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!

 

ShopRagHouse

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

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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!

London Fashion Week Favorite

London Fashion Week has come and gone and while I couldn’t make the trek across the Atlantic, the merger of social media/technology in the fashion industry has made me feel as though I had a front row seat at all the shows.

For those of you who haven’t been glued to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter ect following LFW, I wanted to share my favorite emerging label, Peter Pilotto.

As if  further evidence of the proliferation of  the fashion-technology fusion was needed, the design duo behind Peter Pilotto had a computer program specifically developed to generate the kaleidoscopic prints used in the collection. The bold patterns are reminiscent of the summer’s tribal print craze combined with a traditional Nordic twist.

Suffice it to say- J’ADORE!

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Current Obsession: Fashion Illustrator Angeline Melin

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working around the clock on the launch of a new venture. Today, I ran a google search for fashion sketch inspirations and came across the work of  a Parisian illustrator by the name of Angeline Melin.

Her talent has landed her collaborations with some of the greatest names in the fashion and editorial industry.

Do you love her work as much as I do?

 

I’ve Missed You…

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I’ve been a bit incognito here at Love Button for the last few weeks. I’ve missed writing and interacting with my readers! Figured I would let you guys in on what’s going on with me. I’ve been burning the midnight oil on a project I’m working on with a close friend of mine. Both lifetime fashion enthusiasts, we’ve joined forces to launch a venture that seeks to revolutionize the fashion industry by turning the status quo on its head.

I can’t wait to reveal all the deets here when the time comes! Until then, if you are or know any emerging or struggling fashion designers, get in touch! I can be reached at whereisthelovebutton@gmail.com.

Water Color Craze

Fashion imitates art with the proliferation or water color print attire. This fashion staple can easily be dressed up or down and worn from day to night.

My favorites water color garments are made in lightweight, breezy fabrics, which are essential during the blistering heat of summer in sunny South Florida.

Check out my water color picks:

Fashion Fave: Chartreuse

I’ve added a new word to my vocabulary! According to Wikipedia, “chartreuse is a color halfway between yellow and green that was named because of its resemblance to the green color of one of the French liquers called green chartreuse.”

It’s the perfect pop of color to brighten up any outfit and mood.

I’ve finally figured out how to artfully collage images together. Hope you love my Chartreuse Love Board as much as I do!

Blogger Notes:

1. Jason Wu is two for two with this gown! His first hit gown, you ask? Michelle Obama’s inaugaural dress.

2. Just another reason I heart Pinterest.

3. Looking to add a splash of color to your home? How’s this Chartreuse Bead Print found on Etsy.

4. Impress guests with this snazzy  wedding invite by Kate Erands.

Congrats Solange!

Solange is the new face of Madewell, J.Crew’s younger/hipper sister store.  This is her first major contract with a fashion label and I couldn’t be happier for her!

Madewell’s Fall selection includes a variety of bold prints and textures that perfectly compliment Solange’s eclectic style. I call that a match made in style heaven!

Check out this sneak peek of their campaign video:

Fashion Inspiration: Victoria Beckham

Who would have ever thought former Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham, would go on to become the fashion maven that she is? I mean, come on, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane.

at

 

The group’s style went from bad…

…to worse!

Fast forward, 15 years and Victoria has completely revamped her style.

In addition to her personal style, she has become a world class fashion designer.

Here’s a sample of the Fall 2012 Victoria by Victoria Beckham collection.

Source: style.com via Joana on Pinterest
 
Source: style.com via Joana on Pinterest
Source: style.com via Joana on Pinterest
Source: style.com via Joana on Pinterest

Source: style.com via Joana on Pinterest

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Victoria knows what I want, what I really, really want. Corny, I know, but it was an obvious one, forgive me!

For Crop Top Enthusiasts

The crop top trend has quickly become a summer fashion staple. However, done wrong, this trend can be a major fashion faux pas.  Keep it classy by pairing crop tops with high waisted bottoms. The crop top/high waisted combo allows a small amount of skin to peek through rather than exposing the whole shabang.

Here are a few examples of the style worn properly:

Source: rstyle.me via Joana on Pinterest

Source: fifikaines.com via Joana on Pinterest

 

Remember, ladies, rather than following trends blindly, always dress for your body type. This look is definitely not intended for universal application.

Crop top enthusiast?  Shop the trend at Modcloth, Asos, and TopShop.