Good morning Coffee Lovers -
Every company has a beginning. It starts with a person who has an idea. As a female founded company, I am fascinated by other female entrepreneurs because it encourages me to go chase my dreams and passions, too. So, I want to share these stories with you. The other day I had the opportunity to sit down with QWN's Founder, Danielle Regina, and talk about how she got started. Lets jump right in!
Q: What is QWN?
Danielle: QWN is an apparel brand - it started as basic apparel (plain hats, t-shirts, phone cases, etc) - and then I wanted to bump it up to something very different. QWN has this messaging around female empowerment as it's niche - the whole point is to encourage women to "Put a crown on their own heads" and to delve into the parts of themselves that make them who they are.
Q: How did it get started?
Danielle: I started it when I was a senior in college. I had grown up in sports, with so many alpha women - so strong characters and well rounded. But in college I actually had a coach who was degrading and negative. This reflected into our team - we were terrible. She was supposed to be a coach who was empowering us, making us feel good, yet she was destroying us. When you're on a college sports team, you're with your teammates every day; you know just how great they are - their strengths - and they're your family. However, for my teammates, "their lights were dimmed" and it was because of this woman. It made me sad and angry. So, I wanted to build something that was empowering, moving. I'd worn a sports uniform my entire life - it had bound me to all these women and connected me to them, so I wanted to do something with clothing. For the name itself, I've always been obsessed with a woman being a queen and my last name is Regina which means Queen in Italian. The business itself started from my dorm room, as I was trying to juggle sports, classes, and getting ready to graduate.
Q: Tell me your background. Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Danielle: I grew up in a small town in NJ, and I was bullied A LOT. People made fun of me because I played softball, as nobody played competitive sports at the level I was. And it was also a town where everyone knew everything about everybody. As a person with a lot of ambitions and goals, that was different for my town - they stayed where they started. I wouldn't say that influenced me wanting to be an entrepreneur - it influenced me to get out of that town and state. So when I went to college I really found this new confidence in myself. For starting QWN, I started it because it was just from what I was passionate about. Now I want to be an entrepreneur for the rest of my life because you get to create and do what you want - and that is incredible. I switched my major around a few times, I had solid grades.. I just didn't want to go school again.
Q: How do you balance a full time job and your business?
Danielle: I rarely sleep. It's hard. It's hard to balance. The business and all my relationships... being healthy.. being able to provide an experience for my customers.. So I find a routine, and then make adjustments as needed.
Q: What do you feel gets pushed onto the side?
Danielle: I sacrifice my sleep or my personal health. I have the mindset "Ok well I'm going to bust my butt now, and sacrifice a few fun nights because one day I'll have all the hours."
Q: Biggest accomplishment so far?
Danielle: Camilla Cabello has worn my products! I gave my products to her at an event and she wore it! Also, a college softball player (Stoneybrook), Dani Kemp who unfortunately recently passed, had a brain tumor. I created a custom cap with her name, and fundraised the profits to her organization. As it's an ongoing fight, I am continuing raising that money for the charity.
Q: What is the ideal customer for you?
Danielle: A customer who loves the product, who is happy to have the products, who loves what we're trying to achieve.. A young girl who tries to change the world, who loves herself & the women around her... One who empowers others & themselves.But also taking it from women to woman. Making it more individual.
Q: How has being a female helped you in business?
Danielle: It's helped me because I love being able to say I'm a 23 year old woman with a business. It requires you to open up your mind to all the possibilities. No one anticipates you to come up. And I believe hat women can understand more hardship, understand other women - men don't necessarily have this.
Q: How do you plan on expanding in the future?
Danielle: Collaborate with other female founders. You see a lot of these men business moguls - and there's not a lot of women. So being able to provide role models. And incorporate more interactive things, like artwork.
Q: In terms of starting a business, what were the more difficult parts?
Danielle: Figuring out the logistics and the marketing. Having patience in the logistical phase and the experimentation phase. You have to test everything!
Q: Any big ideas or projects coming in the next year?
Danielle: Focus on the gallery, more collabs, and we are relaunching our Crown collection (Feb 13). Also, to hold some events!
We at Coffee Over Cardio absolutely LOVE the message behind this brand. Please checkout their website at www.qwnapparel.com
If you are or know of a female founded business, please shoot us an email with their contact! We would love to interview them and share their story!
Have a wonderful week!
Coffee Over Cardio