Entrepreneur Profile: Katherine Yarbrough, Chic and Beautiful
Independent’s Entrepreneur Profiles celebrate people out there changing the world every day through their ventures. We ask each entrepreneur a few questions to give us a little insight into their vision of the future, and their take on building a company.
This month, we feature Katherine Yarbrough. Her venture, Chic and Beautiful, acknowledges that weight change is accompanied by a need for a new wardrobe, a challenge which can be pricy and discouraging for most women. Chic and Beautiful is working to create a place for online clothing exchange, accompanied by an online wellness community where women can share healthy eating tips, exercise plans, recipes, and much more.
What does she need from you, the community? Katherine is searching for a talented Designer/ Web Developer who can realize the vision of Chic and Beautiful and help to move the startup in the right direction by creating a web presence that is both beautiful and powerful. The ideal candidate would be creative, motivated, and be willing to work on a flexible schedule (details to be discussed).
If this sounds like you, or if you have contacts with the right profile and experience who are interested in learning more, contact Katherine at Chicandbeautiful.bb-at-gmail.com
Stay tuned to hear updates about Katherine and her work with Chic and Beautiful as they become available.
Questions for Katherine:
Q: What Does Your Company Do?
A: Chic and Beautiful is a clothing exchange that allows women to buy and sell their clothing inexpensively. It’s an easy way to replace your wardrobe! We focus on serving women who have gained or lost weight. Our tagline is “Be Beautiful” because we believe that every woman deserves to feel beautiful in her own skin. Eventually, there will be a community layer to the site that will include a blog and a features that allow women to sign on, encourage one another, and post about their weight loss and exercise goals. We’ll also have Ph.D.’s and R.D.’s join in as freelance writers. In the future, we plan to have recipe exchanges and workout tips. So really, it will be more than a clothing exchange, it’ll be an entire wellness community.
Q: When Did You Start Your Company? Why?
A: I started at Startup Weekend Stamford, but the idea came from when I was standing in front of the closet with one of my close friends. She’s struggled with weight gain caused in part by medications (she’s had multiple knee surgeries). She said to me: “What’s the point of losing weight if I have to replace my wardrobe? It’s too expensive.” And so I had been thinking about that for a few months before I finally came to Startup Weekend and pitched my idea.
A: I was planning to pitch. I had never heard of Startup Weekend before, but I’m a Teach for America alumni and it was featured in one of their communications. Actually, Startup Weekend Hartford had been featured but I missed the deadline to attend. When I looked for other events in the area I found Startup Weekend Stamford. I remember being very nervous after thinking about it for days – I almost dropped out because I didn’t know what to expect.
Q: But You Ended up Taking Home Second Place!
A: Haha, yeah. It was surprising, and also really gratifying. Now, there’s a lot of work to do, so it’s important to kick things into gear.
Q: What Are Your Funding Sources?
A: I guess you could say I’m self-funded, because our initial website work was out of my pocket. For now, I’m working on refining our business model before actively fund-raising.
Q: Tell Me a Little Bit About The Team That Helped to Launch Chic & Beautiful at Startup Weekend Stamford?
A: I got to work with a wonderful team of really talented people. I’m thinking of initially running this out of my basement, so the distance is a challenge (I live in Bloomfield). However, it is nice to know that I have that team as a support system to collaborate with as the business grows.
Q: So You’re Looking for a Website Designer?
A: I would love to have one. I’m with web.com right now but their website is just too plain. It’s not very creative and I’ve had them re-do it, and this one’s better, but it’s still not what I’m looking for. Since this is a web-based business, the online presence needs to be impressive.
Q: What Have the Top 3 Challenges Been in Your Startup Process?
A: Oh gosh. The website, because I have no website skills. That’s been major because it’s a web-based business, so the online presence is very important.
And then… figuring out how to get funding. I just don’t know where to go, I don’t know the people to find, I don’t know if I’m just supposed to email out my business plan, or if I just pitch it out at certain events. So I just feel kind of lost on how to find funding.
This last one sounds a little strange, but… maintaining motivation. It’s very stressful, and some days it seems like a really great idea, and other days it seems like it’s not going to work. And it’s not just me either, I have a Fiancé, so there’s a wedding, job changes, finishing Graduate school, both of us finishing Graduate school actually. So even though we don’t have kids, there’s still a lot of responsibility.
Q: Define Entrepreneur.
A: I have been thinking about this a lot. I think an entrepreneur is someone who sets a new path. There are other businesses and other ventures out there, but an entrepreneur is really someone who has the desire and the resilience to pave their own path.
Q: Read Any Good Books Lately?
A: I’m currently reading the Startup manual that I received from Startup Weekend (“The Startup Owners Manual: The Step By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company” by Steve Blank & Bob Dorf) so that’s pretty good. Other than that, I’m getting a lot of guidance from articles that I find online.
Q: As Far as Articles, Where Do You go to Read?
A: I really like Entrepreneur.com and the Whiteboard, of course. I’ve read nearly every article that you guys publish. Just recently, I found Inc.com. Their articles are also pretty informative. When I put my focus on the business, I like to check out other clothing exchange sites to determine what I think I could do differently. I also check out Banana Republic quite often. They’ve got a great outlook on practical style and a good theme.
Q: What is Your Advice for an Entrepreneur Starting Out?
A: Don’t give up, even though you may want to. It’s overwhelming, so make sure that you have a group of people that you can talk to. I’m glad that I started at Startup Weekend because there’s a network of people that I can fall back on if I have any questions. Making sure that you have a support network is definitely important.
Q: What is Your Favorite Entrepreneurship Quote?
I like “We fear the things we want the most.” I especially like my mom’s response to that quote: ”Feel the fear and face it anyway.”