On Helping People Sustain Confidence Through Fashion

Published: September 8th, 2019
Lindsey Smith
Founder, Fashion Buddy
Fashion Buddy
from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
started October 2017
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Hello! Who are you and what are you working on?

My name is Lindsey Smith, I am 20 and from upstate NY. I am a student at Drexel with an entrepreneurship major and digital media minor. When I came to Philly I was motivated by a new city, community, and mentors. Everyone seemed to be sharing their insights and helping others which inspired me to start something of my own that I was passionate about too.

My passion is to build confidence in my life and other lives that can be spread to make an influence in the real world where real people are being impacted.

Growing up dancing competitively since I was 8, I learned the power of determination and self-reliance. This experience truly strengthened my confidence and taught me the importance of believing in myself. When I found my personal brand is based upon living confidently which aligns directly with my company values, I was certain that our society needed a judgment free zone for people to be their best selves.

What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?

Growing up, I have always been in environments that pushed me to grow. Seeing my dad work with my grandfather on the family business, helped me see the value of “what you put into something is exactly what you get out of it”. As a dancer, I was continuously told (for better or worse) that I could always improve my skills, my effort, and my passion. Everything in my life added subtly into my desire and my need to try and improve upon processes that were around me. To make things better. To make myself better.

At the end of the day, I am learning that humans are humans and we are all just doing the best we can!

Fashion Buddy was one of the many ideas that were floating around my head when I started at Drexel University in 2017. In short, my passion for Fashion Buddy is really to help people’s confidence be more consistent for themselves. Something I wanted for myself.

Through meeting with my peers and with mentors from the Close School of Entrepreneurship, it was clear that I would be able to learn a lot about myself and about entrepreneurship through focusing on Fashion Buddy. So that’s what I did.

Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?

After deciding I really wanted to START one of my many ideas, I spent my time between classes (and sometimes during classes!) working on my app. I’d make sure I was always talking with my peers and talking to experts in the fields I was looking to enter with the app. Of course, I was also researching the HECK out of how to code, test, and market an app (all things I had never done before).

After learning how to wire-frame an app, I called in help from a student who had an entrepreneurship-minor. Together we were able to build the prototype and launch on the app store. Later, I found another young coder at Drexel University who was eager to learn about this process. He became my Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for some time and we were able to work out a lot of digital quirks with the app.

I had a lot of work to do on the sales and customer research side (which was humming in the background the ENTIRE time!). During this whole process, I was talking with sororities at school, talking with boutiques in Philly, and talking with people like my mom and her friends. I was trying to find out WHO my market was. Who could I help the most in terms of growing and sustaining confidence through fashion?

After about 4 months, I realized that my “customer” was NOT the final user (a person voting about outfits). It was mid-size retailers like South Moon Under (one of my current partners).


How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today, I am focusing on bringing a 5 STAR experience to mid-size retailers and looking at how to make those partnerships more successful. On my side, I have found that consumers like to vote, and have a harder time posting. This is something I am looking into. I am also seeing that my retail partners find value in having statistics of real-time data of what their target customer thinks about the items in their store. -- All things we are trying to understand and maximize.

And like any other student-starter, I am trying to balance my school work, my friendship work, and the new puppy that I got recently (Which … by the way, he has an Instagram..!)

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

As my passion for Fashion Buddy was and continues to be helping people grow and sustain confidence, I realize that there are so many ways in which people attempt to do this for themselves. My solution is just one of many. I’ve also learned that my “sales” are actually having to be targeted to a completely different “customer”.

Additionally, from being surrounded by so many other student startup owners, I have come to understand that we all have our difficulties and they look TOTALLY different from one another. The things I struggle with on a personal level end up helping me in the business world (like my continuous stress to improve or the constant feeling that I am not doing enough) … but to my peers, that sometimes looks like an “easier” struggle. To me, theirs looks “easier”.

At the end of the day, I am learning that humans are humans and we are all just doing the best we can!

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I’ve listed some of my favorite tools my team and I use almost everyday!

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

  1. The Start Up Checklist - this book is a step by step guide to getting started!
  2. How I Built This Podcast - SO INSPIRATIONAL, I get a new idea every time I listen to it
  3. Talking with peer mentors - one of the most helpful ways to come up with a “light bulb” moment

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

JUST TRY IT. And ask for a ridiculous amount of help. Ask everyone for all your questions. Get it out in front of yourself. I have had people tell me that I was one of the most successful people they have helped because I kept going back to them for help. People want to help you! And no one cares if you fail - so long as you are TRYING.

Where can we go to learn more?

Contact Us at [email protected]

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