CollegeFashionista is a platform for those who are passionate about the latest college fashion, beauty, decor and lifestyle trends on campuses around the world. One of the founders, Melissa Levin, talks to us about starting her own business, how she got there, and how to set yourself up for success.
What gave you the idea to start your business?
“The business spurred out of a personal project my sister and business partner, Amy, started her senior year of college. While attending Indiana University, she noticed the incredible and inspiring senses of style her fellow classmates had. She decided to go around campus, take photos of these Fashionistas/os and put them on a blog. After seeing the popularity of the blog with IU students, we decided to try it out at five other campuses in August of 2009. Five campuses turned to 50 turned to 3,000 contributors on 550+ international colleges that are now represented on CollegeFashionista.com!”
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
“Every day is not sunshine and rainbows as an entrepreneur. Your hours are 24/7, are forced to wear many hats, take on roles that are often outside your expertise and learn on the road. But, despite all of that, being able to wake up every morning and truly love what you do is a gift. Everyone has to work. But being able to work on something that is so integral and a part of me is truly special. It is the fuel that ignites my fire and passion as an entrepreneur.”
What have your learned (about yourself or business) throughout this process that surprised you?
“I have learned how important it is to surround yourself not only with a good team, but the best team. A good rèsumè is only part of the equation. The intangibles are as (if not more) important. You need a team that is as driven, passionate and believe in your company as much as you do.”
Any tips for young entrepreneurs?
“Just start. It’s okay if you don’t have it all figured out (no one does). But don’t let the fear of failing or not being perfect stop you from even beginning.”
How has the Fuksa Khorshid team helped?
“Lema has always been my our #1 advocate, an incredible mentor and unbelievable friend. I had the opportunity to clerk under her while in law school. To be able to witness firsthand how hard work and passion leads to success was an invaluable experience. After I graduated from law school, I was torn whether to go the traditional lawyer route or pour my energy full-time into CollegeFashionista. Lema’s advice to take the risk was the deciding factor for me in going the non-traditional route and take CollegeFashionista to the next level. Her intellect and wisdom continues to help our company from both legal and business perspectives.”