ANGELI TARSADIA REDDY // SIX TWENTY
SIX TWENTY was born out of the constant struggle to find luxury basics without going through racks and racks at the department store and paying $100 for a designer top. With a passion for both business and design, SIX TWENTY wanted to solve this issue. The SIX TWENTY site has affordable, carefully-crafted apparel and jewelry from the factory straight to your doorstep. The SIX TWENTY team designs, sources, and manufactures all of their pieces in Los Angeles, California. Their mission is to refine the process and pricing behind the timeless pieces that are the very canvas of your wardrobe.
Was there a moment in your life when the light bulb went off and you just knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur and launch your own collection of women’s basics?
Growing up in a business family I think its safe to say that entrepreneurship is in my blood. Babson College definitely helped me develop the necessary skills and inspire me to pursue my dreams even further. After college I had the opportunity to build a furniture brand from the ground up, which gave me the confidence to start something of my own.
As a self-professed jeans and t-shirt girl (aren’t we all, really?) I was inspired to create SIX TWENTY because of my own frustration of going through racks and racks at the department store and paying $100+ for a designer top. Although I loved the final product, I knew there had to be another way.
So with my passion for both business and design, I cut through the clutter and made it my mission to bring consumers high quality wardrobe essentials at up to 80% of traditional retail costs all while being made in the USA.
Once you knew you wanted to launch your line what steps did you take to make that a reality?
Launching any business takes vision and a lot of hard work. We started with the idea of building your closet the smart way. It’s a conscious decision to buy quality pieces that will last you years vs. one or two wears, and ones that have the ability to be versatile enough that you can wear them with multiple different outfits. A SIX TWENTY piece is created with the consumer in mind from start to finish. We created garments that can be layered, worn through seasons, and remain high-quality. We want our customers to view our garments as timeless additions to their wardrobe.
So with this in mind I spent a year looking for the best factories and fabric suppliers in LA. With a little bit of good luck and a lot of hard work, I was fortunate enough to find a family-owned factory that manufactures for some major LA labels. Our first collection was made up of quality tees and blouses that are comparable to brands like Vince and James Perse all without the high price tag.
FUN FACT: By the time a piece of clothing reaches the consumer there is typically a 8x markup associated with the item making high end items prohibitively expensive and often forcing us to purchase from unattractive and unethical sources.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
When you are building a start-up, you’re not only building a business but you are also developing yourself. There will always be those days where you ask yourself “Am I Crazy for Doing This?” The answer is yes you are and that’s okay, because that is what makes us entrepreneurs. I’ve learned that among the rough days there will be some extraordinary ones and that living a happy and healthy lifestyle will make your start-up journey that much more fulfilling.
Additionally, I think the most important thing when starting a business is to keep an open mind, listen to your customer and adapt to change. That’s why we set up our initial launch in beta so we could adjust accordingly and then do an official launch.
Starting a business is fun and exciting but it requires a lot of hard work. There are always going to be people that tell you not to do it but you have to be resilient and dream big!
What has surprised you about owning your own business?
It’s been two years since I originally had the idea for SIX TWENTY and there is no doubt that starting a business can be an emotional roller coaster. If you’re an entrepreneur, no matter what industry you are in, there’s always this excitement that comes with starting a new idea. The possibility of creating a product that becomes a household name, a service that revolutionizes its industry, or even a social enterprise that changes lives is a powerful motivator. But of course it’s not all dream clouds and rainbows. There are plenty of days where you feel really lonely or depressed because you got a big NO, or that big risk your taking isn’t paying off and it seems like there’s no end in sight. These are the days that are extremely difficult. But with the right amount of drive and the right mindset these days can be far and few between.
Do you have a daily routine or rituals you do?
Developing and keeping up with a weekly workout routine amidst a hectic start-up schedule was a big challenge for me. But once I found out what works best for me, exercise has had such a profound impact on my happiness and well-being. Not only has it been proven to make you a more positive person but it also allows for boosts of energy when you need it the most.
What challenge have you had along the way? Any hard situations you’ve had to deal with?
Working on a start-up is a 24-hour gig. So its hard to learn when to disengage. But Tim Ferris, from the 4-Hour Work Week puts it perfectly: “If your entire ego and identity is vested in your startup, where there are certain factors outside your control, you can get into a depressive funk that affects your ability to function.”
When we first launched our site, I was up for 48-hours straight making sure the programmers fixed all the bugs. Despite my efforts, the site wasn’t ready, so I definitely had a mini meltdown (well not so mini). Looking back, it really didn’t matter if we spent a few more days working out all the kinks, it was my own emotional ego that was so vested and making me feel so terrible. It would have been better if I had gotten some sleep, gone to yoga, and started fresh the next day.
What do you wish you would have known going into this?
Take one step at a time and only work with people who share your vision.
What have you found works for you as far as organizing your business and time?
One thing I’ve found that really helps me is to stick to one notebook (or application) that rules them all. I used to work across multiple platforms, which included the occasional piece of scrap paper shoved into my work bag. While I was still able to get my work done, I soon realized that I was definitely using more time than necessary toward certain tasks and when starting a business time is money.
Highlight of your career so far?
Selling out of our first run of products at our first pop-up shop in Newport Beach, CA.
Looking back, what would you do differently?
At the beginning I used to stress about every little thing, from the size of the fonts on my website to the lead time of my product. So I can tell you that it’s easy to get too close and forget about the big picture. Trust me, no one is looking at your work as closely as you are, so don’t sweat the small stuff it will only cause you to get wrinkles.
Any advice that you’d give other entrepreneurs?
My advice for anyone looking to start his/her own company is to have a strategy in place before launching. Be sure you define your brand voice, understand your target market, and research your competitors so you know how you will stand out from the crowd.
Best advice you’ve been given?
“Never chase money or fame, work from the heart and let them chase you.” – my Dad
Behind the Biz takes a deep dive behind the scenes with business owners and entrepreneurs.
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