Never burn bridges and always be helpful. There have been countless times that we needed a favor from a brand and they were able to go above and beyond to help us based on our relationship with them.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Meghan Belfiore, wearNYLA Founder and CEO. Born and raised in the epicenter of fashion, New York-native Meghan Belfiore turned her passion for the industry to start wearNYLA: the unique approach that combines boutique favorites with e-commerce ease, all at an affordable price point. Meghan’s self-made journey into fashion started with buying experience at top brands like Alice + Olivia, Rent The Runway, and REVOLVE. Her extensive knowledge of top consumer and retail trends gave her a special understanding of what the millennial female market was looking for. Meghan decided to pick up and move to sunny Los Angeles, which is where she made her mark in the e-comm retail world by starting wearNYLA. WearNYLA’s foundation is built upon providing women with a specially-curated collection of wearable, quality pieces that cannot be found in regular retail stores, at a fraction of the price of boutique retailers. Fully operating out of Santa Monica, Meghan structured wearNYLA’s buying strategy to maximize newness, ensuring customers are offered the latest, most trend-forward pieces from season to season. Her passion behind providing women with quality pieces at an affordable price point is the foundation wearNYLA was built on.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always loved fashion and knew from an early age that I wanted my career to involve it. Throughout college, I interned at many fashion companies and my first job out of college was at a highly respected company in the industry. I absolutely loved it, but, after almost two years, I ran into some health issues and I had to make the difficult decision to leave my job and take some time to focus on myself. During this time, I always thought about starting my own company, but never really jumped on the idea. It wasn’t until about a year later, after I went on my first interview and received an offer, that I realized that now is the time to do it if I am going to do it.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?
I truly learn something new every single day, which makes each day interesting. Never in a million years did I think I’d know (or even have the need to know) how to code or build a website!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
There are so many behind-the-scene stories that are so stressful and not funny at the time, but we look back and laugh now. It is so hard to choose just one. When we first started, we were researching photographers and ended up choosing someone that was on the more inexpensive side. Our photos just never turned out right, so we did a second shoot at the photographer’s studio. We noticed a bunch of dog toys and gear around, but didn’t think much of it. It turns out that the photographer specialized in shooting pet products! Long story short, this taught me a huge lesson that will stay with me forever — budget is very important, but sometimes spending a little more than you would like will save you a lot of money (and stress!) in the long run…especially if it’s for something that is a big deal. Photos for wearNYLA are everything since we strictly sell online, so it’s worth it to make sure these are done perfectly.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
There are some basic things that make wearNYLA stand out such as price point and quality; however, I think the fact that we are a small company comprised of women who are basically our target market gives us a huge edge. We aren’t run by a bunch of business men who don’t know much about fashion. We are the girls that shop on our site, which allows us to really hone in and provide our customers what they really want. It’s almost like we are personal shoppers. We all go together on buying trips and pick out items based on what we would personally wear. Often times, we get requests for certain styles and we are able to fulfill those requests, which I think is a really unique feature.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One of my main goals in starting this business is to provide an inclusive environment in a world that feels so exclusive, especially in a time where social media is such a big part of our lives. We keep all ages, sizes, and paychecks in mind when shopping, and want everyone to feel involved.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
As simple as it may sound, my favorite mantra is “it’s fine”. I always say that will be the title of my book one day. It relates to so many parts of my life. There are so many things on a daily basis that we deal with — from petty things like traffic or more intense things like money struggles — but I have found that everything finds a way of working itself out. Everything ends up being fine. The worry and struggle in between is so not necessary. This really helps me on a daily basis.
Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?
I think the most fascinating part about fashion is that it is constantly changing. There are so many factors that effect it…social media, what’s going on in the world, etc. It’s a very in-the-moment industry. Who would’ve thought that girls blogging about what they wear would turn them into major fashion icons and become big names in the industry? The exciting part is that there is room for anything and that it will always keep you on your toes.
What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry. Please share a story or example for each.
- Heart: This industry is far from easy and ever-evolving, so you really have to love it to succeed and grow with it.
- Strength: As with any business, there are so many ups and downs. There have been many times where I feel like we are at rock bottom and times where I feel like we are at the top. You have to hold your ground and be strong through all of those times.
- Authenticity: In the beginning, we were so worried about finding the right style for every category and what everyone would love. We realized that the best thing to do is buy what felt authentic to us, which is what I believe has led us to success.
- Flexibility: Everything is constantly changing from styles to best ways to promote and market to new platforms. You have to have the ability to be open and change.
- Relationships: The fashion industry is heavily relationship-based, whether it be with different brands, influencers, or even FedEx! Never burn bridges and always be helpful. There have been countless times that we needed a favor from a brand and they were able to go above and beyond to help us based on our relationship with them.
Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?
I recently read that the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world, which is surprising and scary. I think finding a way to become more sustainable would be a huge improvement.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I have had my own struggles with anxiety, and my dream is to find a way to help people who face those same issues and make a difference in their lives. I haven’t figured out how yet, but I know that it is definitely in my future.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow the company @wearnyla or my personal account @megbelfiore.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
About the author:
Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.