Most entrepreneurs will say that you need to take risks in order to be successful. We spoke to Larisa Ginzburg, founder of Vint & York, who took a big risk that certainly paid off in the end.
You left your 9-5 job to pursue your passion. How did you decide to make this transition?
My 9-5 job was never really 9-5. When you work in business and information technology consulting, your hours become unpredictable. There is always a deadline to meet or last minutes requirements to squeeze in. The transition was natural because it also gave me flexibility to attend my children’s school events and other activities.
Vintage eyewear is completely different from the corporate environment you were in previously. How did you find this change in the beginning?
I was ready for the change for a long time. When you work in corporate there is a limited amount of decision making you can participate in. And usually there is very little room for the creativity. I really wanted to get involved in fashion and design, but at the same time find a way to apply my IT experience.
Leaving a secure job where you are financially comfortable can be quite a risk. How did you ensure you kept your vision going?
Yes, it was a significant risk. Naturally, I had mixed feelings about it. It wasn’t easy especially in the beginning. I had my doubts, at times. However, I felt it inside that I was going in the right direction. What I considered difficult was ironing out the details – starting from the manufacturing aspect and all the way to creative direction, technology, marketing and others.
Did you have a business plan before quitting your job?
I didn’t have an actual business plan before I quit. I had a vision which I wanted to pursue. Eventually I developed a business plan but, as we all know, in life we can forecast things but it almost never follows the plan. We can attempt to make predictions and forecasts of what will happen in the future. However, the reality is that there are always unexpected circumstances and obstacles that we are never fully prepared for, and which we must deal with as they happen.
How did you fund your business in the beginning stages?
We self-funded from the personal savings.
What have been some of the most challenging things you faced in the beginning and how do they compare to the challenges you face now in your business?
In the beginning, we were concerned about developing and sticking to a certain concept of what our eyewear was suppose to stand for and represent. The actual development process was a lengthy one and involved trying different concepts and figuring out what worked and what didn’t in terms of design, messaging, brand appeal.
At the moment, the most important challenge is growing the brand awareness beyond our client base and also internationally.
You have six children. How do you maintain your work-life balance?
Sometimes I can't even explain it, but my work day is intermixed with my life at home. I recognize that work life balance is not easy, particularly as a business owner. However, family is my top priority and I try to take at least 1 days off per week. I also wish I could spend more time in our retail location, as I would like to hear how our customers feel about the frames. I'm interested in what they are looking for in terms of design, fit, materials and colors. I also monitor our chat from my phone - after hours - and sometimes answer to chats at 11 pm EST as we have a lot of customers shopping from the West Coast.
Many people want to go after what they are passionate about but are paused by the fear of the unknown, leaving a comfortable, stable situation for something that could work or could end up failing. Did you experience this fear and how would you advise aspiring entrepreneurs to overcome it?
It’s important to have a vision and believe in it. Passion is also key - being completely immersed and invested is imperative in building a successful business.
I would advise other to be receptive to both input and criticism - before making a decision – run it by your friends or family members and see what their reaction and thoughts are.
This is an invaluable way to better your brand and yourself as a business owner. You will know that your business is constantly improving.
It’s also important to remember that the final decision to pursue your dream is yours to make and nobody else can do it for you. In essence: be confident, be proactive, believe in yourself and take action. Don’t hold back and move forward with complete dedication and ambition.
Fear and doubt are a constant factor, and are always present in some form in the back of your mind. Even the most successful people experience fear. The difference is that they don’t let it discourage them. Use fear as fuel to push you to improve and continue building your success.