Gemma Sole | founder, Nineteenth Amendment

"Always ask. And always get your hair done. You never know when an important meeting or press opportunity will come up!"

How do you start your day? 

I look at my email on my phone (sooo bad).

Who inspires you?

My parents, my twin sister Lucy, and olympic gymnasts.

What would you tell yourself as a teenager? 

It will get better 😉

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

Always ask. And always get your hair done. You never know when an important meeting or press opportunity will come up!

What do you need to get you through each day?

Extra hot cappuccino.

What are you reading? 

Modern Monopolies by Alex Maozed

Briefly describe your business and inspiration for it.

Nineteenth Amendment curates unique collections from independent designers all over the world, all available at pre-sale prices and made on-demand in the USA. Inspired by the law that guarantees universal suffrage, we help independent designers find their voice by providing a platform for high quality, small batch manufacturing and direct sales to an audience eager to obtain cutting edge fashion before it goes mainstream.

How has your passion fueled your business?

I love building beautiful things and solving problems. I get to help hundreds of designers sell and produce garments in the smartest, most cost-efficient way possible – that’s awesome! It doesn’t hurt that I get to wear them sometimes too:).

What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I come from a family of hard-working entrepreneurs. And I graduated in 2009 which made everyone re-evaluate their paths to success and values.

What was the tipping point for realizing you had a good business?

I was in Boston working and taking investor calls on my lunch break. They kept asking me why I was in Boston and not New York on this full-time :).

What has been the key to your success?

Grit. And assembling an amazing team.

What lessons have you learned along the way that you wish you would have known at the beginning of your start-up career?

Take the amount of time you think it will take and double it. Then double it again. Everything takes longer than you think it will and time moves fast!

What is the biggest challenge you have had in your business to date and how did you pull through it? What would you have done differently?

Hiring is tough and time consuming. I would not have hired as early as we did.

When self-doubt hits, what do you do?

Talk to my cofounder. There’s no one better than your team to look to for support and celebrate the amazing achievements.

What is your biggest fear as an entrepreneur?

Disappointing customers. I dislike disappointing people generally, which I think is key to making a great software and product company! You are always working 110% so your customers fall in love.

What aspects of being a start-up entrepreneur do you love and/or dislike?

I love being able to control my own schedule…which really means working all the time 🙂 But I do love that no day is ever the same.

What has been your best strategy for selling your product or service and what have you learned along the way?

Video is definitely having a moment right now, which makes it a perfect testing ground for growing a brand. Finding new and creative ways to integrate video for storytelling is one of our top priorities.

How did your experiences in the corporate world prepare you for entrepreneurship, or not?

Corporate life is key for learning communication and documentation. It may seem tedious at the time, but it is crucial – especially in small and fast growing teams.

What would you say to another woman who asked you if they should take the leap and start their own business?

Find a cofounder, stat.