“I Don’t Blame Him for Ditching Me Anymore, That App He Created Ended Up Being Tinder!”
A Conversation with Caitlyn Chase, Founder of Caviar & Cashmere
I had the pleasure of interviewing Caitlyn Chase, who is the founder of the luxury lifestyle blog and brand, Caviar & Cashmere. Caviar & Cashmere was one of the first blogs to focus on the luxury industry, gaining widespread readership following its launch in 2011. Since the blog’s inception, Caitlyn Chase has been recognized for her work with Caviar & Cashmere in publications such as Vogue, Glamour, Blackbook and US Weekly. Caitlyn herself has received numerous awards, including being named one of the top 10 fashion bloggers in Los Angeles by Locale Magazine, “One to Watch” by LA Confidential Magazine, and won “Trendsetter of the Year” at the Los Angeles Business Journal Awards.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure!
I knew I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I have watched my father, a professional-poker-player-turned-entrepreneur conceptualize, start and sell over fifteen businesses in my life. I had that fire inside early on, from gourmet lemonade stands with lines around the corner at 5 years old to selling my grandmother’s vintage furs door-to-door in my neighborhood at only 10 years old. I wanted to be my own boss, and take control of my life and future. I went on to be the youngest fashion reporter at a national publication by the time I was 18, and founded my blog-turned-brand, Caviar & Cashmere at 21 right after I graduated University.
Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
When I initially wanted to launch the Caviar & Cashmere blog, I enlisted the help of an old friend who had recently started building websites. I did not know much about domains, content management systems, or coding, so I entrusted him to help me. He was my “go-to” for anything blog related for about one year, until he became less and less responsive, when he ultimately told me he was getting rid of the website building business, and going to create an app. I remember being so frustrated at the time, upset that he was “deserting me,” wondering what kind of app could be more important than helping me with my blog. Well, that app he went on to create ended up being Tinder. I don’t blame him for ditching me any more!
Yitzi: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I have always took pride in the authenticity of my content. I have been running Caviar & Cashmere for 7 years now, and can confidently say that I have never worked with a brand or product that I do not stand behind. If I would not personally be a client or consumer, I do not write about it. I think some people in this industry have lost that integrity. It can be understandably tempting if brands are coming to you with large checks, but I have wanted to stay true to myself and what I believe in from the start, even if that meant turning down a generous offer.
I also think I have been able to stand out, having realized early on that it was not that easy to monetize a blog solely with advertising or sponsored content. I knew I had created something special, a name that people had now heard of, so I wanted to capitalize on that. A year after I created the Caviar & Cashmere blog, I launched a brand by the same name. I began designing and producing a line of cashmere home and fashion accessories, which then went on to be sold in over 75 stores around the world. I realized the branded products were what was going to move the needle.
Yitzi: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I would not have been able to get where I am today if it weren’t for the unwavering support of my parents. My father taught me business acumen, while my mother taught me so many valuable life lessons, most important of which, was to always be kind. With every successful and failure I experienced, they always have my back and are my biggest cheerleaders.
Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
When I was sourcing fabric and factories for the Caviar & Cashmere brand, I stumbled upon an incredible family-owned cashmere manufacturing company in New Delhi, India. After getting to know not only the family (who went on to become my business partners) I got to know the country. I was deeply touched by the people, and wanted to do something to give back.
With the help of my business partners in India, we launched a NGO called PROUD in 2013. PROUD gives paid year-long apprenticeships with fully paid room and board to aspiring artisans, offering them the opportunity to learn a skilled trade at our high-tech factory in New Delhi. Following the apprenticeship, the talented artisans are given the choice to become an employee at the factory, or take their newly acquired skills back to the villages, having a way to make an income as well as teach the artisanship to their peers.
Yitzi: What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my Start-Up” and why.
- “Be Impeccable With Your Word.” I learned early on that your word can be used as a tool or as a weapon. Choosing your words wisely and with integrity is always important, and making sure that if whatever you are saying or writing were to be broadcast publically, you would stand behind it.
- “Do Not Be Afraid to Fail.” It is not easy to build up the confidence and overcome the fear of failure, but when you do, amazing things will happen. I have learned that rejection, or defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the real failure.
- “Always Do Your Best.” Your best will fluctuate from day-to-day, it will be different on a healthy day as opposed to a sick day, however, you should always do your best. This will afford you no self-judgement or regret, going to sleep knowing you tried your best.
- “Be Kind to Everyone.” You can have everything you want in life if you help others get what they want. Helping someone else out is never going to undermine your success.
- “Your Health is Your Wealth.” I have finally, after many years, mastered the work-life balance. I was far too focused on achieving my professional goals and far too unconcerned with my overall health. I realized that I wasn’t doing any body any favors by being tired or stressed. When I came to the realization that being in sound health, in both body and mind, would benefit my business, is when I truly started to succeed. I think daily exercise and meditation changed my life path.
Yitzi: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
If I had the opportunity to choose anyone in the world to share a meal with, it would be Oprah. I cannot think of one woman in my lifetime that I have seen influence so many people in such a positive way. She is a force of nature, and a reminder to everyone, not only women, that anything is possible if you put in the work.
Yitzi:This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
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If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.