Our Fashion Founders Event: A Night of Inspiration and Connection

fashion founders event for entrepreneurs

We recently had our first ever event for The Sales Concept at the amazing new space The Mezz, located at the Coworkrs in the financial district. The event was called Fashion Founders, in which we featured different fashion entrepreneurs who shared their entrepreneurial journey toward becoming a "fashion founder". 

Layana Aguilar

The night was filled with inspiration and connection as we spoke with these four young ladies on growing a business and the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. 

The speaker panel included Project Runway and Project Runway All-Star Layana Aguilar, who spoke to us about the trials and tribulations of starting a fashion brand.

She also described how she's managed to leverage her exposure from being on Project Runway, but also that nothing is handed to you after being on the show.  Despite the great publicity she received from being on the show she's still working incredibly hard to really gain momentum with her brand. 

We also spoke with Nicole Giordano from Startup Fashion about how she was able to grow a highly engaged community of fashion entrepreneurs.  

Startup Fashion started off as a blog that she used to connect with fellow designers so they could vent about the struggles or starting a business. Over time the relationships she organically built quickly grew into a huge audience that she was able to turn into a paid community. 


Nicole attributes the majority of building her community through her truthful voice. Being honest, vulnerable and sharing what she was going through enabled her to connect with thousands around the world in a true and authentic way. 

Founder and CEO Jia Wertz from Studio 15 had a similar thought process in starting her business off with a blog. Studio 15 slowly grew into a large engaged audience which Jia then turned into an online destination for affordable yet high-quality dresses.  In addition, her company donates a portion of sales to a microfinance company who offers loans to women in Uganda wanting to start their own business.  Jia's fashion industry expertise of over 18 years working for very well known names has helped pave the way for her, although she mentions how difficult it can still be at times. 

Coming from a corporate background, Jia talked about how she made the shift three years ago but she wished she had started much sooner in career. "Just start", was her piece of advice for anyone looking to start a business. 

fashion founders event

And finally we spoke with Maia Wojcik the co-foundr of the Fashion Tech Forum who spoke all about what's going on within fashion and tech.

Her candid humor and fun attitude about this topic had the crowd bursting with laughter. Tech is often a somewhat grey area in the fashion industry yet it's one of the biggest areas of innovation that investors are flocking towards. 

Fashion Tech Forum was a way to bridge this gap and bring together people of both industries. Held each year in NYC, the FTF features well known fashion leaders in fashion and tech to discuss the newest technologies, as they are obviously ever-evolving each season. 

Each speaker brought their own voice, experience, and expertise about what it took for them to grow a successful fashion business. Our guests were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn from some industry experts and also to network and socialize with like-minded entrepreneurs and designers. 


photos by Heidi Garcia Photography