Saturday, June 8, 2013

EVENT | 92Y x Glamour Magazine: Start-Up Queens

I've been fortunate enough to immerse myself in the world of start-ups and surround myself with innovative individuals with the strongest entrepreneurial spirit around. From working at Ryerson's Digital Media Zone to attending Social Media Week earlier this year, and now working from a WeWork office space in NYC, I've really been enjoying learning about all these different companies and getting insight into what it takes to start something from the ground up.

While I was settling into my new-found summer home of New York during my first week here, I was able to check out 92Y and attend a panel discussion featuring some of today's start-up queens.

The event was moderated by Glamour Magazine's editor-in-chief Cindi Leive and featured amazing guests: Iman, Dylan Lauren, Coco Rocha, Piera Gelardi and Elizabeth Cutler.

Photo credit: Astrid Stawiarz/WireImage
She came from humble beginnings and found her way to becoming one of the most iconic supermodels of her generation. During her modelling career, as a darker-skinned woman she would find herself in situations where the makeup artists would not have the proper products for her skin tone. The solution? She created her own.

IMAN Cosmetics was born and is now a successful brand is used by women all over the world.

She wanted to be known as something more than just "model Iman" and she has definitely established her ability to work hard and take control. She took the opportunity to network with industry executives rather than put herself in situations that could damage her image. (You won't find her out at fashion parties every night, that's for sure!)

Her advice:

"Believe in your business. Know it inside and out."

"Don't be scared to ask for help from the right people."

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Let that beholder be you."


I am so proud that this supermodel is Canadian. She has broken into the fashion industry and risen straight to the top. With the help of social media and personal branding, Coco Rocha took her career into her own hands and stood up for what she believed in. She embraced new social networking platforms such as Tumblr and Twitter before they had become as large as they are today. As a result, Coco has made her presence known online and off and has become a huge role model for young women worldwide.

"I learned hard. I trusted everyone in the beginning."

"People are respected in any industry for standing up for what they believe in."

" Don't be negative Nancys. Be positive."


This entrepreneur comes from a very business-savvy family (being the daughter of THE Ralph Lauren and all) but she found a niche that has allowed her to pursue her love of sweets. She was inspired as a child when she saw Willy Wonka and since then, she's created her own candy company: Dylan's Candy Bar.

I met Dylan back in 2010 when her line launched in Holt Renfrew in Vancouver. I got to chat with her about starting her own business and what her favourite treats are. Check it out here:

"It was a growing passion, a no-brainer."

"We were selling a lifestyle merging fashion, art and pop culture with candy."


She co-founded Refinery29, a  website that has become one of the biggest online lifestyle destinations. Piera created the culture she wanted to work in. Taking on the challenge of creating a startup is a big decision.On quitting her day job: "It was intuition. I was just ready for the next challenge."


She is a co-founder of SoulCycle, a spin studio that started on Manhattan's Upper West Side in 2006. Since then, 15 other locations have opened nationwide. 

She was told that "spinning was dead" but she knew she was onto something.

She emphasized the importance of being grateful for their supporters right from the beginning.

Some other moments from the panel worth mentioning:

Coco was gushing about how she has always looked up to Iman and sees her as her role model and Iman replied, "She says she looks up to me, but when I grow up I want to be Coco." —Cute!

Photo credit: Astrid Stawiarz/WireImage
Coco took a moment to call out all those high school bullies she had to deal with. "To all the jocks and cheerleaders, look where I am now!" - you go Coco.

She's so great.

Anyways, it was such a fantastic event and I definitely left inspired.

- Christina
Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28

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