Guest post by Christin Chan of ShopitUPchic.com
What should you do when you suddenly find yourself a casualty of a failing economy? An answer to this was anything but obvious, and I struggled to find one shortly after my friend Katie and I were laid off from what were supposed to be dream jobs with an online shoe retailer. At the time we had two options before us: take our experiences from our previous jobs and attempt to become employees again (if possible) or take a gamble and become competitors ourselves. We knew that choosing the latter entailed taking, quite probably, the greatest risk in the face of an unstable economy; yet, in the end, we did anyway.
We did it because we knew we that we were ‘in the right,’ so to speak—that we had the skills, the knowledge, and the passion necessary for opening up an online retail business. More than that, we had confidence in the idea that we were truly going to be introducing a new kind of shopping experience to the fashion-forward customer. This we believed to be particularly true in terms of the sorts of brands that we were going to be offering. Both Katie and I had, and still have, a great love for travel, and in our travels we had developed an appreciation of the brands of both established and emerging designers from around the world. We hoped to share this sense of appreciation with our future customers and so made it so that the site focuses not only on domestic products but also on international ones.
Of course, we believed that our true claim to originality was with the concept behind the sister site to ShopitUPchic.com: Iwantyouroutfit.com. Here, we believed that we had what could be the avant-garde shopping experience and an answer to the stress that some people have of ‘shopping the unknown.’ It was designed to be a site where customers could rent styles and brands based on various membership levels and without any additional need to buy. It was going to be, what Katie terms, ‘a revolving closet for every woman in America.’
That was all that we had in mind as we started off on this. We are still waiting to see how it will all pan out. In the meantime, all sorts of friends and family have wished us luck on our enterprise. I have wanted to answer them with this: If luck is a combination of circumstances and opportunity, then we may certainly have it on our side. Luck is only a part of the equation, though, as I would like to tell others who are also interested in trying their hand at opening online retail businesses. Circumstances had forced us from our old positions but simultaneously provided an opportunity for us. What we did in taking advantage of that opportunity took an enormous leap of faith, huge confidence, in other words. We had what were, in our opinion, good ideas, but we needed a very strong sense of courage to see them made into reality. Ultimately, that was much more important to us than any sense of luck.