Spotlight Interview: Dave Mattson

Dave Mattson - Sandler Systems, Inc

Dave talks about innovation, learning from customers, and success in sales.

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Spotlight Interview: David Allen

David Allen - Getting Things Done

David talks about GTD and how it can help you, your business, and your success.

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Spotlight Interview: Gordon Logan

Gordon Logan - Sport Clips

Gordon talks about Sport Clips and the success of the franchise model he built.

See The Full Interview


Ray Laniado
Roy Laniado
Main Merch
Founder & President

The story of Main Merch begins in the New York University dorm room of Roy Laniado, Main Merch founder and president, in the Spring of 2005. One afternoon while browsing eBay, Roy noticed a handful of products that he had sold while working at his father’s store, Bargain Beachwear. Realizing that these items were selling for a fairly higher price online, Roy decided that it would be worth the investment to try and sell goods online himself. After an initial purchase from Bargain Beachwear, Roy began selling on eBay as a personal seller.

MainMerch specializes in licensed, pop culture related apparel and merchandise. They sell them across several niche web store fronts.

MO: Was your early interest in entrepreneurship influenced by your father having his own business?



Azim Mohsin
Mohsin Momin and Azim Karedia
Benji Frank Eyewear

Benji Frank, America’s newest online sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses manufacturer, was founded by two friends – Azim Karedia, a graduate from University of Houston and Mohsin Momin, a Texas A&M graduate.

We were drawn to work together and create a company with a social mission of helping restore the vision to people in need based on unique events from our lives. Mohsin was inspired to start this company by his fiancée who is aspiring optometrist and will graduate in May 2013. While Azim was motivated by his grandfather who completely lost his vision in 2007.

MO: What inspired you to name your company Benji Frank?



Paul Biardi
Paul Birardi
ODIN New York

You’ve got to love the holidays. In New York City, it’s that time of year when famous department stores like Sak’s Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman build on their good will, pulling out all the stops to wow onlookers with awesome window displays based on cool and clever themes. Never fails: Gawkers are attracted to the window displays and foot traffic then flows into the stores. But the real challenge for all stores is carrying what prospective customers want to buy, and most stores don’t showcase high-flying window displays to help with that. Exceptional retail stores excel at attracting customers year round and I got the chance to talk with dynamic fashion retail entrepreneur Paul Birardi, who with his partner, Eddy Chai, founded ODIN New York, an ultra-hip menswear store known for its staff being as nice as the clothes are cool. Eight years later and three stores to date, not only is ODIN a success in the highly competitive, growing men’s category of luxury fashion, it’s cultivating its own lifestyle brand while continuously dazzling its shoppers with curated offerings from the likes of Thom Browne, Shipley & Halmos and Richard Chai to name a few. To top it all off, ODIN was a featured collection for The Shops at Target, for which Paul and Eddy delivered some twenty clothing and accessories pieces at wallet friendly prices Target is celebrated for. I spoke with Paul about the store’s origins, the role his business development skills play in ODIN’s success…and Norse Gods.

Sledge:  As ODIN’s founder-owners, you and your partner, Eddy Chai, have created one of the most successful fashion retail stores in the country. I’d like to start with you sharing with readers how the origin of ODIN came about. How did you and Eddy meet? What lead to your launch in 2004?



Lori Harris
Lori Harris
MaryJane's Shoes

Lori Harris opened Mary Jane’s in Park City, Utah on Valentine’s Day in 2004 to balance her love of fashion with her passion for business. Well known for her élan and elegance, Lori helps her customers look their best while drawing on many years of business experience to keep Mary Jane’s well-stocked with the latest styles of women’s apparel and accessories. After the success of Mary Jane’s on Park City’s chic Main Street, Lori opened up a second location in the Central West End in St. Louis, Missouri in 2008.

Gus: How has your background and experience helped contribute to the vision and success of Mary Jane’s boutiques?



Shirish Bohare
Shirish Bohare
Co-Founder & CEO is a style guide, fashion news and networking website. The website’s primary focus is not only to update the visitors but encourage them to create their own styling.

StyleStanza covers fashion news and updates, brands, products, styling tips, celebrity styling, fashion weeks, season and trend reports, movie inspired styling, style boards and beauty tips. The sign up process is easy and free. The members will have their profile page having their picture, information and their favorite fashion quotes. The most unique feature is the style chapter which enables the users to create their own style chapters with the pictures and articles of their choice. It can be shared on all major social networks. In addition, StyleStanza will provide expert advices to its members. This young start-up is having more than 20 experts on board, including fashion designers, stylists, writers, bloggers, analysts and consultants.

MO: What’s the difference between fashion and style?



Carlos Solorio
Carlos Solorio
Arden Reed

Carlos Solorio is the co-founder of Arden Reed, a custom menswear startup. Founded in 2008, Arden Reed aims to change the way menswear is created. They cut out the middle man to supply customers with high quality tailored suits and shirts. Arden Reed launched its online platform earlier this year on Kickstarter becoming the 12th most funded fashion project.

Carlos Solorio has an extensive resume. At the age of 23, he’s managed to travel the world, executed over $40 billion in transactions in Latin America and helped cofound Arden Reed.

MO: What attracted you to Kickstarter and why do you think that you found such great success through this type of funding platform?



Christina Daves
Christina Daves
CastMedic Designs

Christina Daves, the visionary behind the CastMedic brand, conceived the idea while wearing an orthopedic boot following a foot fracture.

As a businesswoman who previously owned an upscale boutique she began searching for products on the market to dress-up the unattractive, heavy black medical boot. With nothing available, she began designing cuffs and accessories to take the boot from a casual affair to the office to formal events with styles for both children and adults.

CastMedic Designs has created MediFashions to help the injured look and heal their best and experience, The Healing Power of Fashion®

MO: Do you really believe that fashion has the power to heal?



Eve Cantor
Eve Cantor
Shop Your Closet

A self-described “shopaholic,” Eve Cantor started her company — which helps women rediscover or maximize their fashion choices from their existing outfits — as she mourned the death of her father. Eve said she wanted to honor her dad by abstaining from dancing, playing music or shopping for one year. Because of that, Eve was forced to find a new look through clothing she already owned. “I love to shop and I couldn’t shop for a year,” she said. “I had to shop my own closet and work with pieces I had.”

Eve, a former personal shopper for Barneys New York and fashion boutique owner in Chicago, takes her discerning eye to her clients’ closets. Over three hours, she will pull out those shirts or dresses long buried in the back of the closet and find new ways to coordinate them for a new outfit. If an item needs to be adjusted, Eve will bring it to her seamstress.

MO: Can you talk about how an exercise of mourning and reflection led you on an entrepreneurial journey?



Ivan Lim
Ivan Lim
Founder & Managing Director

Vinspi is an online retailer of custom tailored clothing for men. Instead of going on long shopping mall trips trying to find off the rack clothes that fit right, Vinspi allows men to purchase personally tailored clothing that fits their individual shape from the comfort of home.

MO: How has your background and experience contributed to the vision and development of Vinspi so far?



Venanzio Ciampa
Venanzio Ciampa
The Promotion Factory

Venanzio Ciampa is a marketing and media expert. He is the president of The Promotion Factory, a New York City based full-service integrated marketing agency specialized in the field of luxury goods, fashion apparel, accessories, entertainment and technology.

The Promotion Factory is a well-established 360* communication agency that specializes in the fields of Luxury Goods, Accessories, Fashion Apparel, Entertainment and Technology. The company’s goal is to create innovative ideas and strategies for clients through efficient marketing plans combined with traditional and digital media, public relations and special events.

MO: What makes The Promotion Factory stand out as a new breed of communication agency?



Entrepreneur Susan Breitbart
Susan Breitbart
Boxes with Attitude

Susan Breitbart, owner and founder of Boxes with Attitude, has always been an artist at heart. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in interior design.

After enjoying a long and successful career as a licensed interior designer, she decided to retire and become a stay at home mom. Susan’s creative spirit never left her and it wasn’t long before she found a new passion.

Boxes with Attitude is a company that takes personal invitations from life’s milestones to create a timeless keepsake. Examples are weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, quinces, and baby announcement . She places the invitations in a shadowbox that is custom designed and hand painted to enhance the theme of the invitation or event. They are given as gifts to the people who are hosting the event from friends and relatives to memorialize their event forever!

MO: Can you share where the idea for Boxes with Attitude came from?

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