Founder/Age: Jade Sykes, 27
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Start-Up Year: 2009
Start-Up Costs: $2,500
How I Got Started: I started writing business plans for any business idea I thought I could bring to life. I really enjoyed the challenge of seeking out possible opportunities, researching markets, identifying risks, developing strategies and mapping out a plan of action. I became the “go-to” person among friends and classmates for those who wanted to develop a company or start a line. My entrepreneurial interests in fashion intensified while working as a freelance wardrobe stylist and Executive Fashion Editor at VAMPD Magazine. I realized how many amazing designers needed guidance, and with a little advice could reach the next level for their business. I found myself unselfishly giving them the best insight that my 9 years of experience and collegiate degree had given me. With a growing interest in my abilities to develop a more direct path to their goals, I began STYLEGEM™.
Best Success Story: A client of mine purchased a Harley Motorcycle and came to me with the idea to create fashionable accessories for female riders. What started out as a hobby has now turned into a company called “Together She Ride”. I worked with her to develop her logo, branding, website, marketing plan, designs, membership patches and developed an online community for female riders. In 2011 the brand will introduce a line of “Together She Ride” t-shirts and leather accessories.
Biggest Start-Up Challenge: One of the biggest challenges when I first started STYLEGEM™ was not having an office space to meet with clients. It was hard to offer ideas for a client’s competitive strategy inside a coffee shop full of designers sketching. I felt I needed a setting that inspired my clients and gave them the attention reflected through my service. Although it took some time, I finally landed a perfect 300sft office right near LAX in early March. Now clients are free to drop by anytime for advice, to share exciting news or hold a meeting for their brand.
#1 Tips for Newbies: Be knowledgeable, passionate, ambitious, gracious, humble and healthy.
Adopt a quote that gets you through the tougher days. One that keeps me inspired with my own company and that I share this with all of my clients is by Diane Von Furstenberg.
[quote]The most important thing is to believe in what you do. Have a big dream and take small steps.” DVF[/quote]
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