Almost a year ago, Hillary Settle, Marketwake’s Marketing Director, and Dana Sullivan, a freelance content writer, launched an ecommerce site dedicated to curating complete outfits at an affordable price. This month, the co-founders share how curiosity sparked the idea for Closetier.com, and how it keeps them going in a competitive landscape.
We like to say it all started 10 years ago, when we met at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. First, we were classmates, then friends, then roommates, and before long we knew we had a friendship that would last a lifetime. But we also discovered that we could work exceptionally well together — countless group projects told us so, and eventually, we launched our own fashion editorial blog called twoandseven.com.
While our fashion site fizzled out after we left NYC, our personal and working relationships held strong. We collaborated on many projects together throughout the years, and even as we were enjoying success in our careers, one question always lingered in the backs of our minds:
Could we start our own e-commerce business? We were curious.
Sure, we had both worked for startups and had a decent grasp on how to run a website. But there were so many things we didn’t know how to do — buying, merchandising, inventory fulfillment, and accounting were just a handful of tasks on a long list of things we weren’t quite sure how to tackle. Of course, this lead to serious doubts during the brainstorming process. Would people like our idea? Could we afford to launch it? Would we even have time to build a website, let alone run it after we launched?
Despite these doubts, we remained curious about the possibility.
Our biggest motivation and the driver that kept us going was the what if. When the idea for Closetier was in the works, we were both getting ready to turn the big 3-0. This got us thinking on an entirely different level about where our lives were going and what we wanted to accomplish. Nothing reminds you that life is finite quite like entering a new decade! Anyway — we’ll spare you the details of our existential crises — our main motivation boiled down to this: we didn’t want to have any regrets. And if we didn’t at least try to start our own business, we might end up regretting it. So, we pushed our uncertainties aside, employed the trusty “fake it ‘til you make it” mantra, and launched Closetier.com.
Now that we’re almost a year into our business (we launched in May of 2018), we continue to rely on that original spark of curiosity to keep us going. It’s definitely challenging since we both have jobs outside of Closetier. Complicating matters further? Dana is currently based in Tucson, Arizona while Hillary resides here in Atlanta.
Luckily, we’ve learned a few things along the way that help keep us motivated, dedicated, and of course, curious:
- Communication is key. We talk almost every day, even if it’s just a quick call or text message to touch base. This can help keep the ideas flowing — you never know when inspiration will strike during a conversation. It also helps that we’re both incredibly in sync and on the same page about a lot of things…we have our decade-long friendship to thank for that one!
- Plan out ideas and make to-do lists. Since we both have jobs outside of Closetier, we have to be extremely diligent about time management. Our go-to strategy is to write out a to-do list of all the immediate things that need to get done. Then, we divide and conquer. #teamwork!
- Make time for creativity. When you’re running a business, it’s easy to get bogged down by the basic operations and everything you have to do just to keep things running. But it’s important to set aside time for brainstorming and daydreaming — which, in all honesty, we need to work on! — because this is what keeps your business competitive, unique, and authentically you.
Launching a business taught us many things, but the most important lesson we learned was to try. Even if you can’t predict the outcome. Even if you might fail. Because even if things don’t work out, you can always try again. What you can accomplish is only limited by the restrictions you put on yourself. Once we decided that this was something that we could do — that we would do — we did it.
As the co-founders of a relatively new business, we still have a long road ahead of us. Luckily, we’re still curious to see where it takes us.
Curious about Closetier? Learn more here: