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Industry + Insights / November 18, 2019 / Mary Zubritsky
Closet Crush: National Entrepreneur's Day
Did you know that November 19th is National Entrepreneur's Day? LePrix is celebrating this special day by highlighting and interviewing Elise Whang, our insanely fashionable CEO / Co-Founder and lover of all things designer resale.   Hi Elise! Thanks for the chat and for giving us a peek inside your closet. While some of us may have a big crush on your closet, name one celebrity whose closet you’d love to shop!  By day? I’d love to raid Victoria Beckham’s closet so I can soak in her femme-empowerment look. By night? I would love to wear a mix of Kate Moss and Jennifer Lopez’s closets to make sure I bring my sexy back! Which item has the most meaning? I absolutely love my uber-micro, red-quilted Chanel bag because it can be worn as either an itty-bitty purse or a necklace! I found it in a designer vintage boutique in Venice, Italy—it’s one of the few times I’ve been able to get away on a romantic (work) trip with my husband and explore since our kids were born. When I stumbled upon this prize, I was ecstatic! This instant high reminded me of how amazing it feels to discover a magical, designer consignment boutique tucked away somewhere in the world, and THEN find a hidden gem that makes your heart skip a beat. It’s this feeling of pure joy and luck that sparked my designer resale flame and inspired me to launch LePrix. The rest is fashion history… Why did you start LePrix? What started out as an addiction to the thrill of hunting for pre-owned designer items in college, eventually became our business venture. Both my sister and co-founder Emily and I started LePrix because we were incredibly passionate about (and obsessed with) uncovering buried treasures at luxury resale boutiques all over the world. Whether we were traveling for work or vacation, we’d make sure to visit the best consignment boutiques in town, but we were always disappointed when we'd come home because we couldn't shop them online. We started chatting with the owners because we thought it was necessary to bring their wonderful, independent boutiques online so everyone could experience the exhilaration of finding their secondhand prize. So, we took a leap of faith in our Christian Louboutin stilettos, ditched our six-figure salaries, benefits and job security to start SnobSwap that allowed people to sell, swap and shop items with each other. We shifted our focus in 2018 and rebranded by aligning our name with more of what customers feel when they shop at designer  vintage boutiques - thrill of the hunt for "leprix", which means "the prize” in French. Today, we only bring the best-in-class secondhand luxury boutiques in the world online so you can shop them anytime from anywhere. In 2019 we launched LePrix Wholesale, which was North America's first pre-owned luxury wholesale marketplace! LePrix Wholesale lets businesses purchase deeply discounted and authentic, designer resale bags and accessories (like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermès, and more), from other pre-vetted resellers including global auction houses, allowing them to stock their shop with in-demand designs and brands for their customers. What are the top lessons you learned from starting LePrix? Lesson 1: Slow and steady truly can win the race. Even though we’re in the fast-paced startup world, it takes time to build a sustainable business, establish deep partnerships with our boutiques and win the loyalty of customers. Fortunately, we’ve been able to test and pivot the business—and this is healthy! If you’re not constantly testing, pivoting and refining your business, you’re not progressing. Lesson 2: The startup mantra of “fail fast” does not mean it’s ok to let your company fail. Rather, it's about testing different strategies and theories straight out of the gate, and if it fails, you must learn from the mistakes fast, apply the lessons to your next move and keep going. The complete mantra should be: “fail fast, learn fast, and grow”. Lesson 3: In order to build a strong company and corporate culture, it's key instill rock-solid values as they’re essential pillars to success. Our values are Authenticity, Passion, Desirability and Reliability, which translate and relate to our customers, store partners and Team LePrix.  On the topic of team, it's so important to build a strong team. We're so lucky to have a team that is dedicated, enthusiastic, and fun!  I love going into the office. Any idea which designer can be found most frequently in your closet? I’m an equal opportunity designer collector! Seriously though, I attempted to pull apart my closet and count the pieces by designer and I’ve discovered I don’t have a designer who rules my wardrobe. What I do know is that 70% of my closet is secondhand—duh, mostly from LePrix—but don’t let that scare you because my underwear and socks are all new! My typical work uniform consists of black jeans (umm, I love Rag & Bone) secured with either an Hermès Constance or Gucci Marmont belt, and an eccentric blouse topped off by a tailored Gucci blazer. Then I’ll complete the outfit with a pair of statement shoes…like my Alexander McQueen leopard-printed mules. Oh, that reminds me…I’m super excited to wear this vintage YSL silk, leopard-printed dress that I purchased from one of our exclusive boutique partners in Milan. What are your 3 favorite items right now? The Hermès Evelyn bag – it’s the perfect weekend bag. A pair of black Golden Goose semi-high-top sneakers…my feet are absolutely lovin’ the casual kicks trend. And my vintage Loro Piana camel-hued wool swing coat because it’s timeless, luxurious and soft as a baby’s…  Do you save everything or do you Marie Kondo and resell once you’re over it? I definitely need to Kondo at least twice a year. Closet cleanses are totally therapeutic! Top five favorite brands. I’m a Pisces so my faves vary depending on my mood, but I’m always all about quality! I love sleek, sumptuous leathers, expertly-tailored items with statement shoulders, and ankle boots embellished with lots of flare! But, I’m almost always feeling Hermès, Chanel, Maje, Balmain and Givenchy! Which item in your closet was your biggest bargain? I’ve scored so many beyond-amazing deals, it’s hard to say, but right now I’m totally living in my Gucci GG Marmont loafers that I got for less than $400! If I'm going for a basic look, I throw on a pair of statement shoes to elevate the outfit. xoxo Discover more of Elise's style and her favorite picks on LePrix here.
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