Friday Feature: Meet Vanessa– a Cool, College-aged Business Owner

The other week, we met the beautiful and tenacious Vanessa Gabriel. She was pitching her company to a panel of fashion and tech entrepreneurs (myself included)  as well as to a panel of Investors.We were super inspired by her motivation and her successes so far that we wanted to know more! We are pleased to share our interveiw with the founder of Make sure to check it out, especially if you are a student looking for great deals on a student budget.

AS: Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you got started in fashion technology?

VG: My name is Vanessa Gabriel and I’m a 20 year old full time student/entrepreneur. I founded (pronounced a society) an E- Commerce site exclusively for college students offering 50-80% off retail prices of their favorite fashion brands. I’m from a small town called Tracy where there are fields where cows roam and everyone knows everyone. I’ve always loved shopping ever since I was a little girl. I was no stranger to bargain shopping since I was raised by very young parents. I quickly became an expert at shopping at stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Target, etc. My shopping addiction didn’t change when I moved out to Colorado for college. The only thing that was different this time was that I was now paying for my own wardrobe instead of my parents. Being on a limited student budget with no car only to find out there was no mall in my town was ridiculous. I quickly turned to the Internet to shop instead and was quickly disappointed by the lack of sites that catered to my style and budget. Websites were either way too our of my price range or did not cater to my style tastes. I was then immediately inspired and envisioned the future of how college students would shop online. A place called aSociete.

AS: You are a fulltime student? What do you currently study?

VG: I’ve been studying business for the past two years. My first year and a half was at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I just recently transferred to the University of Pacific here in Stockton where I’ll finish out my schooling while I run aSociete.

AS: How would you describe your personal style?

VG: I have a very laid back comfortable style that I like to infuse with accessories. Each year my style evolves and I grow a little more comfortable in being bolder with my wardrobe. Whether it’s buying statement pieces, bold colors, etc.

AS: What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

VG: My parents inspire me everyday. They continue to strive for their dreams and do what makes them happy. They encourage and support me to achieve greatness and reassure me that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to. My motivation is knowing how far I’ve come in the past year or so with launching aSociete and the success we’ve achieved so far. My team and I have achieved things that are not normal of 20 year olds and to think of our bright future ahead of us keeps me going.

AS: What is something that you always carry with you?

VG: I always carry my iPhone and lipstick. I’m always going to meetings and connecting with successful people in the Bay Area so my phone keeps me organized and my lipstick to make sure I always look presentable!

AS: What do you find is the hardest part about your work?

VG: The hardest part about my job is that it’s a constant learning process everyday since I’ve never founded/ran a company before. I’m grateful for all the advisors and guidance I’ve received thus far because aSociete wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them.

AS: Any influences or anyone you look up to when it comes to your work?

VG: Like I said before my parents are huge influences in my life because they continue to work hard for their dreams. Everyday they fight for what they believe in and stop at nothing to make their dreams come true. I also look up to Tony Hseih the CEO of Zappos because he took his company and catapulted it to great success. He has an amazing story and has truly changed the E-Commerce industry forever.

AS: If you weren’t creating (or designing) what would you be doing? 

VG: I’d be a normal college student in Colorado working two part time jobs.

AS: Where do you see yourself in the next ten years either personally or artistically?

VG: I see aSociete being a success and me as CEO. I picture myself traveling the world and running my company.

AS: Share with us something funny that has happened to you recently.

VG: I was asked by a company to put together a gift guide for college graduates and I’m not even graduating college. I barely just finished my second year of college lol. I didn’t express that I wasn’t qualified to help them out so I just asked my friends about what they would want if they were graduating college.

AS: What was the last thing you ate?

VG: I ate frosted flakes for breakfast this morning.

AS: Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

VG: I talked to my dad.

AS: What it is that you love about your work?

VG: I love my team and the culture we’ve created. Our warehouse is our creative space/ headquarters and we are really close friends like a family. We are a for college students by college students company. We are college students ourselves that gives us a relevant advantage over many other companies. Plus I love knowing the fact that I’m helping my peers by saving them money when they shop.

AS: Describe yourself in 5 words.

VG: Ambitious, believer, caring, persistent, and  outdoor lover.

AS: Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring artists or business owners?

VG:You only live once and make the most of it. Life is too short to not pursue your passions and doing the things you love. Don’t ever give up and don’t let the world convince you that you cannot achieve greatness. There is no age requirement for success.

*** All photos were provided by Vanessa Gabriel

Friday Feature: Stripes, Neons and Chanel

We met Emily last week at the Digitally Chic event at the W Hotel. We loved Emily’s energy and loved her pairing of stripes and neon so we had to take a photo! Lexie, being the graphic genious she is, created the board above to demonstrate how it is simple to replicate this look. Aside from putting together cute outfits, Emily has such great energy– bubbly personalities are so infectious! We discovered that she was new to SF, and had recently relocated from DC and was expanding the cool social and online exchange SNOBSWAP . We asked her a few questions to learn a bit more!
Name: Emily Dang
Occupation: Co-Founder and CMO of SNOBSWAP
Fashion Interest:  I’ve always loved fashion!  From poring over issues of Vogue to indulging in my shopaholic addictions to launching SNOBSWAP, the premier luxury online marketplace to buy, sell, and swap with my sister Elise, fashion has always been my passion. My latest obsession is finding the elusive cherry red PS1 Proenza Schouler bag and a few cute and affordable maxi dresses for the summer!
Favorite Thing in SF:   Besides shopping at SF’s local consignment shops, I would say running with my dog at Crissy Fields.
Outfit:  A.P.C. sweater, Gap Kids jeans, Sergio Rossi shoes, Chanel bag, Hermes belt, Kendra Scott necklace, and Cartier ring

Friday Feature: Kate Johnson, Makeup Artist & Educator

When we were in Chicago for our fashion show, we had the lovely pleasure of meeting Kate, a true artist and makeup genius. We were blown away by her ridiculous wealth of knowledge and the education we received in just minutes of talking with her.  Meet, Kate Johnson– a fabulous woman in the industry who really knows her craft.

 AS: What is the story behind your company and how you found yourself in design?

KJ: When I was in college at Cal State Fullerton, I was in a program to get my BFA in MusicalTheatre. A required class was Theatre Makeup and Hair design and I fell in love. The second semester I was the assistant teacher and learned I think more that year helping others do it than even doing it myself. After shattering my foot in a dance performance I had to change majors, so naturally I chose Special Effects Makeup and Hair Design. After doing so part time I became an Artistry Trainer for Smashbox Cosmetics and started my own company Kate Johnson Artistry. Between the two businesses I am able to fulfill my love of artistry and education. It has also blessed me to have amazing experiences in avenues I wouldn’t normally be able to do like teach inner city children art and be published.
AS: How would you describe your personal style? Design aesthetic? 
KJ: I don’t know that I can. I love the 50’s era and am obsessed with Mad Men. But I as much as I love it I don’t own much that would let anyone know. My style is what Im comfortable wearing and makes me feel feminine.

AS: What is your creative process like?
KJ:  It’s a system… I brainstorm, pull pictures off of Google Images to get the juices flowing… then when I’m totally at a block, I forget about it for a couple days and it just comes to me in any random second. I’ve tried to have a better way but this seems to be it.
AS: What projects are you currently working on?
KJ: I am a part of the Lakrem Producing team that did Battle of the Blush– some things are coming with that. The Goca “ Elegance of Maturity” show, and I have just started teaching an amazing group of children how to express themselves through art instead of violence.
AS: How would you describe your client?
KJ: My clients are a wide range of women and men. I love to hear their inspiration and how I can help develop it visually.
AS: Best part of your job? Worst part of your job?
KJ: The best and worst part of my job is that the creation walks away and I start something new every day.
AS: What advice do you have for aspiring artists? 
KJ: Know your products– not just what is advertised but WHY they do what they do.
AS: Where can we see your work?
KJ: You can see my work at either my Facebook Page or my website. I am always available to be contacted for bookings via Facebook or email at: