Age || 23
Company Name || Quell
Job Title || Founder
Company Start Date || January 2018
Years living in New York || 4
Company website || quell nyc
What did you want to be as a child?
When I was in sixth grade I had a really great English teacher who made me love writing. From then on, I dreamt of being a journalist at a fashion magazine in New York City. I didn’t end up in journalism, but hey I made it to New York.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting Quell?
My dad always instilled in me the importance of being a self-starter and working for yourself. He always pushed me to find something that I was passionate about and then build a business around it.
How do you define success?
Success to me is about self-fulfillment and the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve done the best work of which I am capable.
What made you interested in starting your own online shop?
After years of interning and working in the fashion industry, I began to educate myself on the negative environmental impacts overall waste and overconsumption of resources that go hand-in-hand with fashion. I found that the fashion industry is actually the second largest polluter in the world (second to oil)!
At the time I was working at INA, a vintage designer consignment shop, and every day I was surrounded by clothing that was getting the chance at a second life. I was already spending my day browsing through vintage clothing and on the weekends I’d do the same. So Quell felt like a really natural way to fuse my love of vintage clothing with my desire to promote sustainability. I knew that I wanted to share the idea that shopping second-hand is actually a really easy way to avoid buying into harmful production methods and reduce the amount of clothing that will sit in landfills. Plus, it’s usually a lot less expensive than shopping full retail.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting out?
I am definitely a perfectionist and it took me awhile to feel comfortable releasing content into the world without it being completely polished to my liking. But I’ve realized that I have to start somewhere. Quell is still really young, so if I’m going to be making and learning from my mistakes, now is the time to do it.
What is your go-to motivational quote?
“You get what you focus on so focus on what you want.”
What is the hardest part about being your own boss?
The hardest part of being my own boss is finding balance and time for myself. I have my day job as a personal shopper, but then I come home from work every day and spend my time that I would normally be watching Netflix working on Quell. On the weekends and even when I travel, my main priority is going to vintage shops and taking photos for social content. But at the end of the day I’m passionate about Quell and it’s worth the investment in myself and my business to give up some of my free time.
Do you have a personal motto?
Good can always be better.
What is your process for finding and choosing the clothing to sell?
I love the hunt of vintage shopping. So I spend the majority of my time looking at vintage clothing online and spend my weekends digging through vintage stores in the city. Once I find two or three pieces that I’m completely in love with, I try to find other items that have the same aesthetic. I usually think in terms of mini collections, so I’ll have about 5-10 different pieces all with the same general vibe.
I also try to build relationships with other people who own vintage clothing shops. I like to see where they source their items and what their process is to see if there's something I could be doing better.
Which women inspire you?
My two older sisters who are the light and love of my life and taught me everything I know about being a strong, supportive and badass woman!
How do you overcome moments of self-doubt?
I think it’s super normal to doubt yourself while starting a new business. I always defeat doubt with positive self talk. I don’t even give myself another option but success. When you create a plan B in your head, you’re just subconsciously setting yourself up for failure.
How do you handle situations where you feel overwhelmed?
I’m a planner, so when I feel overwhelmed my go-to is to write everything I need to do down on paper. Then I plan out my day hour-by-hour based on how long I think each task will take me. This gives me a schedule to work off of and make everything seem more manageable.
What is your workspace like?
I usually work at my apartment in my living room. I definitely prefer to work in clean, familiar spaces with frequent coffee breaks.
What are some of your goals moving forward for Quell?
This year I want to align Quell with other small business that have a core aspect of sustainability. I want to become more involved in making positive environmental changes in my local community to begin a bigger conversation on fashion and sustainability. I am also looking into curating a selection of secondhand home and lifestyle items for Quell.
How has your background helped you with this venture?
Interning and working in the fashion industry gave me a really strong basis of brand knowledge to be able to select sellable, high quality pieces for Quell. I also have experience working in ecommerce, so the idea of an online shop didn’t feel so daunting to me. But, more than anything, I’ve always been really passionate about clothing and after spending so much time around vintage items I became really interested in the lives and stories that vintage clothing carry with them.
What advice would you give to other women trying to enter your field?
The best thing you can do is to find people who are doing what you want to do, but better. And then if you can, try to pick their brain and ask as many questions as you can!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.