Many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world started showing signs of being an entrepreneur at a very young age. With both parents as entrepreneurs in the garment and textile industry, Zara Terez Tisch had all of the makings of a young entrepreneur. Asked about her first ever venture, Zara, Founder of Zara Terez replied, “My earliest entrepreneurial venture was picking up rocks in my backyard and turning them for about $1 on my corner.” These painted rocks turned a profit, but this wouldn’t be her only profitable business.
Because of her parents’ careers, Zara understood the textile industry, but she wanted to take her own path and not just follow in her parents’ footsteps. Instead, Zara focused on marketing. After an internship with Coach, Zara took a job as a marketing associate with Marquis Jet.
Although she wanted to pursue a career in marketing, Zara admitted that fashion had “always been in my blood.” It was bound to come out through her creative mind in one way or another. After seeing a sign that read “Create Your Own Handbag,” Zara stumbled upon a way to let her creativity and knack for apparel combine into a business. Zara asked the manufacturer “If I come up with it, you can just make it? Can you make 100?” Later that night, Zara informed her parents that she would be starting a company.
Zara soon started Zara Terez as a leather handbag company. The brand was focused on allowing the customer to express themselves and their individuality. While leather and modernly fashionable on the outside, the bags had very unique flashes of color on the inside.
While teaming up with her best friend and Creative Director Amanda Schabes, they started making small pencil cases for kids in addition to their handbags with the same fun and unique interior. During a trade show, successful brands and large retail chains were very interested in her bags– not the leather handbags, but the small unique pencil cases. “We had spent so much time on the leather handbags, we didn’t realize that (the pencil case styles) spoke so well to our audience.”
Zara Terez now provides a full line of clothing made from designs they create themselves and all of which are made in New York. The success of the brand has allowed the founders to continue following their passion to allow others to display their unique style and creativity. Zara was recently named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in the retail category.
Entrepreneurs are often encouraged to think of an exit when starting a new business, but Zara is focused on perfecting her next design and enjoying what she gets to do.
Q: What is your end goal with Zara Terez?
A: “The best part about what I do is that I love what I do. I’m not looking for the end. I’m really taking it day by day…At this point, I don’t have an end goal, but what I do know is that tomorrow I want to make cooler designs than I have today.”
Tomorrow comes with cooler designs and the continuation of a passion for creativity, clothing, and others, as Zara Terez focuses as much on branding a positive message as they do creating unique clothes. As Caroline Moss describes in a featured article on Business Insider:
“But perhaps it’s the message of inclusivity that keeps her customers coming back. In fact, a huge sign rests above a funky love seat in the Zara Terez office that reads “You can sit with us,” a play on a popular quote from the film “Mean Girls” that declares the opposite. A message young girls may need to hear more often.”
Whether she chose entrepreneurship or it chose her, it’s clear that whoever made that choice, it was the right one. Zara is able to work every day with her best friend making unique designs that help express their creativity as well as those who will wear them.
Additional Interview Highlights
– About being married to an entrepreneur (David Tisch): “It’s really awesome. We get to come back at the end of our days and our conversations are full of constant innovation and thoughts about how we can both better ourselves in our venture and what we are working on.”
– “We are totally different than anything you’ve seen before.”
– Why being located in New York is a big advantage instead of a disadvantage due to the high level of competition.
– Hear why Zara says, “branding is everything.”
– How many hours do you spend a week working on your ventures or other entrepreneurship related projects? “This is my one and only venture. I’m working on this 28/8 if that was possible…The best part about it is that I really do love every second of it.”
– How much sleep do you get a night? “I try to get eight hours of sleep if possible, but that doesn’t always happen.”
– What do you do to relax in your free time? “I love a good meal. A good meal always makes me feel better.”
– What is the worst clothing idea you’ve ever had? “I made this bag once that was made out of velour. It had a little broach on it that was absolutely hideous.”
– If you could add one entrepreneur in the world to Zara Terez, who would it be and why? .”Ellen Degeneres, because we share the same values – honest, respect, positivity. She’s awesome and I think she would be an incredible asset to the Zara Terez team.”
Michael Luchies is an entrepreneur and passionate supporter of everything entrepreneurship. Michael is Cofounder of PitchJam and is National Growth and Programs Manager for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO). He has been covering entrepreneurship over the past 5 years and has been published on Under30CEO, Yahoo!, Yahoo! News, ThinkEntrepreneurship, PitchingGreatness, and other websites and publications.