***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.
Name: Parisa Pan Wang, Founder
Company: Love Affair Handbag by ParisaNYC
Launch Date: 5/18/2016
Motto: “Onward ever; backward never.”
What made you decide that owning and running a business was the right choice for you?
Passion and the urge to live a creative life. Artistic expression was not a warmly accepted ideal during my childhood because the arts were seen as a waste of time and as an impediment to academic success in China. I didn’t openly pursue art until I attended college in U.S. However, I always found opportunities to immerse myself in drawing, designing and creating things growing up. My desire to become a fashion designer never fades entering college and pursuing a business degree. Instead, it grows even stronger and deeper. I could have followed my parents’ insistence and a traditional career path. However, at the end of the day, I could not help but feel empty and lost. I asked myself, is this the path that would make me happy? Will I wake up every morning excited to go to work? Will my work have any lasting value in the world? I imagined what I would tell my grandchildren one day when they asked about my life. I could tell them that I chose a safe and responsible career choice for me at the time. But I would much rather tell them that when I was young, I decided to take a risk to follow my dream and have never looked back since. I chose to stay true to myself, therefore I chose to pursuing the things I truly love and make it a lifelong pursuit. After work experiences with 3.1 Phillip Lim, J Crew and Pologeorgis Furs, I started my business venture in 2015.
Describe a day in the life of ParisaNYC
A day in the life of ParisaNYC starts with morning yoga or workout at 7am. I finish up exercising and breakfast in around an hour and be at my desk around8am answering and writing emails. I usually draft out the day’s tasks the night before so that I can follow my calendar to tackle each task one by one that day.
The current stage of the business involves a lot of logistic and inventory management, store and market fairs research, social media marketing and etc. I will start two of my interns this week and slowly assign them some responsibilities to get them familiar with the brand and operation.
Depending on the day, I meet with potential collaborators, go to speaker and networking events, and do store researches.
Why did you create the #LoveAffairCollection?
Disappointed in a love affair, I found consolation and empowerment among my group of friends. Overwhelmed by their graciousness and the emotional support I received from these amazing women, I was compelled to spread an equally encouraging and supportive message of hope to others. That’s why I created the Love Affair line, a collection of high quality leather handbags that encourage all women to truly love their independence and to never shirk in when the going gets tough.
I created the Love Affair Handbag to further inspire women to seek relentless inner courage in the face of adversity, and to regale in the throes of loving relationships that bring out the best in each and every one of them, one handbag at a time.
Love Affair Collection is a line of handbags capturing 5 stages of a relationship to inspire courage and confidence. Find out more at: www.parisanyc.com
Congratulations on your successful Kickstarter campaign. What insight can you share for anyone considering a Kickstarter campaign?
First and foremost, you got to have a good product and a video that catches people’s attention. The video could be funny, sarcastic or short and sweet. Here is where your creativity comes in.
Then start early. Ideas are only ideas without execution. Get out there and tell people about your ideas. Craft a landing page and create an email signup list to acquire your early adaptors. Identify your target customers and build your social media around them. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, create a business account and start to get followers. I went to many pitch nights, social networking events and speaker events during my campaign to spread the word. Any opportunity I could stand up and pitch my idea for couple minutes whether it is Q&A for guest speakers or talk to people one-on-one, I would do it.
Last but not least, plan to hit your target early. Whether it is to set your target low but practical or to persuade your friends and family to back early on, give yourself a deadline and plan to hit your target in the first week of your campaign. Then the party really starts after you hit your target. I also realized that the amount of your backers and sales orders really pick up after you hit your target.
My Kickstarter campaign can be accessed through here: www.parisanyc.net
What are your go-to resources for managing your business?
The SCORE network is my go-to resources for managing my business. SCORE has an impactful and resourceful board of business mentors who provide free advices and answers to my business questions and concerns. All the mentors on the board offer genuine, insightful and truthful suggestions to your business hoping that you would succeed. It is the best and free resources I found in the city. I couldn’t be more thankful and grateful for their time and support and highly recommend it to you. You can find out more about it here: https://www.score.org
Fast forward to July 2017, what would you like to be sharing about ParisaNYC?
Fast forward to July 2017, I will be designing for Love Affair 2018 Spring/Summer Collection. The design and development go from July to September and selling period goes from September to October. November to January will be production period and delivery to stores/customers afterwards.
I am also looking into opportunities to bring the Love Affair to Asia market and introduce a jewelry line in the near future.
Shout out time — this is your chance to highlight colleagues, collaborators and supporters.
First of all, big shout out to Tom Greenbaum from SCORE network for his genuine support and insightful suggestions to both the long-term and short-term planning for my business.
Secondly, I’d like to give a shout out to my incredible filmmaker Caleb Suttles for helping me with my film planning and making. Without his help and support, I wouldn’t be able to tell my story in the most vivid and effective way.
Last but not least, I’d like to thank all my backers and supporters to believe in my project and the mission of Love Affair to inspire courage and confidence. At ParisaNYC, we don’t believe in making handbags for mere functionality sake. We make them so that you can hold and showcase a tangible object of strength and beauty. With your support, we can continue to spread its message to support and uplift women of the world.
Thank you, Parisa.