Name: Amanda Curtis
Business: Nineteenth Amendment, an interactive service that connects emerging designers with shoppers
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Reason for starting: After graduating from Parsons I had immediate success, designing for celebrities, and NY Fashion Week. Despite all of this I wasn’t financially successful (read starving artist).That’s when I decided that we need to use technology to help designers bootstrap (or what I like to call “stiletto strap”) and test market validation. I want to give other designers a chance to succeed in fashion by lowering the financial bar of entry and letting talent and drive be the determining factors of success.
How do you define success? Success to me is defined by how many lives I positively impact, and how long that impact lasts. I hope to give designers around the globe an opportunity to design and share their passion and vision. I hope that I can change an antiquated industry for the better by growing domestic manufacturing and giving people a choice in their self expression.
Biggest Success: I’ve had personal success, designing for Ellen DeGeneres, head designing a fashion line, and winning a national contest on entrepreneurship. However, my biggest success is diving into the business world, something that is relatively new for me, and giving other designers an opportunity to achieve financial and industry success. Having this opportunity and responsibility is so much more gratifying as a measure of success.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge is believing in myself. All other problems, money, consumers, technology, can be solved with outside resources. Believing in oneself must come from within. I have surrounded myself with amazing mentors and a phenomenal team. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely, uphill journey and my co-founder Gemma Sole has been an incredible support. When doubt enters my mind I look around at the people who believe in me, and I them, and I find the inner strength to move onward.
I was indirectly involved in the Boston Marathon Bombings (our office was a few blocks away from the finish line). Going through that experience really made me analyze the worth of my company beyond financial projections. I have become more focused on the positive impact that Nineteenth Amendment will have on the people that use it. Nineteenth Amendment has strong financial projection but we want our investors to also see the more important value of our business.
Who is your most important role model? I idolize Diane Von Furstenburg. Along with her support of young designers, and her mission to make the fashion industry a better place, she is an embodiment of how powerful women can be, while still acting and looking like women. I sat in a meeting with Diane when I was 19. It was during that meeting when I decided I needed to be a designer and an entrepreneur. She is genuine, impactful, and compassionate, all qualities of a great leader.
Edited by The Story Exchange