2012 has been good to King Bey!

pepsi beyonceBeyoncé Lands a $50 Million Pepsi Deal. She has been named brand ambassador for Pepsi in a multi-year deal estimated at $50 million.

“Pepsi embraces creativity and understands that artists evolve,” Beyoncé said in a statement. “As a businesswoman, this allows me to work with a lifestyle brand with no compromise and without sacrificing my creativity.”



The Levo League Feature

I’ve been working hard with my business partner to get publicity for ShopRagHouse and so far we are so excited about all the love we have been getting from fashion bloggers and journalists. We have some exciting features coming down the pipeline that I will be keeping you guys up to date on. We’ve learned so much about startups in the last few months that  we started writing article sharing our wealth of knowledge with other people with an entrepreneurial spirit. We are so excited that we’ve teamed up with The Levo League (the go to spot for professional women looking for career advice) to publish our articles for the readers.

Check out our first post below!



Author : Joana Florez

Joana Florez and Bridgette Hylton were former roommates at Harvard Law School who left legal practice to launch ShopRagHouse.com, a fashion tech startup. Since launching their site in beta, they have amassed a wealth of knowledge about social media, marketing, lean startup principles, and coding. You can follow their journey on Twitter at @TheRagHouse.
read other articles by Joana Florez

It was in the throes of launching our own fashion line — taking a huge detour from legal practice — that the concept of ShopRagHouse.com was born. ShopRagHouse is an online platform that hosts competitions where everyone from emerging designers to fashion lovers with no design experience compete to have their designs produced and sold for a share of the profits. Only winning designs that receive sufficient pre-orders are produced and shipped to buyers.

The dream of starting our own business began back during our time in law school, when we would stay up late in our apartment tossing around ideas for potential startups in between our case law readings. Finally, after years of pitching back and forth, we knew we had found “the one,” and within a month, we were in the same city working out of our apartment around the clock on getting ShopRagHouse off the ground.

Even convinced that this idea would work we were well aware of the risk involved in the launch of a startup. In an attempt to minimize these risks, we implemented the Lean Startup concepts invented by Eric Reis. The idea behind the Lean Startup concept is not about being cheap, but rather avoiding waste in order to minimize financial loss.

Cutting Costs

We knew having a fantastic web platform was essential to capturing the market, so we were extremely discouraged when we got quoted six figures for building our dream website. Even if we pooled our savings and begged our parents to help us, that price tag just wasn’t feasible. So instead, we learned as much as we could about coding and web development and we budgeted $1,000 to see us through the first three months of doing business (excluding the costs of business formation) and we vowed to stick to it until we were ready to open for business officially. This mere $1,000 afforded us several coffee meetings, a down payment on our first dress sample, gas, buying our domain name, a few copies here and there, one business lunch, and, of course, building our website. Because of this early practice of penny pinching, at this point a business cost over $100 seems like a splurge to us. It’s almost become an obsession of ours to stay within budget — at least in part because one of us has a small child to put through college one day!

Speed Over Perfection

In true Lean Startup fashion, we decided to focus on speed rather than perfection. Getting our name and concept on the market as soon as possible was of paramount concern. Rather than working on ironing out all the kinks of our website, we chose to launch in beta, asking our early members to provide feedback and suggestions on how we can make the user experience more enjoyable. So far, this approach has been well received by members and has provided us invaluable information about the desires of potential customers and designers.

Testing the Business Model

One of the primary premises of the Lean Startup concept involves determining the viability of a business concept by putting the product/service before potential customers early on. Only if the product is well received should the business model be scaled. This helps us test our two most fundamental hypotheses: that people have a desire to design their own clothing and that there is, in fact, a consumer market for beautiful limited edition clothing designed by the everyday person and emerging designers. We do this by consistently requesting feedback from and interacting directly with our membership, which includes fashion bloggers, friends and family, and our Twitterfollowers, in order to gauge their interest as a metric for whether SRH should be scaled in the future.

It’s been several months since the formation of ShopRagHouse and our Lean Startup practices have already started to bear fruit. Earlier this month we were contacted by our first potential investor — someone who saw our website, understood our vision, and was willing to make the kind of investment in us that we know we deserve. While we don’t think we are ready to accept investments just yet, it is nice to know that dreams can still be built on a shoestring budget, determination and hard work.

Building Dreams

The Launch of ShopRagHouse

I’ve been beating around the bush for months about a secret  project I’ve been working on and I couldn’t be more thrilled to finally announce the launch of my fashion tech start-up, ShopRagHouse (currently in Beta)! I’ve taken a huge detour from legal practice and teamed up with my former law school roommate to work on the most exciting and exhilarating project we’ve ever undertaken.

ShopRagHouse is an online community that allows designers and fashion lovers to enter their designs into a competition. The designs that receive the most votes are then produced and sold on the site, with the winning designer -of course- sharing in the profits!

We really believe that anyone can be a designer – even two former lawyers with a penchant for dramatic colors and prints and high fashion at cutthroat prices and no former design skills whatsoever. That’s why we’ve teamed up with an amazing cadre of artists who can turn anyone’s fashion scratches into fashion sketches (we promise!).

Whether you’re a  fashion enthusiast that’s always wanted to design a piece or a design guru that has yet to catch your big break, we want to hear from you! You can register and upload designs to the site or email us at info@shopraghouse.com for more deets.

Happy Sketching!

Have You Met Vashtie?

Self-described jack of all trades, Vashtie, a.k.a Va$htie,  is my most current obsession. This past June, The Trini beauty was tapped to be Target’s guest style editor.

June is all about…<br /><br /> Summer Jams with Vashtie Kola.<br /><br /> own it now: necktie top. skirt. wedges.

Her Target collaboration is just one of a countless number of her high profile gigs.

To name a few:

She was the first woman to have designed an Air Jordan.

She has  a successful clothing  line sold at http://violettenewyork.com/


She was listed  as one of Vibe’s 31 Most Stylish People Under 31.

Staying BU$Y doing the things she loves, her life and career inspires me to no end!

For more on Vashtie, check out an episode of Vashtie TV:

Issa Rae Has Done it Again

By now, if you haven’t heard of Issa Rae, the name behind the absolute genius that is The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl, it’s time to come out from under the rock you have been living under. The award-winning webisode chronicles the adventures of Issa Rae’s character Jay, as she attempts to navigate through life, love and all things awkward.  I instantly fell in love with ABG after seeing myself in practically every scene from Season 1. It still remains to be seen whether Season 2 will be as big a knockout as the first season. However, Issa Rae has done it again today with the first installment of RATCHETPIECE Theatre, a bi-weekly vlog that “highlights some of [her] favorite ratchet songs, from past to present.”

Enjoy, and thank me later!


Oil Change

Imagine how you would feel if you had given someone a car and the recipient never bothered with car washes, oil changes or tune ups. When we fail to appreciate our own lives we are displaying the same sort of ungrateful behavior.

Whatever your religious beliefs may be, life, good health, and a sound mind are great gifts not bestowed upon everyone. Take a moment to determine whether your daily life reflects an attitude of gratitude.

Studies have suggested that cultivating an attitude of gratitude increases happiness by extracting the maximum satisfaction from ones circumstances. A common exercise  that can allow you to develop the practice of gratitude is keeping a gratitude journal.  This exercise consists of keeping a log of the things you are grateful for in your life. When life beats you up, pulling out the journal and reading through your log has a way of putting obstacles and setbacks into perspective.

Here are a few thing I am truly grateful for:

  1. A small circle of close friends that have proven to me time and time again that they will love and support me through setbacks and celebrations alike.
  2.  An unwavering faith in God that sustains me in times of trouble.
  3. Good health in spite of the fact that I don’t exercise nearly as much as I know I should ever.
  4. Summer is in full swing. If that isn’t something to rejoice about, I don’t know what is.

Beyonce.Solange.Blue Ivy.

Just the other day, I was having a conversation with my friend about how enamored I was with Solange’s summer box braids and that she was not just Beyonce’s little sister, but a budding fashion icon in her own right.

We were also discussing how awesome it would be if Beyonce would follow suit and rock a more natural hairstyle. So imagine my elation when these pictures surfaced on the internet today!

Source: INFphoto.com

They even managed to get a sneak peek of baby Carter’s sweet little face. Fuzzy, I know, but I believe it was a covert operation.

Those cheeks! I die!
Source: Iamsupergeorge.com

17 before 30?

I was just speaking to a friend from law school the other day and she dutifully informed me that we had been out of law school for a longer period of time than we had actually spent in law school. How’s that for a realization that time waits for no one?! I got to thinking about the list of things I wanted to do with my life before turning 30. On my 27th birthday, I had attempted to create my very own 30 17 before 30 bucket list of sorts.  Since its creation, back in January, I haven’t gotten much traction on continually crossing things off. I figure posting it here will help keep me accountable. So here goes nothing:

  1.  Return to Bocas del Toro, Panama
  2.  Grow my own food garden
  3. Eat raw for 2 weeks
  4. Knit a scarf   (pictures coming soon)
  5. Take a cooking class
  6. Sponsor a child
  7.  Take an antigravity yoga class
  8. Complete a pay it forward project
  9.  Sell an item on ebay (random I know, but it’s MY bucket list lol)
  10. Host a dinner party
  11. Complete a DIY furniture project
  12. Run a 10K
  13. Start a blog
  14. Have a picnic
  15. See a play on Broadway
  16. Join a bible study group
  17. Take a sewing class

I bet you’re wondering why my 30 before 30 is actually a paltry 17 before 30. I was having a hard time coming up with other things I absolutely want to do before my impending 30th.  If you guys have any suggestions, please please share!