Liza Kindred, Founder of Third Wave Fashion. Liza is a serial entrepreneur who has been fully submerged in both the fashion and the tech worlds. Third Wave Fashion is a company that combines both passions by helping fashion tech startups and the brands and investors who want to connect with them.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: People who are completely, unabashedly themselves. It’s not easy for us as imperfect humans to let our light shine. I love seeing people who lean into who they are, no matter how different or unexpected. Some of my favorite people to learn about are legendary editor Diana Vreeland, photographer Bill Cunningham, venerable entrepreneur Richard Branson and hip hop empresario / vegan / meditator Russell Simmons.
Q: Why are you an entrepreneur?
A: It’s part of trying to let my own light shine in the world. I love helping smart people turn great ideas into viable businesses, and to help great companies leverage these small and medium businesses towards more success for everyone.
Q: What was a defining moment in your career?
A: When my first business failed. Opening a fashion forward clothing boutique in the midwest was at once the best and worst idea ever. I call it my “baby business”; I cut my teeth on all of the lessons that I learned from that experience. I’m also not nearly as scared of failure as most people; I’ve held the crushing weight of it and bounced back to be happier than ever. I’m smarter, more experienced, and less afraid as a result of it.
Q: How is your company different from your competitors?
A: We’re a unique business. Someday, we will likely have direct competitors, but for right now, our challenges stem more from educating clients about what we do. We do have a few key qualities that I believe set us apart: we’re smart, we’re honest, we’re nice, and we work very hard. These things seem so simple, but it’s easy (especially in NYC) to try to be savvy or sophisticated or cutting edge and lose sight of what I believe are the qualities that build the most solid foundation for a business.
Q: Where do you see your company in the next five years?
A: Fashion tech is an exciting space to work in right now, but I am particularly interested in how the trends shaping this world will trickle up and broaden out to affect that way that people shop for everything on line. It will be interested to see how we broaden and grow in that direction!
Q: What’s next for your company?
A: We’re starting to work directly with more big brands, publishers, and investors to help them find the best fashion tech startups for partnerships, acquisition, and investments. We also have a couple of huge announcements about the fashion tech space coming up in the new year. Anyone interested should subscribe to our mailing list or join us on social media!
Q: How did you finance your business when it was at the early stage? (Self-funded, crowd-funded, Angel Investor, VC)
A: This business is still in the early stage (we’re just over a year old), and I self-financed it with the sale of my shares in my last company. We’re a services company, so in our current incarnation, we’re not a good fit for outside funding. In other businesses that I’ve started, managed, or advised, I’ve been involved in VC and angel funding, debt financing (loans), and bootstrapping. They each have their own pro’s and con’s, that’s for sure.
Q: Tell me something about yourself that we don’t know already.
A: I’m the single mother of a teenage girl; we call ourselves “Team Awesome”.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure? (Real Housewives, Chocolate, 50 shades of Grey, etc.
A: Bourbon. Also, I love climbing into bed with my daughter, eating delivery Indian food, and working our way through our Hulu queue.
Q: Describe a time you failed. What did you learn from that experience?
A: See above!
Q: What is your favorite mobile app?
A: I’d be lying if I didn’t say Instagram. The experience reminds me of the early days of Flickr… I get to glimpse into the lives of people I know, love, or admire.
Q: What do you do to help focus?
A: Don’t interrupt me if you see me in this position: jacket off, hair piled on top of my head, headphones blaring, two bottles of water and a cup of coffee next to me, staring at my computer and tapping my foot. It means I am focused. ;-)
Q: Your favorite trend in fashion right now is……
A: Nail art! It’s beauty, but I love the way that everyone at any income level can express themselves. We recently launched a new startup called Lacquerous (I’m a co-founder) that rents high-end lacquer, and learning about the world of nails has been really eye-opening for me.
Q: Which fashion tech startups should we be sitting up and taking notice of?
A: I love our clients, and if we’re working with someone, it’s because we believe in them. Outside of our clients, I love Poshmark, the shopping party app with a huge community. They have a whip-smart founding team, and they really love their customers. I’m excited about Vente Privee, the fantastic French flash sale company that launched here in the US a year ago; they really do things the right way from both an editorial and business perspective. I’m currently also very excited about the augmented reality app, Layar, and several other of the resale sites, including MaterialWrld, Wiseling and Threadflip.
Q: Any words of advice for up & coming founders who are trying to get their products/ventures noticed?
A: First of all: know what’s out there! And then, know where you sit in comparison. I believe that there are several key building blocks towards a good business model: a focus on community, a strong editorial voice, smart use of technology and easy user experience being among them. People want to write about and invest in good, solid businesses. Make sure that you have a unique idea and a solid foundation first — and the rest will be much easier.