Katie Iverson, the owner of Designer Arm Candy has always had a love of designer handbags, and has turned that love into her business. Health struggles have been a part of Katie’s struggle to fulfill her dreams of selling designer handbags. Despite this, she faces challenges optimistically and encourages others to listen to your gut and follow your dreams.
In this episode we discuss:
- The benefit of having a background in the product you intend to sell
- The difference between money coming in and money staying in
- Some heartfelt advice
How did your company start?
Since Katie was a little girl, she was into designer bags and always wanted a real one. In her site bio she says that to her it, “meant that you ‘had made it’ and you were a force to be reckoned with.” When deciding what college to go to, Katie decided to make her own path by going to a state school instead of an art institute, like her sister. However, she was not happy there. She finally conceded and went to an art institute for fashion retail management. In her senior year, she interned at Begdorf Goodman where they sold handbags and luxury jewelry. That internship gave er the knowledge to be able to spot a fake from a mile away, and she grew experienced in identifying counterfeit items. This skill would give her a big advantage later on.
In 2015 Katie started a boutique from her basement, growing to a storefront and 6,000 square foot warehouse. She wanted more for her glamour-defined women’s boutique, so she branched out and added a print shop called Glamour Tees. While running both of these companies, Katie took on yet another venture when she started a resale company for designer handbags. Running three companies soon took a toll on her, however, when dealing with severe health conditions led to burnout. In December of 2019, she closed her boutique and in February sold her print shop. Now with only one company, she was able to recover and put all of her energy into the one company: Designer Arm Candy. An online store that sells designer handbags, Designer Arm Candy benefits from Katie’s previous internship experience in that she can recognize fakes. In addition to personally checking each item herself, she also uses a third party authentication tool called Entropy. We have the great opportunity to hear about her overcoming not only a major physical illness, but also her mental health struggles and how making a podcast served as her own mental therapy where she could have an outlet.
What are some things you wished you’d known before starting?
Katie didn’t know where to start with this question. First off, do your research. She started her website on Volusion but after trying it, determined that it was not user-friendly and had a horrible backend. So she switched to Shopify and was more than happy with it. The next thing she wished she’d known is that there’s plenty of customers to go around. Don’t let what others are doing impact what you do. The main thing she wished she’d known is that it doesn’t matter what you do a year in sales it matters your profit you can make a lot of sales but after paying for loans and all your other expenses there’s not much left. It doesn’t matter how much comes in it matters how much stays in.
What advice would you give someone trying to start their own e-commerce brand?
Katie faced this question with an optimistic note when she said listen to your gut and follow your dreams. She encourages people not to let other people’s opinions run your business, but to trust yourself. The last piece of advice she gives is to share with one’s community and build each other up.