Meet Liz Entin Founder Of Runway Passport
Meet Liz Entin, founder of Runway Passport, an online marketplace for emerging designers. I met Liz two years ago when we both attended a meet up in NYC hosted by my good friends at The Sales Concept. She had such a passion for supporting and promoting emerging designers. I joined her Facebook group Fashion Go-Getters and have really enjoyed the community there. When I knew I was going to be creating this Fashion Tech Business Series I knew I had to reach out to her again and bring her on to tell her story.
We couldn’t cover every possible angle of technology in the fashion industry in just one post! This article is part of an 8 part Fashion Tech Business Series. If you want to learn how technology is being used to shape the fashion industry and how you can be a part of it you can check out the entire series at the bottom of this page.
Starting out in fashion…
I used to assist stylists at a variety of fashion magazines and ad jobs. It was a great experience since I worked for a variety of freelance ones as opposed to on staff at a magazine or company. I got to learn about so many different types of styling and different opportunities so I could explore and discover what I loved most. I always loved the visual creativity of fashion and how each designer presents such a unique vision that is then interpreted by the customer.
Making the leap into entrepreneurship…
I always wanted to work for myself and to create something that never existed and share that. I like the freedom to make changes when I feel that would better serve my designers and customers without having to go through multiple layers. There is a passion and care when it is your own business that is hard, for me at least, to replicate working for another business.
While I was assisting stylists, I noticed that the majority of magazines tended to focus on promoting the already famous designers. I took a little time off and backpacked Thailand and noticed they had some great local designers that no one knew of in the fashion world in New York or London. I got home and researched further and discovered designers from all around the world that no one knew about outside of their own country.
I started first as a blog that covered fashion weeks around the world, but then decided to take it to the next level and create an e-commerce platform. Runway Passport focuses on selling and promoting emerging fashion designers from around the world.
Sourcing great talent from around the world…
Right now Runway Passport is pivoting to focus on one city every 3 months so we can get a lot more in depth. We will show the local fashion and beauty scene and really go in depth. Our designers and the locations they are from [help to make the site really unique]. We really work to bring awareness to designers that won’t show up easily in a google search or major stores. We look for unique designers that have a local following and a special vision.
Each one [of the emerging designers] has come to us a unique way. Some I know personally. Some find us or I find them on social media. Sometimes a friend will suggest someone. I am constantly looking and discovering new designers that really excite me.
My biggest learning curves…
OMG. Do I have to pick one?? I know that is kind of a cliche thing to say, but really it is just so true. There are unexpected curve balls and struggles daily. I guess that would be it. I really wasn’t prepared for how long it takes and how many obstacles you hit along the way. Daily unexpected ones. But I actually enjoy that because I am learning at a very fast pace.
I think that when it isn’t working out with a person that seemed as if they would be great, move on quickly. It was hard for me to admit when people I thought would b great weren’t working out and I wasted way too much time trying to solve that when really, while they are great people, they weren’t the right fit. Small things someone does are examples of how they handle bigger things as well. Although I have also collaborated with and met the most amazing people and without them, I wouldn’t have a company.
We don’t have the funding that many other companies have. We can’t afford the keyword etc budget for getting our name out there. That is both a curse and a blessing. I have to constantly think of more creative ways to get our name out which has been an amazing education.
Tips for new emerging designers…
Find a community. It can be very lonely when you have your own company, especially before you can afford to have a team. Since you aren’t going into an office with a group of people join as many groups as you can. I am part of Dreamers and Doers which has been the most amazing support system I could imagine. I also recently joined The Ivy and have been meeting some great people.
On the horizon for Runway Passport…
A pivot! We are going to focus on one city in depth every three months. With that people can get to know our designers, as well as the city itself, on a much more personal level. Also, we are going to add some local beauty products. I want us to be more than selling amazing designers. I want people to have the personal experience of exploring the city as if they were traveling there.
People I admire either professionally or personally…
Wow! So many people!! My friends in Dreamers and Doers. They are all working so hard and pursuing their dreams with such passion.
I’m gonna go a touch cliche here but I mean it. Ellen Pao – because I think it is so important to stand up for both yourself and the bigger picture despite the huge difficulties that come along with it. With all that is going on in our world now, I think the past year has been a HUGE wakeup call that many issues we might have thought were over and done with and more concerns of our parents and grandparents generation, aren’t as over as we thought.
Sheryl Sandberg – for the above reasons, plus that she kept going despite such a huge personal tragedy. Not easy to do!
I tap into my network and different people will become a mentor depending on the situation. Sometimes it will be a friend or an old boss or a person I see give a talk but I never get to meet, or someone’s book I read.
Fashion Tech Business Series
If you or someone you know is interested in starting their own fashion tech company you can read the entire series here. Learn what it takes to be a successful fashion tech entrepreneur or just work in the field with the latest and greatest technology.
- How Technology Is Changing The Landscape Of The Fashion Industry
- Interview with PopMark Co-Founders Soumya Jain & Fletcher
- What Software Do Fashion Professionals Need To Know To Stay On The Cutting Edge
- Interview with Tycoon app Founder Jessica Perez
- What Software Do Fashion Designers Need To Know To Stay Competitive
- Interview with Passport Runway Founder Elizabeth Entin