Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Olivia Glauberzon, Founder of AFTER9, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I created AFTER9 to provide women with a high-fashion, high-function alternative in maternity & nursing activewear that was seriously lacking in the market. Our fabrics are made to sweat in but offer a look you can dress up or down by incorporating fun elements such as mesh and faux leather. We guarantee all our items fit our customers from their first trimester to one-year postpartum + beyond.
The AFTER9 customer is in the age range of 33-45 and is on baby 1 or 2. Their combined household income is >$100k. They are avid gym-goer, probably own a peloton, and pre-pregnancy work out 3x a week. The AFTER9 customer believes in quality over quantity. They are someone who isn't afraid to be themselves and have a strong sense of style. They likely live in an urban center.
Tell us about yourself
It all started in 2016 at a mommy-baby gym class while I was trying to nurse in a regular sports bra. Impossible. A trip to the mall then confirmed while maternity activewear existed, it was a far cry from fashionable. As a former full-time fitness instructor and reporter, I began AFTER9 after having two children, Mackenzie and Lincoln, and getting my sleep back. AFTER9 is my third-fitness-based business, following teaching aerobics in the early 2000s and importing maternity activewear into Canada in 2017. I have been seen on Breakfast Television and CTV News, as well as written for the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star. At AFTER9, myself and the team are dedicated to transforming the way we view and treat ourselves in the journey of motherhood. Our elevated design lines and fabrics are selected to push the envelope on maternity/nursing wear. The clothing shouldn't just be about getting by. It should be about celebrating your next chapter.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Having Jess King of Peloton rock our mesh tank in a Sony Commercial. It was very validating to see such a fitness celeb rock our gear and validate that our brand is next level!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Having to wear all the hats in the beginning – you have to learn production, sales, marketing, accounting, HR, etc. Also, staying true to course and believing in your vision even if sometimes the sales are not always immediate - being patient and realizing that a well-run business involves an entire ecosystem of things that need to be working well together in order to result in a sale. Rome wasn't built in a day!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Use partners to your advantage – be strategic about them.
- Ask for help – know what you're good at and what you're not - you can't do this alone! There are a lot of amazing resources out there and people that are willing to lend a hand, so don't be afraid to ask!
- Automate as much as possible so you can focus on the business and not get dragged down into running the business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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