and from there, I allowed the name of my line to fall into my lap, then I hit the ground running with production, and the rest was history. 

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

The most effective way of raising awareness for my clothing line has definitely been instagram.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Finding the eco-friendly fabric that feels amazing and still looks great. 

How do you stay focused?

The passion I have for design and being able to produce a product that can help with pushing a socially conscious world through fashion.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

The fabric AmorSwim uses is Eco-friendly , all the fabrics we use are made with recycled bottles.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

I would definitely say the most effective strategy would be Instagram; it’s an amazing tool to use to reach people all over the world.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Nobody will see your vision but you, so follow your heart and your dreams and make it happen no matter what people say.

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

My favorite app would have to be my google app, my favorite blog is definitely Pinterest, and my favorite book is tied between "Think and Grow Rich" and the "48 Laws of Power".

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

My mother and father would be my favorite business tools lol I ask them EVERYTHING when it comes to the right business moves.

Who is your business role model? Why?

Jay-Z is definitely my business role model. He didn’t allow the world to box him in and limit him to just being an artist.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

The other half of Amor Freedom will be launching which is the Freedom streetwear for women and men. So definitely be on the lookout for that.

How can our readers connect with you?

You guys can go to the website for the swimwear at AmorSwim.com and for the apparel you can go to AmorFreedom.com.

My social media account is @rriahb_ AmorSwim and social media account is @Amor_freedom AMOR.

Website: Amorswim.com

Q&A with Twin Sister Entrepreneurs, Rebecca & Rachel

Rachel & Rebecca

 

Twinnks, created by twin sisters Rebecca and Rachel, is a modernized t-shirt bra that solves all of the most common “brablems”. Not only does it have the molded, seamless cups for comfort and support, but it goes a step further and smooths out the edge of the cups, making it invisible under clothes. Eventually, they hope to expand into all things basic: t-shirts, undershirts, tank tops and more.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

We’re the youngest of four girls (I know...our poor dad), born and raised in Birmingham, AL. In 2015, after months of talking about this idea for a new bra, we finally decided to go for it.  We’re almost two years into development and plan to officially launch at the end of 2017. In the meantime, we both still have our full-time jobs (Rachel in marketing, Rebecca in insurance). In fact, up until this point, we have been keeping our identities on our website and social media pages under wraps because we didn’t want to risk having our work see it. But the opportunity to be on Fem Founder is worth it, so we’re throwing caution to the wind.

What inspired you to start your business?

Getting dressed. But really, it started with a mutual frustration for bras that claim to be “invisible under clothing” but after a short period of wear would show the visible cup lines (which we refer to as the “VCL”). We read countless articles as to why this happens: wrong size, you’re washing it too much or too little, you’re wearing it too much, you should get professionally measured every 6 months, the list goes on and it fueled us to start Twinnks. The reason it happens is simple: there’s an abrupt transition from the bra cup to the skin, so after the slightest wear, the line shows. We had a very clear vision of how a bra should be constructed to fix it and it didn’t exist.

Where is your business based?

Online, but we both live in North Carolina.

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

In our initial research, we came across MakersRow.com, which is an online network that connects entrepreneurs with factories (very helpful, we highly recommend). From there, we contacted several manufacturers to see if they could make a prototype for us. We found one in San Francisco that really understood the idea and we’ve been with them ever since!

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Social media, hands down—especially Instagram. Not only is it a great way to build a brand and raise awareness, it also allows our potential market to get to know us and our personalities.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Coming into a very competitive industry with no experience in product development. In the beginning, we were overwhelmed because there’s so much to learn and we had no idea where to start. There is a ton of information out there about starting a company, but we realized that we’re never really going to learn until we do it. So we hired the factory, started on development and asked a lot of questions along the way (our designer can vouch for this). Now look at us, we’re product development geniuses.

How do you stay focused?

By constantly thinking about the end goal. We both have a really strong work ethic, so even though we still have full-time jobs, we’re extremely determined to make Twinnks a success.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

For starters, we’re women, which is a rare find in this industry. Most bra companies are run by men who seem to love lace, tiny bows and push up cups. That’s cute and all, but we’re not about the frill. Our focus is on functionality, comfort and, of course, making it flattering. Second, we’re committed to relating to our customers rather than talk down to them. There are a lot of brands that position themselves as experts and treat customers like students. That’s not our style. We’re extremely new to this world and we won’t pretend otherwise. Lastly, we’re actually building this company from the ground up. Everything is self-funded: no GoFundMe page (although, nothing against it) and no venture capitalist hurling money at us.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

Social media without a doubt. We knew what we wanted our tone and aesthetic to be early on and started planning our posting-schedule four months before launching. We’re currently taking an Instagram marketing class through ilovecreatives.com. The creator, Jennifer Puno, grew her Instagram following from zero to 80,000 in one year so she’s good.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

  1. This is cliché, but patience is a virtue. It's so easy to get caught up in the eagerness to launch, but it's so important to focus on the product and get it to where you want it to be, rather than where it's “just passable”. In reality, it probably won't happen according to your timeline and that's usually for the best

  2. Use your support system and reciprocate. We were pleasantly surprised at how supportive everyone was, and not just our immediate friends and family. Our generation has the reputation of being entitled and unwilling to work, but we couldn't disagree more. Millennials have great work ethic, we just insist on working for something we actually care about. And what's even better, there's so much support from people (even strangers) in the same situation, so become a part of the comradery! There are a lot of startup communities out there that help connect like-minded people, whether it's for collaborations, feedback, advice, promotion, really anything. Groups like Rising Tide Society and SocietyGal are great places to start. Put yourself out there.

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

This is hard because there are so many good ones for both business & personal use.

Blogs: Instagram’s Business Blog is a great source for content inspiration (they literally have “inspiration” as a category). Also, Buffer and Entrepreneur.com’s blogs are great for startups and strategy.

Apps- It’s lame to say out loud, but pretty much all social media apps (you have to stay in the know!). We also use Later to schedule posts and Google Drive.

Podcasts- you didn’t ask, but we are podcast fanatics so we’re throwing it in there.

●      How I Built This is amazing. It’s really inspiring to hear how some of the most successful companies got started.

●      The Art of Charm (both a blog & podcast) ties personal development and social skills into successful business relationships. Let’s be honest, incorporating human behavior into anything is so interesting. We are a crazy species.

●      My Favorite Murder- We can’t talk podcast without mentioning this. A great go-to when you need a break from reality. We love true crime and the hosts are hilarious.

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

We’ve already mentioned it, but MakersRow.com is a great one. Also, since we work in separate places, Google Drive has been extremely useful. Peoplemap.co is an Instagram tool that we use daily. It lets you comment, filter, build lists and analyze Instagram from a desktop. 

Who is your business role model? Why?

It's hard to pinpoint one but we have serious admiration for Whitney Wolfe (founder of Bumble). After being sexually harassed and suspended as Co-Founder of Tinder, she walked away with her middle finger up and started a competing app that empowers women and she's killing it. It’s inspiring.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

Perfecting and launching our product. We’ve worked so hard preparing for this moment and there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. Following our own advice from question #10, we will not launch just to launch. Above all else is the quality of the product so the first batch will go to our test audience to ensure it successfully solves the problem before selling it. We’ve mapped out our marketing strategy so once we’re certain it’s ready, we will H-U-S-T-L-E.

How can our readers connect with you?

Website: www.twinnks.com (*make note of the two N’s, using only one will get you a pornographic surprise)

Email: info@twinnks.com

Instagram: @twinnks_co

Facebook: @twinnks

Twitter: @twinnks_co

 

Q&A with Stylist and Entrepreneur, Bernadette Payne

Bernadette Payne

I love to interview female entrepreneurs from around the world as every journey is different. And today's interview is with leading Aussie stylist, fashion blogger, and entrepreneur, Bernadette Payne of That's My Style, a personal styling company. Here's what she had to say about her entrepreneurial journey. 

1). Please tell our readers about your professional background. 

My background is a solid 20 years in the fashion industry as a buyer and overseeing the manufacturing of clothing for large Australian retailers. By my mid 20’s, I was in a management position and was juggling overseas travel, predicting fashion trends, sourcing fabrics, running a production team, negotiating with China factories, and producing high-quality budget level clothing in short lead times.

I was very driven but under immense pressure to perform and in turn constantly stressed. I left after having my third child and knowing that I just couldn’t give the energy to the job anymore. I wanted to focus on my family but share my background knowledge – That’s My Style was now born.

2). Why did you start your business? 

My inspiration behind ‘That’s My Style’ is that I truly believe everyone has the right to know how to dress to feel like the best version of themselves.

I want people to understand the power of clothing and how it can make them feel great. Dressing confidently and understanding what works can change people’s perception of themselves. With this comes acceptance and a new-found confidence that impacts their personal and professional lives. I feel honored to witness their journeys.

3). What market does your business serve? 

My market is mainly women aged 35-65. They all engage my services for a similar outcome but they each have their own story. No matter where they are in life, I can help them feel more confident about their wardrobe choices. Learning what to wear and what to avoid creates empowerment and a new found love of getting dressed every day. Confidence starts from within and this is where we start.

4). What's the largest challenge you've encountered as a business owner? 

The styling and marketing of my business come naturally and is where I want my energy to go. The challenges are the behind the scenes admin and getting the most out of the time that I have.

My husband also runs a business, so it’s a constant juggle. We know the value of family time and embrace it is much as we can.

5). What's your best piece of business advice? 

Believe in what you do. Be on your own journey and don't worry about what others are doing. Believe in your own vision and what you can offer that no one else can. And never stop learning and growing.

6). How do you like to relax? 

Good question – I don’t have a lot of me time, so soaking in a bath, with a good book and a candle burning is very relaxing (as long as the kids are in bed) and I always feel energized and grateful for a dinner catch up and drinks with my gorgeous friends.

7). Connect with Bernadette on: 

That's My Style

Facebook.com

Instagram.com