Founder Spotlight

How Your Past Experience as an Employee Can Fuel Your Success as a Founder

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to sit down with Entrepreneur Cecilia Hermawan to talk about her experience transitioning from a full-time job to running her own company! Her startup, Vico Style helps Americans be sustainably bougie on a budget: bridging the gap between high-end fashion and those who love to thrift. Her credits don't stop there as she has also been featured as a TEDx Speaker!

EKOS: What is Vico Style and what led you to work on it?

Cecilia: “Vico style is a direct-to-consumer startup in the fashion industry. The mission of Vico Style is to help Americans be sustainably bougie on a budget. Vico Style is bridging the gap between the high-end luxury goods platforms and those that are shopping at thrift stores. The creation of Vico Style actually stemmed from my own pain point when I was pursuing my MBA at Babson College. My mantra is, “look good to feel good.” I knew that with my financial constraints I had to pay for my tuition and be responsible with my spending, so I started consuming vintage fashion. I fell in love with it. With my love for vintage clothing and extensive experience in the retail and apparel world in my past life, I figured, “why not start my own business?” I started out small and have been growing my business full time for two months.”

EKOS: What was that transition like going from a corporate 9-5 job to becoming a founder? How has that changed your day-to-day life?

Cecilia: “So let me take ac quick step back. Prior to building Vico Style, I initially started in SaaS sales. In essence, that's from prospecting business development all the way to closing the sale. From my career in sales, I learned how to put myself out there and to understand how to

A. Better position my company

B. Be able to have the right conversations with relevant stakeholders

C. Communicate my story and Vico Style’s vision

Whether or not I was trying to figure out lease agreements with the landlord or selling products to the right customers that would be interested, both experiences were super helpful. In terms of day-to-day, time management is very important. I work pretty much all day and I am a single parent. I really just wanted to set realistic expectations. Again, I have to be disciplined with how I spend my money. I'm currently bootstrapping to grow Vico Style and testing out product-market fit before I raise capital.”

EKOS: What would your advice be for other entrepreneurs that are looking to make

the transition from being an employee to a founder?

Cecilia: “I personally believe that the best way to start off the transition is by doing something small as a side hustle, but at some point, if you think your ideas or your vision have legs to stand on, don't be afraid to make that jump. Find your early believers. I have been so grateful and lucky that I have found early believers that are supporting me. Whether it's friends, my landlord, companies that I work with to help me to get to make the jump, I am forever grateful for them. But really, don't be afraid to tell people your vision. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and don't be afraid to fail, because otherwise, you're going to live the rest of your life with that doubt, not knowing what the outcome would have been if you didn't give it a shot.”

3 Takeaways

1) Staying connected is so important! Knowing people within your community can only help you and your business thrive.

2) Never be afraid to pitch your idea because it can help you discover your early believers who can really help you get started.

3) If you feel like your idea has potential and are in a position to take a risk, give it a shot.

We want to thank Cecilia for her time and for sharing her insight on transitioning to the life of a founder. Take your next shot.

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