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Áslaug Magnúsdóttir via Getty
Last night we attended the French Institute Alliance Française's "Power of Style: The Entrepreneurs" series, where Áslaug Magnúsdóttir, co-founder and CEO of Moda Operandi, Stephanie von Watzdorf, founder and creative director of Figue, and Christiane Lemieux, founder and creative director of DwellStudio, talked the art of the start up.
All three curators/creators appeared firm believers in edgy footwear and similar business practices—namely that "people don't want 500 choices... A study has shown that after seven choices, interest drops off," as Christiane put it. And, with that, we give you the top seven tips for creating a successful start-up. — Shannon Perry
1. The consumer is what matters most according to Christiane: "It's the age of the consumer. No problem is too small [...] I like to personally answer tweets."
2. Story-telling doubles as branding: Stephanie keeps the authenticity of Figue by doing what she's always done, "I've been searching for beautiful things my whole life... I share my eye."
3. Get physical. Dwell Studio recently opened a store front in SoHo and Figue has one in the works. Moda Operandi hosts events and makes sure every detail with orders, including packaging, is perfect. Áslaug adds that, "for some of our customers, we do sketches of the dress they just ordered."
4. Always have a motto for bad days and good days:
Bad: "Play ping-pong." Good: "Put on beautiful heels." — Áslaug
Bad and Good: "Everything happens for a reason." — Stephanie
Bad: "One foot in front of the other." Good: "Savour this." — Christiane
5. It's a family business. Christiane keeps her entire life within a radius of four blocks, "It was Earth Day today so I had to run [to her kid's school] and play with baby squirrels and then come back to work." All three ladies carry on with the support and encouragement of their husbands. "My husband helped come up with the name of Moda [Operandi]," Áslaug chimes in.
6. Go Blonde: No, not really, but we couldn't help but notice the bevy of ashen beauties before us, including moderator Melissa Ceria, director of Art de Vivre.
7. Any other rules? "Wine is the rule," dictates Stephanie.
· Allow Karlie Kloss to Demonstrate Modeling, Moda Operandi Style [Racked]
· Moda Operandi's Áslaug Magnúsdóttir On the Best Lipstick, Designer, and Trend of 2012 [Racked]