Interview: Joana Florez of ShopRagHouse

Tell readers about yourself.

We’re former law school roommates and good friends. Bridgette is from Massachusetts and Joana from Florida. Neither of us saw ourselves slaving away in big law firms (even while in law school) so we used to sit up late in our apartment tossing ideas around for start-ups. After years of back and forth, we finally decided to dive full time into the idea that would ultimately become ShopRagHouse and we couldn’t be happier.

What was the inspiration behind ShopRagHouse?

It was in the throes of launching our own fashion line, taking a huge detour from legal practice, that the concept for ShopRagHouse was born. We saw first hand how difficult the process for launching a line was and we knew that there were people out there, like us, facing these same obstacles so we created a space to facilitate the process from mere fashion ideas to actual garments. How could we not be excited about ShopRagHouse – it’s at the intersection of all the things we love best: fashion, social media, and technology.

For those new to ShopRagHouse, it’s a fashion community that allows members to submit their designs and have them voted on by other members for a chance to have them produced, free of charge, and sold on the site for 20% of the profits.

We are so excited to be reaching out to fashion enthusiasts everywhere and asking them to show us their style by submitting a design to be featured in our launch collection.

How does Shop Rag House work?

ShopRagHouse is a members only design community and forum. We produce limited edition pieces 100% designed, chosen, and crowd-funded by our members. We really believe that anyone can be a designer, even two former lawyers with a penchant for bold colors and prints and high end fashion at cut throat prices. Our goal is to connect designers and design enthusiasts to the people who matter most, potential buyers.

Members can upload their designs and have them voted on by other members. We turn the most liked designs into samples, which are in turn made available for crowd-funding. Once a design has hit its goal, it goes into production and is shipped to those who pledged to buy it automatically.

How are you involved in the Shop Rag House community?

One important way that we have cultivated the SRH community is actively engaging our members. Right now we are working behind the seams to really make SRH run seamlessly. We request and accept any and all feedback from our members and we’ve actually implemented quite a bit of it on the site as we continue to update the platform and our business model.

Thanks to all the wonderful feedback we’ve received, we’re really excited about the direction that we are heading in and we fully intend to vote, comment, and pledge on designs that we love in the future!

As an entrepreneur, what advice would you give to a woman considering leaving her job to start her own business?

We worked for a really long time coming up with our an idea that we knew would work based on our intuition and our research.

Once we knew that the idea was right and the timing was right, we were ready to make the jump. If either of those things had been off we might not have been so bold about making this move. We’d advise any entrepreneur to really consider those two things. There are obviously a whole host of other factors like personal finances that one has to consider before doing something like this as well, but if you have those elements worked out, we would really encourage entrepreneurs to be bold – you have to strike while the iron is hot.

Which woman/women (personally, professionally, famous, or all three) have influenced your life? Your business?

We’re very inspired by other female founders of fashion-tech startups out there like Gilt Groupe (we both literally read their book cover-to-cover in about 24 hours).

This is such an exciting space to be working in and we’re thrilled to be joining their ranks and hope to see similar success in the near future (fingers crossed!).

Thank you Joana for taking time from your busy schedule to share your experience and advice with other women. To learn more about ShopRagHouse visit:
Facebook: ShopRagHouse
Twitter: @TheRagHouse
Tumblr: Behind the Seams

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