Wix Lounge in Chelsea sponsored a December fireside chat with Adornia co-founder Becca Aronson and Lacquerous founder Ashlene Nand. The two discussed the inception and emerging strategies of their respective New York-based companies. Dalia Strum, Fashion Branding Blogger, and Instructor of Social Media, Commerce, and Digital Marketing at FIT, was the moderator.
According to NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), women-owned firms account for 30 % of privately held companies and contribute to 14% of employment and 11% of domestic and international revenues, and each of the guests is not only making headlines with her innovative line of products – Aronson with accessories and Nand with nail polish. Each is also helping to tear down old school presumptions and proving that women are just as business-savvy, successful and driven as their male counterparts – and perhaps even more so.
After receiving an undergraduate degree from University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, Aronson worked as an accessories editor for Lucky Magazine and a fashion editor for REDBOOK before channeling her skills and expertise into founding Adornia along with business partner, Moran Amir.
Adornia is the “modern girl’s jewelry company,” featuring accessories that are both accessible and affordable. The pieces are composed of the highest grade of ethical ingredients, including gemstones, silver, 14 to 18 karat gold, and authentic diamonds, all turned into one of kind pieces that combine cutting edge art with style that reflects feminine independence. Gone is the stuffiness often associated with traditional earrings, necklaces, and rings, giving the piecest a distinctive appeal that is making them the choice of a few select retailers.
“Controlling your destiny is crucial in establishing success,” said Aronson. “The cultivation of personal relationships is a necessary bridge to expanding revenue and building a name through word of mouth.”
Lacquerous creator Ashlene Nand expressed similar views on financial and personal growth. “Social Media is a proper utility,” said Nand. “It is your ambassador for life.” The Sydney native and self-proclaimed fashion maven was formerly marketing director at Anvil Knitwear and Brand Manager for the Girl Scouts of America before self-funding her company.
Lacquerous is a subscription service (think Netflix for beauty) that gives women the opportunity to sample the latest and greatest in nail polish trends from red carpet events, fashion spreads, and black tie affairs without having to spend the usual overpriced amount for a full bottle that often goes unused. This well thought out and essential, upscale rental club has been highlighted in Refinery29, Glamour and The New York Times. Each member pays monthly dues of $18 to choose from a selection of over 70 colors from designers such as Dolce and Gabbana, Chanel, and Dior, to name a few.
Aronson shared her personal philosophy, which she referred to as the “four S’s” – style, sourcing, service and superior quality – when asked by an audience member about survival methods for thriving in the face of tough competitors. Both women emphasized the importance of getting traction and using such tools as Tumblr, Pinterest, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and Vine for continuous engagement with consumer and for consumer acquisition.
“Tie everything to revenue,” says Aronson, who reflected on knowing who the target audience is and the main selling point of the item. Applying social media with pragmatic business solutions are among the many steps to both women’s success.
Strum asked each for suggestions on branching out on your own if one had limited experience. Nand was adamant about having a roadmap and pacing oneself: “Not everything needs to be done today. Know what your priorities are.”
“Have determination and never give up,” Aronson added.
The overarching theme of the evening: entrepreneurship requires a tireless work ethic, a professional, upbeat attitude and the ownership of one’s future. All three participants are powerful women in an aggressive, uncertain workforce, and the two company founders are certainly giving some male entrepreneurs a run for their money.