As more companies begin to embrace the digital age and find ways to optimize their brand’s reach, Elizabeth Kott is a pro when it comes to brand building and staying ahead of the (digital) curve in the fashion industry.
While in college, Elizabeth studied advanced communications in Rome and Mass Media in London through Michigan State University. Her post collegiate years found her developing social media strategies for brands such as Sweet Street Desserts and LaraBar. A flair for style coupled with an extensive knowledge base of media has made her a much sought after consultant and stylist.
Recruited by Team Zoe (as in Rachel Zoe, top stylist to the stars), she worked with them to develop RachelZoe.com and its digital newsletter, The Zoe Report from the ground up.
Suffice it to say, the girl knows her stuff!
Her newest venture, Closet Rich, an online consignment shop for gently used high-end clothing, takes things to another level.
Launched in August, the insanely popular e-commerce site combines her fashion expertise and the digital medium in a way that’s unique to consignment shopping. It’s personal (she handpicks everything that you see on the site) so you feel like you’re shopping with a friend, but its clean and simple design makes it so easy to navigate and go straight for the gold. She also works with sellers to donate (equally good) but unsellable pieces to charities like Dress for Success (so nothing goes to waste!)
Read on to learn more about this savvy businesswoman and find out if you’re closet rich!
Many know you as the Digital Marketing Manager at Rachel Zoe Media; however, you’ve been involved in PR and Brand Management for quite a few years. What lead you to create Closet Rich? Was an e-commerce business always a part of your career path or were you inspired in another way?
Having worked in the fashion industry for some time, I simply found a hole in the market for the services that Closet Rich provides; that’s where the inspiration came from. I am the Closet Rich customer on all ends – I needed a place that offered a simple avenue for selling my closet’s castaways. I had a hankering for an online experience that allowed me to check out what people were selling and I really wanted for a trusted portal for donating items that were not sell-worthy.
Taking the leap from a management position to running your own business is big; what has been the biggest challenge for you?
The beautiful thing about starting my own business is that I was able to manifest for myself the career I wanted; I visit my client’s closet’s, design and maintain Closetrich.com, style and photograph all the product for the site, oversee Closet Rich’s online presence and have a major focus on brand development and partnership execution.
My biggest challenge with these fantastic duties is not getting overwhelmed by my to-do list. My friend Marisa Spinella, designer of the shoe line Penelope and Coco, provided this expert advice: always do whatever you can do at that moment. Abiding by this keeps the challenges in check.
Any advice for those who may be thinking of taking that entrepreneurial jump?
Read any personal style blog and you can see that consignment shopping and thrifting have become huge over the last few years. For those who may be unfamiliar, what’s the biggest difference between the two?
Thrifting can certainly be a more challenging activity than consignment. Many, like myself, love this challenge- but it requires patience, a keen eye, and a highly developed sense of personal taste.
Consignment on the other hand, is more for the clued-in shopper; those who shop consignment are savvy. They have the knowhow to understand there is no need to pay full price for amazing brands. The Closet Rich girl is tuned into this notion for sure.
Prior to launching Closet Rich, how often could you be found searching for buried treasures?
Ever since I can remember, I used to shop my basement…my mother, who notoriously doesn’t get rid of anything, stored not only all of her old clothes, but her mother’s and her aunt’s (insane, couture filled) wardrobe in our basement. From a very young age, I had these amazing treasures at my fingertips. Thanks to my mother’s hoarder tendencies and a great tailor, I was able to build quite the wardrobe from my basement’s “archives”. As a result, my love of vintage, thrifting, and consignment shopping was born.
The pieces listed on Closet Rich come from your personal clients’ closets and are handpicked by you. Do you feel that that personal touch makes the difference?
Totally- the curration is key. If I don’t love it or see it as something I know my customer would covet, it’s not going up on the site. I don’t want my site visitors to have to shuffle through pages of sh*t, only gems.
When selecting pieces to host via Closet Rich, what are a few things you look for?
Things I would wear, things my friends would wear, and stains.
What tips would you give for people looking to shop consignment?
First consider the value of the items that are lying around in your clothing arsenal…are you wearing it? Is it sellable? If the answer is no and yes in that order, then you my friend, are closet rich. Sell it!
Has operating Closet Rich affected your own closet? Have you ever found something and thought “Hmm, I’d love to keep this!” lol.
Of course that thought crosses my mind often- but it always goes up on the site. My shoppers get first dibs!
Lastly, are there any fall trends hot on your radar right now?
I’m one for the classics: a perfectly tailored camel coat is my must for the season.
My top picks right now:
|Kate Moss for Topshop Leather Jacket, $175|
|Helmut Lang White Jacket, $88|
|H&M Military Band Jacket, $38|
|Joie White Lace Blouse, $100|
|Alexander Wang Fringe Open Toe Shootie, $495|
|The Row Linen Blouse, $120|
|Vintage Purple Blouse, $58|
|Vintage Turquoise and Pearl Brooch, $20|