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Walk A Mile in Her Shoes: Eve Peters

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Social media is a funny thing Stiletto Gals. I was recently contacted by a new startup called WhimLA on Twitter.    WhimLA is a dating app for men and women who want to go out on a date tonight!  It takes all of the guess work out of online dating and they set you up with someone and even find the venue! . I had the opportunity to interview the co founder and CEO, Eve Casual.  Take a look at her road to success below.

Stiletto Gal:  How did you get started in tech?

Eve Peters:  I started in tech because of my interest in online dating.  This was back in 2008 – I was 25, and had been a heavy user of online dating sites for a couple years.  My idea for my first startup – a group dating site called MIXTT – came out of my personal experiences and desire for a more fun and social way to meet new people.  After getting validation that it was a good idea, I went for it – not really having a clue what I was doing.  That first venture was a massive and amazing learning experience.  It also got me hooked on the startup world, so I’ve been working at various tech ventures ever since.
SG:  What made you decide to do an app for dating when there are so many out there?  What makes your app different?

EP:  There are a ton of entertaining dating apps out there, but none of them is actually creating an efficient and effective solution to meeting new people.  They’re doing a great job of connecting people in the app, but not doing well at getting them to the more important step of meeting face-to-face.  People are spending days and sometimes weeks building up to a single date.  For relationship-seeking people, this takes a tremendous amount of effort and time.  Whim cuts out the majority of this input, instead allowing people to quickly match up for a date based on matching preferences and availability.  While other apps are marketplaces of people, Whim provides a date-on-demand service that brings you quality dates with just a few clicks.  You can literally sign up for the app this afternoon, and find yourself out on a date with someone who matches your preferences tonight.
SG:  What have been your biggest challenges as a startup in the tech world, especially a woman in tech?

EP:  I think that, because there are so many crummy dating apps out there, it’s been tough to overcome the “Oh no, not another dating app startup” bias.  When people hear our business case and learn about our backgrounds, they become interested – but getting them to pay heed in the first place has been difficult.  As for being a woman in tech, one huge challenge has been finding female mentors, advisors, and investors to back us up – because there are so few of them out there.
SG:  What are some tips you can give to other women who want to start a tech company?

EP:  Number one, getting a company off the ground means persevering through hardship over and over again until you get it right.  Two – and this is so hard – if you are not technical, you have to find a way to get a technical person to partner with you.  You can’t build a tech company without a tech founder – unless you have very deep pockets to begin with.  Three, start something because it compels you; you’ll live and breathe it through many ups and even more downs, so you have to love the vision to get through all of that.
SG:  Who inspires you and why?

EP:  I’m inspired by my friend and advisor Prerna Gupta.  She was co-founder and CEO of Khush, acquired by Smule, and she went through the whole startup journey with grace, humility, and not buying into dogmas of particular ways startups should be run or startup founders should live their lives.  I respect her a lot not only because of her success, but the values she’s demonstrated to stick to along the way.
SG:  What kind of shoe are you and why?

EP:  I’m a TOMS wedge sandal.  Brightly colored; agile enough to dance in; and doing what I can to give back!
If you are interested in finding a date tonight, visit the site to download the app now!
 

The Best Styles for Summer: Guest blogger Tina Hamilton

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Happy Summer Stiletto Gals!  

I always love to collaborate with other women, especially bloggers.  This week, I have the pleasure to introduce you to Tina Hamilton and her Summer tips.  Check out her post below and her favorite summer sandal!

 

Summer is a great time to take risks, not only in your life, but also in your style. You can finally break out of that wintertime rut and get some life back into your style. Let go of all the rules and get a little risky with your summertime style.

Breaking the mold is not easy for a lot of us. It is usually easier to just stick with the same staples that you have been wearing year after year instead of trying something new. However, getting out of your comfort zone is the only way you can grow and improve. You deserve to look and feel more than just OK; you should feel beautiful, sexy and confident every day of the week. Here are some of the best styles for summer to help you test the limits and feel more confident this summer.

A flat sandal

This is a staple that has been in our closets since we were 14 years old, but new styles have shaken up this old piece to create new and fabulous looks for summer. Try out the updates from last years jeweled sandals, now with jewels on the straps as well. Even better, you can find a flat sandal in a bright, solid color. You can wear them as a basic for summer days, paired with jean shorts and a racer back tank with an equally-bright bra peeking out.

A strappy high heel

Another former wardrobe staple, add some fun to your nighttime look with a sexy strappy heel. Just as styles have transformed for the flat sandal, strappy heels have made the same improvements. Pick a bright, solid color or even a combination of a few bright colors to add dimension to your look. They are great with that midi skirt you have been eyeing all spring.

A ballet flat

You may want to stash all your closed-toe shoes until the leaves begin to fall again, but it is always a good idea to keep a pair of great ballet flats handy for those days when you forget about your pedicure appointment. Keep the summer fun alive by also getting your ballet flats in a bright, cool color, like coral or teal. Many even consider a classic pair of boat shoes to set the mood for all-day summer fun.

A retro wedge

A great look that doesn’t need to stay in the 60s, wedge heels is a great choice for the summer for many reasons. The design is much more comfortable than a stiletto heel, so you can walk around in the sun for much longer while still getting the height you want from your shoes. Also, wedge heels are more stable, so you can walk on the grass without worrying about your heel getting stuck in the ground. There are great pairs for summer that include, yes both, jewels and bright colors, for the most fun footwear possible, or you can keep it simple with a neutral suede pair that will go with any outfit you put on this summer.

Image: http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20364876_20364521_20776712,00.html

Author Bio:

Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. You can find her on Twitter.

 

 

Walk A Mile in Her Shoes: Kim Thomas

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Happy Thursday Stiletto Gals!

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Kim Thomas of  Jen and Kim Shoes a few weeks ago.  We reached out to one another on Instagram and the day we met, it was like meeting my Shoemate!  Kim is the designer side of Jen and Kim Shoes.  These amazing ladies design custom made shoes that are made right here in California.  Below is her story and tips on starting a shoe business.

 Stiletto Gal:  How did you get started in the shoe business?

Kim Thomas:  My best friend (who is now my business partner) called me upon graduating from F. I. T.  and proposed that we start a shoe collection.  We had NO IDEA what we were doing but a friend who had been in the footwear industry for a while helped us to get some samples made.  It was a crazy experience and afterwards, we realized that we had to gain better training.  I found the footwear design professional study program at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and with a desperate need to get out of NY winters, we both headed west.  I studied for 9 months and after graduating, began working at a shoe factory in Sun Valley, CA.  While school prepared me with the formal knowledge of building and designing shoes, the factory put that knowledge to use. I would spend half of my day working through administrative duties with the other half working on the factory floor learning how shoes were made.  It was an amazing experience and if anyone wants to know the best way to get into the shoe business, the answer is to work at a factory.

 

SG: Who inspires you and why?

KT:  I am most inspired by those who are going after their dreams. Jen + Kim Shoes was a dream until we made it a reality and started selling our Made in California, custom shoes so I know what it means to follow your heart.   To say it is HARD sometimes is a huge understatement. In the end though, the reward of happiness is worth the financial and emotional risks. Meeting other people who live that mantra inspires me everyday.  Inspiration is contagious so when someone really let’s their true self shine through into their work and life, (whether it be fashion designers, artists, musicians, writers or neighbors) I am inspired.  It’s that feeling that hits you in your throat and makes you smile because you are in the wake of someone else expressing their soul ~ that’s inspiration.

 

SG: What was your biggest mistake in business and how did you overcome it?

KT:   You know when you look back a situation and think about all of the things you could’ve said in that one moment when someone made you feel a certain way?  My biggest regret was being too scared of my career trajectory to say what I should’ve said to a terrible, sexist boss.  I don’t think of this so much as a mistake though because it shined a light onto a dark part of my industry and made me aware of how important it is to stand up for yourself.  I was a bartender for years prior to getting into the footwear industry so obviously I had been exposed to a certain level of, how shall we say, “Objectifying comments”. But when you are behind the bar you hold the upper hand; you can take away their alcohol and have them removed from your establishment. When it is your boss and they hold your paycheck, your mentality suddenly changes …  I hope that young women starting out in their careers, when exposed to such things, honor thier truths and speak their mind.  Growth is learning from every situation in life and for me the lesson gained from this one is that sometimes the biggest motivators in life are the ones who are trying to hold you down.

SG:  How do you handle conflict?

KT:   The only way to handle conflict is with a level head and honesty.  As a consultant and middleman between designers and factories, conflict is bound to arise but you have to maintain neutrality and try to understand the situation from all angles in order to handle it accordingly.

 

SG:  Can you give 3 business tips to women who want to get into your field?

 

KT: 

1:  See  the answer to question #3 ;)

 

2:  DRAW.  Sketch as many shoes as you can in any time you have.  Don’t judge them, just keep going.  I am lucky to have a natural talent in drawing, but when I first started, my shoes were all drawn like cartoons: Not technical at all, very elongated and abstract.  But with proper training and PRACTICE, the drawings got better … so will yours.

 

3:  Learn the technical side of the business.  Before I stepped foot in a factory, I would draw crazy shoes.  Shoes that could never be built.  That is a good exercise in creativity and one that I still practice to get my creative juices flowing, but if you don’t know what can’t be produced and you hand that crazy sketch to a pattern maker, you give them the perception that you don’t know what you’re doing.  And believe me, it’s important the pattern maker takes you seriously.  There is a time to push the pattern makers and production team to realize your vision and that time is when you’re giving them a reason behind your design.  It’s the difference between saying “I want it this way because it will look good” and “I want it this way because it will work.”  When you’ve proven you know what you’re doing, a lot more gets done.  ALWAYS.

SG:  What kind of shoe are you and why?

 

KT:  I am a REALLY high heel.  Some days I am a wedge, somedays a stiletto.  Mainly because in my human form I am short ~

 

 

 

Walk A Mile in Her Shoes: Katie Bressack

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Look out for this Stiletto Gal, ladies!  She has been named Today’s Innovative Women in Business Startup Entrepreneur of The Year at the Success Summit in Los Angeles and she takes her health and wellness very seriously. I have mentioned many times how important it is to take time for yourself and stay healthy being an entrepreneur.  Katie has taken this to another level.  See her story below.

 

Stiletto Gal:  What is your business and how did you get started?

 

Katie Bressack: I was living in NYC working in marketing and had this horrible sinus infection for an entire year. I went to ten different doctors, an ear nose and throat specialist who wanted me to have sinus surgery and then I finally found a holistic doctor. She spent an hour with me asking me if I liked my job, how I coped with stress and why did I think I kept getting sick. During our conversation I had my ah-ha moment with my health and realized for the first time that I was in complete control of my health. Unlike other doctors who kept prescribing me medication, she told me to get a neti-pot, take probiotics and practice yoga and meditation. From that day forward I fell in love with health and wellness and traded in my corporate gig and slowly built my health and wellness business first becoming a yoga instructor and then a Women’s Health Coach. Now I support women and help them make themselves and their health a priority by creating a healthy, balanced and vibrant lifestyle. 

 

SG:  Who inspires you and why?

 

KB:  I am inspired by healthy food, music, yoga, sunshine, strong women in my life, like my mother. Growing up my mom inspired me to play sports and find my passion in life. My mom does yoga every morning, has an amazing garden and bakes the most delicious cookies.

 

SG:   What was your biggest mistake in business and how did you overcome it?

 

KB:  I wouldn’t say that I have made mistakes; instead I would say that I have learned so much from my experiences. Starting and growing my business has been the most amazing and most challenging experience of my life. Each moment has helped me grow and shape my business. Without bumps in the road, I wouldn’t be as confident as I am today with my business.

 

SG:  How Do You Handle Conflict?

 

KB:  I always try to get to the root cause of what is going on. So often conflict occurs because everyone is on a different page, so I try to see the bigger picture and talk it out.

 

SG:   Can you give 3 business tips to women who want to get into your field?

 

KB:

 

1. Believe in yourself, there might be many people who do what you do but no one has the gifts that you have.

2. Walk your talk!

3. Find a mentor who can inspire and support you

4. Never stop learning, there is so much information about health and wellness which changes every day and it’s important to keep in the loop

 

 

SG:   What kind of shoe are you and why?

 

KB:   I lived in heels when I lived in NYC and have a new found passion for my Haviana’s flip flops. They are fun, welcoming and have a little bling!

 

To learn more about Katie and her business, check out her website at http://www.katiebressack.com

 

Or follow her on Facebook & Twitter

 

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Walk A Mile in Her Shoes: Janis Spindel

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Love is not always the easiest thing to find with our busy lives as business women and entrepreneurs, but this Stiletto Gal has made it her life and business of finding love for people across the globe.  Read  her story on how she got started as a matchmaker and the things that inspire her the most as a women entrepreneur.

Stiletto Gal:   How did you become a matchmaker?

Janis Spindel:  I am a people person and love talking to people whenever I go. I was constantly Introducing my friends to each other and they were getting married left, right and center. Finally, after my 14th couple got married, I looked at my husband and said I have to turn this into a business!

 

SG: Who inspires you and why? 

JS:  Powerful women inspire me. I meet hundreds of women a day and I love hearing their stories. Whether they’re survivors of breast cancer and living their live with energy and zest or they’re runners who lost an arm in the Boston marathon, they motivate me to be a better person.

 

SG: What are you most passionate about and why?

JS:  I’m passionate about love and marriage. My husband and I work on our relationship daily. When you find an amazing man, it takes work and a lot of love to keep the relationship alive. I have 2 daughters and I make spending time with them a priority.

 

 

SG:  What has been your biggest mistake or failure in business and how did you overcome it?

JS:  Not bringing my husband and eldest daughter into the company earlier. Now, we’re officially a family business. My daughter carly Spindel brings a fresh approach to the business and runs the Junior Matchmaking and express matchmaking division and my husband Allen Spindel is the business manager.

 

SG:   Can you give 3 tips to aspiring entrepreneurs?

JS:

1. Believe in yourself

2. Don’t give up on your dreams

3. Don’t believe in failure. If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying until you do.

 

SG:  What kind of shoe are you and why?

JS:  A bright pink Christian louboutin. It’s a mix of elegance and classy, but it still exudes fun.

For more information on Janis and her company, check out her website and her book.

https://www.janisspindelmatchmaker.com/

 

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