Angelina Mahany is a CEO and Founder of Angie’s Showroom luxury handmade lingerie boutique and the creator of the Angie’s Luxury Bags, a sustainable resell ecommerce platform. She is also a Marketing Professional, a Business Owner, and a Fashion Designer based in Ormond Beach, Florida.
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Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Angelina Mahany: Yes, sure. I was born and raised in Moscow. I studied at choreography school and planned to become a Ballerina. Dance was all my life maybe that is why I love underwear and sleepwear so much because it reminds me of our ballerina clothes, the beauty, and the light-weight of clothing. After that, I switched to business. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Management, and also a Master’s degree in Marketing. I have worked for large corporations for some time in Russia and France, then I received an offer from a start-up company in Cyprus, so I took this chance and moved there. After that, I moved to Austin, TX, where the man who became my husband was living☺. Long story short, when I realized there is a huge gap in the lingerie market, I decided to start my own business. I wanted to show the US clients something they had never seen before… Lingerie that has it all. Quality, comfort, and sexy styles at an affordable price! So Angie’s Showroom was born. So, I guess I can say that I have broad experience in different spheres. My biggest dream (especially after Paris) was to work with fashion and to create something for women. I know different languages and got to know different cultures, which impacted on starting my own company.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Angelina Mahany: No. Not everyone can be a founder, and that is fine. We are all different people; we need different things in life. Some like and enjoy working from 8 to 5 and grow inside of their company, have stability, and spend as much time as possible with their families. And some people like to create something on their own and leave their legacy. They like to risk and are not afraid of losing. That’s a part of the success as well. Not to be scared and push harder. Founders are quick learners because you normally start from zero and on your own, so you have to learn many different things and quickly. They have to have persuasion skills and good communication skills. Be ready as I said to risk, and always think outside of the box.
A very structured person and who do not like creating, who like to receive direct tasks and do them well, probably is a very good employee and an asset in the company, but not a business owner. So, based on all of that, I would say they are born with certain characteristics. You can during your lifetime change some patterns of your behavior, but still, I believe you should have something inside of you to become an entrepreneur. It might grow in you based on your childhood, your family environment, your experiences.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Angelina Mahany: I would say that I am very passionate, always looking for something new, I can’t stop thinking and looking for new ideas. I am an achiever, and a workaholic lol. I love what I do, and I want to leave some legacy for the world even if it’s small.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Angelina Mahany: I own a luxury handmade lingerie e-commerce store. We offer our customers unique pieces from capsule collections that are produced in Europe and made of genuine silk and Italian or French laces. We work mostly on pre-orders, because we believe in the 0 waste business, and we are trying to keep our inventory low. We keep a medium price range to make handmade lingerie affordable to more and more people who care about quality, designs, and materials.
At first, we only had online sales from our website, we started to expand slightly in a year, working with more brick and mortar stores in the United States offering our products there. We collaborate with photographers, influencers and the biggest change was that we started to offer wholesale to US boutiques and other countries. Each year we have more and more customers coming to us to purchase wholesale. Will see what 2022 will bring us. We are planning to expand production and possibly move it to the United States as well.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Angelina Mahany: That’s amazing news that more and more people are registering companies and considering owning a business. I would say that entrepreneurs always need to be ready that something might not go as they imagine or that this particular business won’t be successful. But you don’t need to stop, always learn from your mistakes, move on, think outside of the box, and if needed start a new company. I am just trying to say that registering a business doesn’t mean it will all go well, but it is a step towards your future. Meaning you wanted it and you can succeed. Make a plan, list everything that you need to do to launch your business, try to keep your expenses low at first. Test test and test.
I want to say to all new entrepreneurs not to give up! Believe in what you are doing even when you are almost at the edge and want to quit. Learn from mistakes, study-study-study new practices, push even harder, get support from business communities or your family or find what motivates you or drives you. You need strength to run your business. Also please do not forget about your family and day-offs. Work is not everything, and you need to relax as well to succeed.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Angelina Mahany: When I started my business, I had a great product and I thought it would be so easy to sell it. But when I launched my website, I found out that customers are not in a queue to purchase it. So, I surely had difficulties start selling, it takes time and budget to be seen at first. Once you are out there, it gets easier. I also made a big mistake in my first year, I decided to open a brick-and-mortar store inside of the Mall. I assumed that in the Mall I would have a good visibility and sales volume, and I thought it was the right audience for my product. I did plan things of course, but still, a lot went wrong and unexpected. The hardest thing was to find employees especially the good ones. The Mall also turned out to be the wrong place for my store, the demographics were teenagers and families. I ended up closing the location within 6 months and finding myself in debt. I do not regret it, but I did learn a lot from this experience. That is for sure.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Angelina Mahany: I would tell myself not to rush with decisions and think 10 times before doing something. Always analyze everything: market, competitors, take courses, or mentorship before launching. Plan ahead, consider different scenarios to be prepared for good or for bad.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Angelina Mahany: My worst experience was to open a brick a mortar store too quickly. I just started my business and it was too early in my opinion to even think about it, I listened to friends/family and experts that tried to sell their services. But I didn’t plan everything, I didn’t have experience in this, and I failed.
I would say always test and listen to yourself, trust your intuition but verify it. Read professional literature, talk to experts in your field, maybe find a mentor at first to guide you through. It is for sure difficult to find the true expert, but it is possible. Ask for reviews, talk to people and pick wisely.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Angelina Mahany: COVID-19 has changed a lot of things. I am happy to see that companies now are not afraid to hire people remotely. Businesses continue to operate and some of them are doing even better than before. I am glad that we can always find new opportunities even in the hardest times.
Now more than ever the internet is the key and COVID-19 showed it to us. I would suggest all new entrepreneurs focus on their websites either it’s an e-commerce store, services, B2B businesses, or B2C, it doesn’t matter. Especially when you are just starting, consider investing your money in the best professionals and in yourself to help you build your online presence. Do not put all eggs in one basket, that’s for sure. Meaning that if you sell through Social Media, it’s time to think about building a website or if you sell offline or plan to sell offline, also consider online an business.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Angelina Mahany: I think the common myth is that if you own a business you are doing nothing and earning millions. Unfortunately, owning your business means working even more and even harder than when you worked at your office job. At least for the first years. Entrepreneurs often do not have big budgets when they start and even afterward, they also don’t have a lot of employees to help you with every single task, so you have to learn every aspect of your business yourself: marketing, sales, accounting, IT, digital operations, logistics and so on and so worth.
However, as your business grows, it becomes easier to operate, you hire people, you start managing them, you get some free time, and hopefully more money lol. Just don’t think that everything is easy and comes on a golden plate. You have to earn it.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Angelina Mahany: I believe that every entrepreneur has to have a certain set of minds to become successful. Having your own business is not easy, and it is not for everyone. That’s fine, each person has its path, you just need to find yours, and be happy with it.
Three skills that are on my option the most important are:
- Communication. Each entrepreneur needs to know how to communicate. Whether you are a single person in your company or you run a large corporation, you always need to communicate with your employees, vendors, customers, contractors, investors, etc.
- Motivation. The path to successful entrepreneurship is always followed by ups and downs. There are successes of course and issues along the way. To keep going and believe in your business, you need to stay motivated, find what motivates you, it could be friends, family, leisure activities, time with yourself and etc. Just find what energizes you, and it will help to stay focused and motivated.
- Study and learn. The ability to learn is one of the most important skills to have in life. We live in a very fast-moving environment, and we have to adapt quickly to any changes that are happening right now otherwise the business will die. That is why as an entrepreneur he/she is required to learn for success.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Angelina Mahany: Never give up as I said before. If one thing didn’t work it doesn’t mean the second won’t work either. Consistency is the key 🙂
I love watching movies, I do relax like that. I would recommend watching these movies to get inspired and stay motivated to everyone who is considering opening their business. Here is my top 5 list.
- The Founder
- Social Network
- Steve Jobs
- The Devil wears Prada
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Angelina Mahany: That’s a good question. I am constantly learning, I pick different courses each year just to stay up to date with everything, to make my head working, and also to see what else I like. I would probably want to become a handbags designer if I would pick something completely new. I also love IT and Digital Marketing, so I would consider UX/UI design.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Angelina Mahany: Steve Jobs lol. I think he was an incredible person, and an amazing marketer and entrepreneur. He had so many ideas and even for him it wasn’t easy. He was fired from Apple once if you remember. He is a great example of how to continue pursuing your dreams, believe in your ideas and yourself and who knows maybe you will be the one who builds the next empire.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Angelina Mahany for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Angelina Mahany or her company, you can do it through her – Facebook
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