Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Pia Rappaport, CEO and Founder of PILLOWPIA, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
PILLOWPIA is a home accessories shop for those who crave relaxed, familiar style over sharp edges and time-stamped trends. Our collections are designed to be lived in—easy-going and soft enough to sink into, uncomplicated yet playful, an approach where form and function have equal seating at the table. Thoughtful, mindful, and inspired by the world around us, Pillowpia products are everyday indulgences designed to be enjoyed.
Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. My father was a musician, and my mother an artist, so I was always surrounded by creativity and craftsmanship. My early career was spent in the fashion trenches with American designers Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch. I quickly fell into the specialty of building design inspiration libraries and archives for these brands. While I worked closely with the design and product development teams, I had the desire to produce creative work of my own. When I had my first child, I decided to take the leap and start my own brand. It's funny how one major life change can trigger another.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm always delighted when we are recognized and noticed in stores or out and about in the world. When I get texts saying, "Saw your tissue box covers in upstate New York, saw people wearing your bags in Los Angeles, saw your pillows in Charleston," — it's the best moment of the day.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Wearing all the hats, even when those hats are not your favorite. There are many aspects of running a business that are energizing and exciting. But there are days when you need to look at the books with a fine tooth comb or make tough decisions. The good usually outweighs the bad.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get started. You can't succeed if you never tried. Once you get your business out there, you can test what works and what doesn't work. Refine from there.
- Your time is valuable. Bring in the right resources at the right time. You have to be somewhat scrappy as a small business, but you can't grow alone. You need a team. Can't afford it? There are great part-time resources out there to help with administration, marketing, etc.
- Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. And neither was any successful business. Hermès started as an equestrian leather goods company. Their iconic scarves and mainstream brand recognition came much later. One hundred years later, to be exact.
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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