Q. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A. FILORO is a direct-to-consumer cashmere brand which launched in August 2018. FILORO offers luxury fashion cashmere at incredible value. The team behind FILORO has been producing cashmere sweaters under private labels for department stores for over 15 years. FILORO is based in New York, NY but exclusively sells their current collections on www.filoro.com.
Q. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. Kimberly Conrad received her bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a business marketing major. After her studies, Kimberly spent several years working in high-end European fashion at world-renowned brands. Eventually, Kimberly joined her father to work in the wholesale cashmere business. After some time observing this traditional business, she was inspired to combine her expertise in fashion and trends in the form of a direct to consumer cashmere brand. Their existing platform of private label knitwear business with department stores offered them the flexibility and ease to launch a new brand.
Q. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A. I noticed how “traditional” and conservative the cashmere business was. Everything was black, grey, and oatmeal. This stems from the fact that typically cashmere has been so expensive for the customer, so they don’t want to splurge on a more trend-focused item. Overall the business had been rooted in “basics” but we were starting to see a shift toward customers wanting new fresh styles with a fashion element. No one needs another plain black sweater, I wanted to give them something exciting and fun. Since we were able to bring them this at a much better price point, it just made sense.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A. I think the most important thing is looking at your product and seeing if its something you personally want and need. If you do, there are probably more people out there who also want or need this product. It takes a lot of work and I think its important to be agile and open to change.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A. Patience, prioritization skills, and motivation.
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
A. About 8-10 hours. It’s hard to say, i’m glued to my phone so I’m constantly working I think.
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. Instagram has been our most successful way to garner brand awareness and sales. It is really interesting to me that this platform has become such a force in advertising and marketing product. I’m interested to see how this shifts over time or if its really here to stay for the long-term.
Q. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A. We are privately funded.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A. Patience and flexibility.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. We’ve tested pop-up shops and I think there is huge opportunity here. People fall in love with cashmere when they touch and feel it against their skin. I’d love to see FILORO have a permanent store in the next 5 years.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. Theres so many new niche direct to consumer brands I admire! Some of them are so specific and I think thats really cool. Its great to have a brand out there for every individuals wants and needs.
Q. How important have good employees been to your success?
Q. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A. 2-3 years
Q. What motivates you?
A. Other entrepreneurs! Reading their stories about how they work and how long it took before their business took off and the struggles they went through are very motivational for me.
Q. How do you generate new ideas?
A. Inspired by real life. Living in NYC I see such great fashion on the streets, I love being inspired by what I see just walking home.
Q. How do you define success?
A. Work/life balance.
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
A. Word of mouth and repeat customers!
Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A. Ability to have an idea and implement it the same day without having to get it approved by so many people. Test, test, test!
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A. Having celebrities wear our products! They have access to the best of the best in the world, if they’re choosing to wear something of ours, thats pretty cool.
Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A. You have to motivate and drive yourself.
Q. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
A. Yes. Hard work and perseverance.
Q. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
A. Instant gratification. Things take time and its a roller coaster. Sometimes its hard to manage the emotions that come along with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship but you have to think long term!