When the SN content team asked me to write this article, I really had no idea how to put the last few years into words.
I still feel like it might be a little too early to start writing this, but I guess it’s more interesting to write it while in the actual process of becoming an entrepreneur rather than when I’ve reached the end of this crazy journey… and I don’t even know what that will look like! I started my blog 10 years ago for all the wrong reasons, but had I known it would be what it is today, maybe I would have put a little bit more thought into the process. Everything I have done and everything I do today is driven by gut instinct and impulse. I don’t sit back and think over decisions before I make them and I never wait for the right time. I’m a firm believer that everything will sort itself out and everything’s meant to be. I never had a business strategy in mind, not even a couple of years ago when I was actually beginning to make money as a fashion blogger. I had no savings, I didn’t think about what I spent my money on and I just assumed all would be fine. My paychecks would come in, I’d always put aside money for taxes and rent and the rest was fun. Until I got married.
As an incredibly anxious and neurotic person, you’d think I’d be uptight and rigid, but I’m the exact opposite. I sort of just let things be and happen without putting a lot of thought behind them. Until Brandon. I married a strategic business man who looked at what I considered a fun, enjoyable hobby as an incredibly profitable business. First, he took over my finances and put me on a salary. Second, he hired my best friend (because he knew that was the only person I’d be comfortable with) to manage my work life. He then injected himself into a lot of my business meetings with my agency to protect me and help me make decisions in my best interest rather than the agency’s best interest, who is trying to make money, too. Brandon then encouraged me to continue growing my team to help with different areas of my business and finally got us an office (with my money that he’d been managing). That’s when it hit him. He knew if I had to focus or worry about anything else besides doing what I genuinely enjoyed doing, I wouldn’t be able to handle it and I wouldn’t be happy. He also realized that he couldn’t do all of this while building his own company and it was time to hire someone as smart as him with an equal end goal and an understanding of me, my business and this new world of social media. In comes our new CEO Matt.
It was random, it started out with Brandon meeting Matt through Current (Brandon’s company) to help him find retail space in NYC. Just like Brandon always does, he connects a brand he meets with my Partnerships Team to coordinate a collab. I was hired by Matt’s company Naadam to promote a sweater. After my scope of work was done, Matt called Brandon and said, “I need to be apart of this, whatever Arielle is doing, I need to know more.” Apparently, our partnership was the most effective out of any influencer he had hired (including celebrities and girls with bigger followings). He couldn’t get over the sales, the traffic and the fame he received after my post. I still don’t believe him, haha.
It took 8 months of courting me to get me to feel somewhat comfortable with letting Matt take over Something Navy as our new CEO. After getting to know him, I learned how incredibly smart he is and what he has to offer. He had built an amazing infrastructure with his business and also another business he recently bought. And I had an audience, an audience that was willing to give me information to help create a brand that they want to be apart of. We decided we were the perfect duo and next steps were to raise money. Within 1 month, we were able to raise over 10 million dollars from investors to officially start the new Something Navy brand.
Right now, we have all the resources in place and we are currently growing our team. We are at 18 people at the moment, which is pretty insane if you ask me, especially compared to how it all began.
When I first started, the work revolving around Something Navy was mostly me running to Zara and H&M, buying a bunch of pieces, raiding my mom and sisters’ closets and putting together outfits. 3 times a week, I would put together about 10 outfits and shoot them outside with my photographer. While I was doing this, I was working the retail floor at Theory in Meatpacking. As jobs slowly flowed in, I would manage the workload on my own on the side of my full-time job at Theory.
Now, I spend my entire day in back-to-back meetings from design meetings, fabric meetings, fittings, content review meetings, website design meetings, weekly creative review meetings, branding meetings, partnership meetings – it’s never ending, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt happier in my life when it comes to my career.
My focus during the day jumps from the media side to the product side. I genuinely am excited for work every single day. I can’t imagine saying this, but… I actually despise the weekends! I can’t wait for them to be over so I can get back in the office. It all hit me the other day while I was sitting in a meeting with about 8 people from our team and they were all discussing different areas of the business and strategies and I had that feeling where I wasn’t sure if it was a dream or real life. I blacked out for a moment and sort of just looked around the room and said to myself “wake up” – and in that moment I was like, “holy shit. This isn’t a dream, this is my life,” and I just couldn’t believe what my business has evolved into in the blink of an eye. I wouldn’t sit here and call myself an entrepreneur just yet, but I’m learning and I’m building something really great with a team of people who I admire and would never have imagined I’d be working alongside. All I want to do is go back in time and tell my 22 year old heartbroken self that my mom’s advice was true the whole time – “it will all be ok in the end, you’ll see” and it’s more than ok!