Brittany Finkle: Happily Ever Borrowed Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: I am the the founder of Happily Ever Borrowed, which helps women to rent their bridal accessories for their wedding day. Our mission is to not only help brides save money, but to also help reduce the waste of the wedding industry. She continues to juggle her work life in the luxury fashion industry with her startup venture. I’m still hustling and working 2 jobs! I’d love to grow Happily Ever Borrowed and maintain it as my sole role. My biggest success so far is serving over 1000 brides! We hope that brides at the end of the day feel beautiful in their accessories and don’t feel guilty about the price! We want our bride’s experience to be stress-free and for them to have a seamless day.

How did you get into the industry?

I have three older sisters, and from the age of 12, I was helping to plan their weddings. When I was in college and designing bridal gowns, my one sister asked me to make hers. That was far too much pressure for me, but I offered to help shop with her. When I saw the poor quality and construction of the cheaper gowns, I was horrified. All women deserve to wear quality products on their wedding day. We were also astonished at the high prices of veils, headpieces and jewelry. After spending their entire budget on their dress, most women forget that they need to accessorize as well! This is one of the most common instances where brides exceed their budget. My sisters begged me to find a solution. I let the idea sit for quite a while, but after my 3rd sister got married, the idea started to materialize.

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Melissa Gonzalez: The Lionesque Group Founder & CEO

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My Native Admission Statement: I am an energetic, driven entrepreneur as well as a fiercely loyal mom and friend. Since childhood I have always loved to create and build things. At my parents wedding I took over the dance floor with an original rendition of Flashdance (I was 8), when I was a junior in high school I built my own radio out of a piece of wood, wires and a few resistor and capacitor chips (I got 3 channels), while working on Wall Street I produced indie films and hosted a TV show for 3 seasons on BET. I am a true Leo to the core - protective of my friends and family, dedicated to my commitments, and a lover of the sun. I am constantly learning how to be the best version of myself, but what I have learned with age is that it’s when I allow myself to celebrate my accomplishments as well as recognize my defeats. So often we focus on our “failures” that we also let them overshadow what we have achieved. Self love is important.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I left Wall Street to pursue my creative soul. While working on Wall Street, I was also producing independent films and hosted a TV Show called Latin Beat. What inspired me by the opportunity of pop-up retail was the opportunity to bring both my business acumen and creative heart to work. On Wall Street I also always had interest in retail and tech stocks so fuels my affinity to be interested and learn about how the consumer, tech and retail industry continue to evolve. As our company continues to grow I am excited by the opportunity to serve as partners to our clients in a thought leadership capacity, in addition to a design & production agency. We are already seeing significant growth in that vertical in the past year.

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Igor Bekker: Founder, Made Of

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How did you get into the industry?

I have no experience in CPG (consumer packaged goods), nor am I a toxicologist or chemist.  Not exactly the thing you want to hear from someone selling Baby-care products for newborns.  My background is in Digital and Data Analytics.  My co-founder and I ran a qual and quant project and noticed consumer demand in beauty and skin care. What surprised us was the lack of product on the market that delivered on its promise.  What was already out there failed to deliver and deceived the customers causing confusion and mistrust.

Xiaodi Zhang: Chief Product Officer, 1stdibs

My NativeAdVice:

Bio:

Xiaodi Zhang joined 1stdibs as the first product hire. Over the last six years, she has led the transformation of the luxury marketplace and helped grow the company from <50 people to >350 today. As CPO, Xiaodi manages the Product and Design organizations.

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Melissa R. Birge: founder & CEO, Mia Tango

My NativeAdVice:

Bio:

Melissa R. Birge is the founder and CEO of Mia Tango, an online maternity boutique that features a curated set of maternity clothing that customers can buy new or used, and then trade back in for credits to buy new styles. She also serves as the audit committee chair on the board of directors of Paris-based SRP Group, which operates the fashion website showroomprive.com.

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Greg Durocher: Founder & CEO, Safe Ride 4 Kids

My NativeAdVice:

Bio:

Greg Durocher is the founder and CEO of Safe Ride 4 Kids and a former firefighter/paramedic with more than 15 years experience. Durocher and his wife, Amie, are also Child Passenger Safety Technicians and instructors. Safe Ride 4 Kids offers innovative and relatively undiscovered products that solve some of the real car safety challenges parents face.

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