Student Side Hustles profiles BU students with unique entrepreneurial experiences. This week, meet Sarah Greisdorf, whose clothing brand puts pockets first!
This week, the CCD chatted with Sarah Greisdorf (CAS ‘20) about her clothing brand, Holdette. Holdette is a clothing brand that’ll hold your attention – and your stuff. After realizing that most women’s clothing does not have functional pockets, Greisdorf dreamed of founding a company that would make work clothes with real pockets. Now, her dream is becoming a reality. Read on to learn about her foray into the fashion world and her advice on following your interests.
Q: When did you first get the idea for Holdette?
I was taking a shower one day during my senior year of high school and realized that when I left the house I had to carry my phone, keys, and wallet in a purse and none of my male friends had to do that. Putting the puzzle pieces together I realized it was because men have functional pockets to carry all of their belongings and women don’t. I decided this was unfair and that I wanted to do something about it. Once I got to college I started aggregating clothes with pockets in a newsletter that I sent out every week. Five pivots later we are now launching our own clothing line starting with a line of women’s suits that will have eight functional pockets.
Q: Tell us more about the resources you’ve used at the BUild Lab. How did you first get in contact with them and how have they helped you grow your idea into a reality?
One of the very first events the BUild Lab held when they opened February 2018 was an opposite’s attract startup showcase the week of Valentine’s Day. The intention of the event was to show you and your co-founder were different in some way that made your company stronger. I was a solo founder so I didn’t exactly have an opposite to table with. To solve that problem, I had four different friends who took turns standing with me at my table, and each of them had a major that was different from mine, so we called that our “opposite” quality.
That was the beginning of a really amazing two years where I’ve since spent many days at the BUild Lab. I was lucky enough to be accepted to the BUild Lab Summer Accelerator program during the Summer of 2018, and I got to know the staff there very well. Since then, they have all been really incredible mentors and I owe a lot of our success to the skills and tools I learned from them.
Q: What has been the most challenging thing about starting your own clothing business?
I’m a computer science major so I had to learn how to do everything from scratch. I joke that I have a second major in fashion now because starting a company in a different industry than the one you’ve been trained in really does feel like picking up a second degree in terms of starting on the ground floor of knowledge and building up from there. I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, but I think that’s how you grow as a person and as an entrepreneur. If starting a company was easy, everyone would do it!
Q: Is there anything about owning your own business that you hadn’t expected to encounter when you started out?
You really can’t do anything alone. I was a “solopreneur” for a long time before adding teammates, and when I made the jump and let others help me out, we were able to grow so much faster. People say that a startup is like your baby, and in a lot of ways that has held true for me. I care deeply about Holdette and it’s success, but just because I’ve been there since the beginning doesn’t mean that I need to be the only one there forever. I thought I could do it myself, and every single day with my team I’ve learned that just could never have been true. I’m so lucky to have the most magnificent group of women all working together to help raise our communal “child”.
Q: What are your plans for Holdette after graduation?
We’re launching our first line of suits this spring through a crowdfunding campaign on a platform called IFundWomen. After we complete our campaign we’ll be able to do our first run of suits and get them out to customers. I’m hoping to relocate to NYC which tends to be a little more fashion-forward than Boston (sorry Bostonians!). The future is so big and there is an unlimited number of things that can happen and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Q: What advice can you give other students who are interested in pursuing their interests or passions?
Just start. If you’re waiting for the perfect moment, this is it. If you’re scared, that’s all the more reason to go for it. Get out of your comfort zone, constantly talk about your idea, and bring something new into this world. I think especially now we could all benefit from having something to pour ourselves into. Find your thing and go for it!