I had to act quickly because I knew the money I had saved up wouldn’t last forever. I called my parents to discuss the possibility of me trying to start my own business. They’re the most supportive parents in the world, so of course they encouraged me. They knew about “Dakota Jeane” back in West Hollywood, and thought it was a great idea to pursue Frockify.
I had to start somewhere, so I began browsing vintage stores online and gaining knowledge on their pricing, how they were presenting their product, and to what type of audience they were trying to attract. I took notes on all of these things and what I would do differently. I wanted to take what I learned working in the contemporary fashion world and combine that with my love for vintage clothing. The vision was in my head, but I knew before I could start, I would need to put together a business plan to see if this was even a viable business for me to pursue as my career.
I googled “how to write a business plan” and proceeded to write down each step, filling in the blanks and figuring out what I would need to do. I came up with the amount that I would to start my business the right way and came up with a percentage of my business that I would give up for the investment. I had watched enough “Shark Tank” to feel like I knew what I was doing…
I finished my business plan and was very proud of what I came up with. I was sure I had everything covered. I emailed it to my parents and asked them to invest in me, and in return they would own part of my business. I wasn’t sure if they would do this, but I figured they were probably the ONLY people in the world that would ever invest in my idea at that time, before I had any sales. I was 100% sure that a bank wouldn’t even be interested in considering me for a loan. So, I gave it a shot. After all, they always encouraged me to reach for the stars.
After a long discussion of my goals and a review of my business plan, my parents accepted and agreed to give me the investment I asked for, but my dad said he would only do it if I raised the percentage that he would own. Geez dad… 😊 Then they asked if the amount I was requesting was high enough. I told them with confidence that it was certainly enough. When writing my business plan, I accounted for everything I could possibly think of to be successful. Also, I hadn’t asked my parents for money in a really long time, so I felt a little weird - even though this was a business transaction and not a personal one.
I headed to Phoenix a few weeks later to relax and finalize business maters with my parents (it worked out because Michael had a work trip that same week). We finished the paperwork and they gave me a portion of the investment by check. I felt so excited. It was all starting! I decided that I didn’t want to relax and vacation. I wanted to get to work! So I took a bit of my investment and headed to a few thrift stores nearby. I ended up finding a few things I really liked and put a visual story together. I merchandised all the time in my previous jobs; I thought why not merchandise what I was buying now? It was then when I realized I wanted to curate my buys instead of just buying randomly. This has become one of the most important parts of Frockify. It is one thing that sets us apart from many other vintage companies.
After a successful day of buying I thought I should get one of my friends to model for me. I had a camera, I had the website idea in my head, I just needed someone to model the clothes for me. Everyone I could think of was either working or busy, but my friend Courtney put me in touch with another Courtney who had some experience with modeling. I was so excited. I have been behind the scenes of photo shoots before with my jobs; all I needed to do was mimic that. Courtney agreed to do the shoot even though I had never met her. I told her I was going to drive around and see where I wanted to photograph her and then I would get back to her.
I found myself driving around Papago Park, where the zoo is in Phoenix. One word to describe it: gorgeous! The rocks are red and the desert landscape is full of saguaro and cool plants. The shoot needed to be there. However, it was July, and I realized it was HOT. Not good for modeling outside. I didn’t want her to pass out from the heat. So I contacted her and reluctantly asked if she could meet me at Papago Park… at 6 AM. She was a sweetheart and obliged.
I put the clothing in the back seat of my mom’s car, and when I was setting up, I put pillowcases in each window so she could change privately (this is still one of the biggest challenges for us when doing outdoor photo shoots). The entire experience went so well. Courtney was a natural and made the clothes look amazing. It was the first time using my camera, so the photos weren’t the best, but not bad for a beginner.
(The beautiful Courtney Larsen)
Now I needed a website to sell these on. I couldn’t just put these on Etsy – it wasn’t my style. I wanted to create a brand. Something that could really grow into the business that was the first place people would go to when thinking about vintage clothing. I created my website from a template to start off since I had no code skills. Then I created an excel sheet to start keeping track of my inventory, how much I bought the items for and my margin. This sheet would later become my bible. After I had everything in line, I put the photos of clothes up on the site. It was kinda almost ready! Sort of…
(Out on the boat with my parents and their pups, Sparky & Trapper.)
(Everyone loves a good AZ sunset)
Part IV to come next month...