Four Threads

GirlBoss Interview

#GIRLBOSS: Katie Dean Jewelry

FashionVeronica ArrietaComment
image via  Katie Dean

image via Katie Dean

Another year, another #GirlBoss. I'm excited to introduce you to this week's #GirlBoss, Katie Dean, founder of Katie Dean Jewelry. Katie started to make dainty, delicate jewelry and when she wore it out people kept stopping her to ask where she got it. Soon enough, she was selling pieces directly off her body. She could barely keep and wear a piece for a week before someone bought it off her (literally!). It was at that point, when she realized that she was happiest making jewelry and people were loving it!

Here is what Katie had to say ...

Name: Katie Dean

Current Title/Company: Owner / Designer of Katie Dean Jewelry

Education: Highschool graduate + the Los Angeles School of Hard Knocks ;-)

What was your first job out of college? I only went to college for one year and it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t feel I needed a degree to have a career in the art world. I moved to LA 3 months before my 19th birthday and my first job out West was being a secretary at a production company.  

Tell us more about Katie Dean Jewelry. My line is made up of dainty, delicate pieces that are meant for everyday wear. I want the line to emanate a fun, feminine vibe that makes people feel happy when they wear it. 

What inspired you to start your own company? Ever since I was little, I wanted to be an artist. Whether that was painting, drawing, sculpting, … I am happiest when creating beautiful things. AND I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, make my own rules, work when I want to work and not have to conform to the traditional 9-5 workday. I, of course worked those 9-5 jobs before starting my line and I felt trapped instead of inspired. I knew from a very young age that I was not meant to have a traditional career path. 

#GIRLBOSS Quote

What advice would you give others thinking about starting their own business? Oh man! I have a lot of advice. First of all: just start doing. I see people that have ideas and talk about them a lot but never start doing them. The first step is getting into action and if it doesn’t pan out that’s ok! It’s better to go for it and take the risk of failing than not do anything - at the very least you will learn a ton and it will help you in the future when you have another idea!

Secondly, be savvy with your money. Don’t go spending it all on something that you know nothing about. Put in your due diligence before you commit to a big expense or before you hire someone on to your team.

This leads me to my third piece of advice which is trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, than don’t rush into any long term commitments or agreements. And lastly, accept the fact that starting your business is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be mistakes and things will go wrong. It’s a part of life. Like I said before, the most important thing is that you learn from the things that go wrong and don’t make the same mistakes in the future. Being successful in business depends on a lot of things but perseverance is a big part of it. 

What was your biggest fear in starting your own business? The question I would ask myself everyday: Am I going to be able to pay my bills? Will this work out in the long run? But you know, when I thought about the grand scheme of things, my biggest fear was not taking a chance. Then looking back in fifty years, having worked a job that didn’t make me happy and wishing that I could get those fifty years back. I may have worked around the clock for the first two years of my business but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I go to bed every night feeling fulfilled and lucky that I get to use my creativity to put things into the world that make women feel happy and inspired when they wear them. That’s worth it all. 

What inspired the pieces you design? I get inspired by the life around me! Everyone is so unique and our perspectives of beauty are all different. I like to create pieces that are eye catching but not dominant of your entire look.  

What designers or brands do you look to for inspiration? I love Madewell. The simplicity of their designs make me feel polished and put together without a lot of effort. I’m also obsessed with a line called Realisation Par. Their wrap dresses are so gorgeous. As well as everything Reformation. For shoes I looove Loeffler Randall. 

What does a typical day look like for you? I like to wake up and work out almost immediately. Starting my day with a workout gives me energy for the rest of my day. I try not to look at my phone or answer emails until afterwards. 

image via  Instagram

image via Instagram

After that I hop on my email! I typically spend a lot of my day on email and on phone meetings. In-between I’m usually sorting through images, posting on our social, planning out new releases and if I’m lucky, sketching new pieces.

As the line has grown, I’ve had to put more time and energy into managing all the moving components of the company. I learned many times that I can’t do it all myself so you have to let go of some of the control. 

If you could pick one or two Katie Dean Jewelry essentials that you couldn’t live without, what would they be?  Oooo! Good quesiton. I would say the Little Dipper studs. I wear these everyday. They’re perfection to me. I also wear the hammered band rings in solid gold every day and the Bar with Gem necklace almost everyday. That was three, haha, so hard to just pick one! 

 What’s your most proud moment since launching Katie Dean Jewelry? This is a hard one! 

What advice would you give to your younger self? Stop worrying so much. We’re not curing cancer here. Not to discount the importance of art and what it does to help humanity but at the end of the day, life is good and you need to keep things in perspective. Staying grounded and keeping your eye on the prize is the name of the game. 

If you could have drinks with four women who would it be? Diane Von Ferstenberg, Elizabeth Gilbert, Martha Stewart and Oprah. 

 What’s next for Katie Dean Jewelry? Any collaborations? Stores we can find you in? We started something really fun this year where we release a new mini-collection every 4-6 weeks and we’ve had an amazing response from our followers! They love seeing new pieces come out on a regular basis and it’s been super fun for me to create new pieces on a regular basis. We announce the new releases on our social media (follow us on Instagram! @katiedeanjewelry) and through our email newsletter (you can sign up through our website!). 

I’m always on the go with the line, heading to new cities and popping up! I love meeting anyone who follows the brand and meeting new people that are seeing the brand for the first time. Every week on Instagram I announce any weekly events that we’re doing so I would love for you to follow along and hopefully I can meet you in person soon! 

Some Of My Favorite Pieces I Own/Swooning Over:

A big thank you to Katie for answering these questions! Make sure to stop by Katie Dean Jewelry by clicking here

Make sure to tune into the next #GIRLBOSS interview series! 

#GIRLBOSS: Founder & President of The Stylist LA, Emily McDonald

FashionVeronica ArrietaComment

Another week, another #GirlBoss. I'm excited to introduce you to this week's #GirlBoss, Emily McDonald, founder of The Stylist LA. The Stylist LA is a Los Angeles-based designer dress rental company that allows you to rent designer dresses (or rompers) for a fraction of the retail price. They also provided wardrobes for some of the most recent “The Bachelor” contestants. Keep reading to what Emily had to say...

image via  The Stylist LA

image via The Stylist LA

Name: Emily McDonald

Current Title/Company:
Founder & President at The Stylist LA

Education:
Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from University of Southern California
Professional Designation Degree in Product Development from FIDM

What was your first job out of college? 
I had a ton of internships and part time jobs while in College and at FIDM.  But my first full time job was as assistant to the COO of Yaya Aflalo, a high-end women’s line.  I helped with production domestically and internationally.  It was a great first job.  I worked in the warehouse in Vernon and got to see the full process of how garments are designed, produced and then sold.

Tell us more about The Stylist LA. 
The Stylist LA is a designer rental company based in LA.  We have a showroom in LA and an e-commerce site that ships nationwide. We allow women to rent dresses for a fraction of the retail price for 5 or ten days at a time.


What inspired you to start The Stylist LA?
I always knew I wanted to start my own company.  Originally I thought I would have my own women’s clothing boutique, however when I was in college at USC and forced to write a business plan for my entrepreneurship class my mind changed.  I saw how saturated the market for women’s boutiques was and how expensive a store was to start.  I began looking around for other potential ideas.  At that time I was interning at a fashion PR firm and saw how celebrities (or their stylists) would basically check out clothes for events and return them afterwards.  I was also in a sorority at USC and saw how often girls wanted new dresses, but didn’t want to buy them.  They were also extremely conscious of being photographed in the same dress twice on social media.  All of these things came together to inspire the idea of starting a dress rental company.


What are some of your favorite clothing brands?
For The Stylist LA I have a few favorites, but one that I always love is Jet Set Diaries. I love the versatility of the brand.  They make everything from rompers (my faves) to evening gowns.  I LOVE the ethereal vibe of this brand.  I appreciate that it is boho, but not so boho I feel like I should be frolicking in a field.

What advice would you give others thinking about starting their own business?
Ahh so much advice, it is hard to pick just one thing.  You really have to have the dedication and passion for it.  It is a marathon not a sprint and you have to be ready to make sacrifices and keep on working when things aren’t going your way.  You have to be ready for the ups and downs and be able to continue working through them without losing your mind.


What was your biggest fear in starting your own business?
One of the scariest things about starting your own company is really putting yourself out there. You have to produce a product or service and just hope that people will receive it well.  You work as hard as you can to produce something incredible, but at the end of the day you are at the mercy of your customers.  Starting a company is an incredibly vulnerable time, especially when you start it by yourself, without a business partner.  It was scary at the beginning, trying to push the company forward without traction or positive customer feedback to fall back on.


What does a typical day look like for you? 
There is absolutely no typical day.  My days depend on what is going on that day, whether we have a photo shoot, whether we go to market to pick out new styles or whether I have meetings with designers or other entrepreneurs.  I almost always start the day with an early morning workout to clear my head and get ready for the day.  Then comes coffee.  I usually work from home in the mornings, returning emails, on calls and getting organized.  Then I head into the showroom and check in with the girls there.  I say hi to clients that are in there, if it is a photo shoot day I meet with our model and photographer and get started on that.  Sometimes I have lunch meetings out of the office (usually down the street at Zinque, a Stylist LA obsession.)  Then I spend the rest of the day working on a number of things.  I work on budgets, check in on how sales are doing, help with customer service on the website, plan our social media, work on business development and more.  In the last year I have shifted from meeting with most clients to doing more of the business back-end stuff.  Hiring the girls that work in the showroom has freed up my time to work on growing the business, rather than meeting every client that comes in.

 

I’ve noticed on Instagram that you started dressing The Bachelor girls. How did that come about? And how has that helped your business? 
It’s a funny story actually.  I reached out to the final 3 girls from Ben’s season via Instagram and Lauren Bushnell responded.  We didn’t know that she won at the time, but she knew that she did and that she would need a lot of dresses for the press tour once the finale aired.  She reached back out to us and said she wanted to come in.  When she came in, we immediately hit it off and ended up becoming friends.  We then dressed her for her press tour and have been involved with a couple of other projects with her since then.  Becca lives next door to one of our favorite clients, so that’s how we got connected with her for the women tell all.  We dressed her for that episode in this amazing gold sequin romper.  She posted such an incredible Instagram pic from the evening, that ended up trending as the #1 most popular picture on the hashtag #womentellall. Then through Becca we met JoJo and got to do a photoshoot with her as well.

It has helped the business tremendously.  For starters, most of our target market watches The Bachelor and pays attention to what the girls wear.  It has really helped us gain exposure with new potential clients all over the US.  Our e-commerce sales have grown immensely since dressing the girls and so has our Instagram following.

 

What is one piece of clothing you think every woman should own? 
That’s a tough question!  Can I pick more than one?!  I think having a great pair of black and nude heels is extremely important.  You can wear almost anything with one or the other.  After that I would say, a good fitting pair of jeans, and the perfect fitting t-shirt or tank top in multiple colors.


What’s your most proud moment since launching The Stylist LA?
My proudest moment so far was dressing Lauren for her media tour with Ben.  That was an incredible moment for us.  We sent her with outfits to wear for each appearance, but we weren’t 100 % sure she would wear them.  I got to watch all of it happen live.  First,  I saw her on Jimmy Kimmel in our dress.  Then the next day it was GMA in our dress, then Kelly & Michael in another one of our dresses.  It was really fun to follow along and watch her change into each of our pieces and wear them for each event.  It was really cool to see how excited people were about her wearing our stuff.  It was a great accomplishment for the business and a very proud moment for myself.

 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 
Not to be so scared or worried about things working out.  I used to get very caught up in what would happen in the future with the business, if I was working as hard as I could, if the business was where it needed to be.  I would tell myself to calm down, work my butt off and let it be.  Worrying does nothing positive!

 

I’m sure The Stylist LA gets compared to Rent the Runway. What makes you different? 
Yes, Rent the Runway is our main competition so we are compared to them frequently.  We offer a similar service, but we are different in many ways.  Our designers and dresses embody more of a younger, West Coast style than RTR.  We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and a much more hands on experience than RTR does.  We focus on quality over quantity and really want each of our customers to have an excellent experience.  We will do almost anything to ensure that they do.

If you could have drinks with four women who would it be? 
Jessica Herrin founder of Stella and Dot (I just finished reading her book and she is so intelligent and inspiring.), Oprah, Beyonce and Martha Stewart.

What's the best fashion advice you've ever received?
Just to be yourself and make sure you are comfortable in what you are wearing.  How you feel in an outfit totally affects how you present yourself!

What’s next for The Stylist LA? Any collaborations? 
There is A LOT in store.  We will be opening a pop up in another city this fall and will be launching a really fun campaign to make it happen.  Stay tuned….the city and campaign will be announced soon!

 

A big thank you to Emily for answering these questions! Make sure to stop by The Stylist LA by clicking here

Make sure to tune into next week's #GIRLBOSS interview series! 

#GIRLBOSS: Sole Serum Founder, Tricia Andrews

Beauty, FashionVeronica ArrietaComment

There's been such great feedback on this #GirlBoss series, and I'm excited to introduce you to this week's #GirlBoss, Tricia Andrews, founder of Sole Serum. If you're reading this and have ever been in pain wearing heels (basically every female out there) then you will love this Sole Serum product - it's a foot serum that takes the pain away from your heels. I was skeptical at first but tried it and was shocked at how much my feet loved me afterwards. Keep reading to what Tricia had to say (plus a discount code at the bottom)...

image via  Karissa Marie Blog

Name:  Tricia Andrews
 
Current Title/Company:  Founder, Sole Serum
 
Education:  I have a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Minnesota (Carlson School of Management)
 
What was your first job out of college?  
Well, my first job was an unpaid summer internship that I did for a radio station in Minneapolis.  I was on the team that got to go to all of the big events and hand out free tickets to people – it was fun!  My first PAYING job was at a temp agency right when I moved to Chicago.  I didn’t know anyone in that city, so I took a job at a temp agency that could place me in an Advertising Agency (and so I could meet people!).  I worked as a receptionist, but was then hired full-time on the Account team.


 
What inspired you to start Sole Serum?
Necessity!  Honestly, it was a product that I needed, but it didn’t exist.  My background is TV Ad Sales and I spent nearly 12 years pounding the pavement.  I was constantly on-the-go in heels and needed something to help as I stood in presentations, shifting from one foot to the other…in pain.  I had tried other products, but nothing worked for me.  So, one thing led to another and before I knew it, we were meeting with chemists to come up with the perfect formula.  After nearly a year of formulation and the FDA compliancy process, we were able to launch Sole Serum.  Hooray!

 
What advice would you give others thinking about starting their own business?
It’s all about your team, so surround yourself with good people!  I truly believe that who you’re with is who you become.  And the fastest way to change yourself is to spend time with those who are already the way you want to be.  So, build a great team! 
 
Also, always be open to learning all aspects of business.  You may create a great product, but if you don’t understand the other parts of your business, you will only limit yourself.
 
What was your biggest fear in starting your own business?
I really didn’t have any fears when I started it – crazy, I know!  I probably should’ve been more nervous, but I was just so excited to develop something everyone needs that I didn’t pay attention. 
 
 
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, I don’t have a typical day in terms of what I’m working on, but I’m an early bird and I’m always up around 5a.  My daughter wakes up at 7a, so I love to have that time to finish up anything that came in the night before.
 
If you could pick one or two accessories that you couldn’t live without, what would they be?
A few years ago, my husband gave me diamond studs for Christmas.  I’ve worn them every day since.  I love them!
 
I was recently introduced to Erin Shaffer, the Founder of SHAFFERLA.  She has the most adorable handbags and just told me that this Fall she will be launching a new tote bag, called The Jessica, in suede or leather.  I am obsessed with a good tote (to hold my Sole Serum), so I’m already in line to buy it! 

What’s your most proud moment since launching Sole Serum?
Well, I don’t have one particular moment that stands out.  But a few months ago, my husband and I hired a babysitter to watch our daughter.  When she got to our house, she asked what I did.  I told her that I started Sole Serum and she said “Oh wow, my mom loves that stuff, and bought me and my sister some for Christmas.”  Then she called her mom right then to tell her who she was babysitting for.  It truly made me smile : )
 
 
What advice would you give to your younger self?  
Be an early investor in Facebook, Google and Uber.  HA!  But seriously…
 
 
If you could have drinks with four women who would it be?
Marta Kaufman – She is one of the creators of Friends, which is my all-time favorite show.  I’m dying to know what it was like behind-the-scenes for those 10 years.
 
Blake Lively – I love her witty personality and sense of style.  I have a total girl-crush on her.  Plus, hopefully she would bring Ryan Reynolds : )  Scratch the girl-crush, I totally have a “couple-crush”.
 
Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice (I’m counting them as one!) – they’ve recently stepped down from their positions at the company, but they were the co-creators of SoulCycle and I’m totally addicted.  BUT, I have some suggestions that we could TOTALLY discuss over drinks.  Helloooo… can we please have the instructors publish their playlist?  Can you take a vote before turning on the fans?  Can you live-stream your classes or have them on-demand?
 
Marcia Clark – I just finished watching OJ: Made in America.  I didn’t grow up in California, so I didn’t live through it at the time.  Everything about it is so fascinating to me.  If you had asked me this a month ago, I wouldn’t have said her.  But I have SO MANY questions about everything that went down.
 
What’s next for Sole Serum? Any collaborations? Stores we can find you in?
Well, we had a really exciting meeting last week about potentially being on a TV show. We’re still waiting to find out, so I don’t want to jinx anything. I will be sure to let you know! Fingers crossed :)

A big thank you to Tricia for answering these questions! Make sure to stop by Sole Serum by clicking here. Tricia has been kind enough to offer you a 15% off discount using code “FOURTHREADS” at checkout. They also offer free shipping to all orders over $30, so it’s quite the deal on their Bridal Pack!

Make sure to tune into next week's #GIRLBOSS interview series! 

#GIRLBOSS: Jewelry Designer, Robyn Rhodes

FashionVeronica ArrietaComment
image via  Robyn Rhodes

image via Robyn Rhodes

Today, I'm super excited to announce my new series called #GirlBoss. Each week I'll be interviewing a fellow #GirlBoss. As women, we should inspire and empower each other to follow their dreams. I'm so fascinated to hear how other people got their business started, learn from their failures and successes, etc.. I hope you can take away and learn something new each week by these inspiring women and that you too can follow your passions.

First up, is Robyn Rhodes, an LA based jewelry designer that celebrities and our favorite Bachelorette's like Jojo Fletcher and Emily Maynard have been spotted wearing. Each piece of jewelry is handcrafted and supports local artisans in Los Angeles. 

Here is what Robyn had to say (plus a discount code at the bottom)...

Name: Roby Rhodes

Current Title/Company: Owner/CEO Robyn Rhodes, Inc.

Education: BA Film and Art History, UCSB

What was your first job out of college? Working as an executive assistant to actor, Enriq La Salle

image via  Facebook

image via Facebook


Tell us more about Robyn Rhodes. 
I established my namesake company in 2002 with the intention of creating accessible luxury with the heart of community. Each and every piece is handcrafted within the greater Los Angeles area, helping to support local artisans while maintaining the highest level of quality in craftsmanship, materials, and style. Since its creation, my line has been sold in some of the most beautiful places and worn by many of the world's most glamorous women, but I will never lose the company's sense of community, personality, and accessibility.


What inspired you to start your own company?
Always knew I was an artist, but did not know what medium it was going to be in. I was working in film/TV production when September 11th happened and production just stopped. I was working freelance at the time and was making jewelry whilst waiting for the phone to ring for a film job. I found so much more creativity and personal satisfaction by making jewelry, that I had to give this jewelry thing a shot, so I threw my hat over the fence and have not looked back - that was 14 years ago! 


What advice would you give others thinking about starting their own business?
There is always room for people with passion... do not give up and know that owning your own business is a 24/7 job... if that does not make you run... you are half way there!

 

What was your biggest fear in starting your own business?
Not being able to pay my bills... I paid my own way through college and I had a ton of school loans and a lot of financial responsibilities and I did not want to be delinquent on any of them.

 

What inspired the pieces you design? 
The stones. I do not sketch before I choose the stones/color schemes for my upcoming line, I let the stones do my designing. I seek the stones first and once I see the ones I want to use; I can instantly design around them.

 

What designers or brands do you look to for inspiration?
I really like to look at vintage jewelry. I go to a lot of flea markets and second hand shops.


What does a typical day look like for you? 
Never a typical day but what is standard is exercise in the morning, get ready for work and then off to the office. The phone can ring at any time for a pull from a TV show, jewelry emergency from production, downtown to get supplies, photo shoots for social media, meetings with my staff, etc.

 

If you could pick one or two Robyn Rhodes essentials that you couldn’t live without, what would they be? 
That’s a hard question, that's like saying 'what 2 children do you like the best!' Haha! But if I had to choose, I would probably say my CHLOE nameplate necklace and my JONELL ring. Both can be worn everyday with everything!

What’s your most proud moment since launching Robyn Rhodes?
There are too many to mention... most recently, I would say the PEOPLE magazine article that came out a few weeks ago.

 

I’ve seen some of your pieces on The Bachelorettes like Emily Maynard and Jojo Fletcher. How did that come about? What’s it like to see your jewelry on TV? Do you see a spike in sales after? 
I had a friend on the executive side at the show and they gave the costume designer pieces from my line...that was 5 seasons ago and I am so grateful that they keep asking for my line for the show! I get giddy like school girl every time I see my line on any TV/Film. So honored and humbled!!

I do see a spike in sales for most of the appearances on the shows. I think it is so much easier now for people to find out who is wearing what, which is so amazing for brands.

(Find all the jewelry seen on The Bachelorettes here)

What advice would you give to your younger self? 
Don’t sweat the small stuff and trust that you are going to succeed, even in the darkest of hours. Successful people take risks and keep going.

 

If you could have drinks with four women who would it be? 
Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and my grandmother that I never met.

 

What’s next for Robyn Rhodes? Any collaborations? Stores we can find you in? 
We have been in talks with QVC for a FALL launch for our line. Also, and an AMAZING line coming out for Fall/Winter 16.17!

 

A big thank you to Robyn for answering these questions! Make sure to stop by Robyn's online store by clicking here. Robyn has been kind enough to offer you a 20% off discount using code “GIRLBOSS20” at checkout! 

Make sure to tune into next week's #GIRLBOSS interview series!