Ever feel guilty for that top hanging in your closet that you love, but just not for you? Or those must-have shoes you walked a few blocks in before you had to be carried home? In comes Closet Rich. I caught up with Elizabeth Kott, brainchild behind Closet Rich, a place to sell, buy or donate those items in your closet. Ms. Kott entrepreneurial skills came from years working for a variety of different fashion and entertainment companies, most notably working for the Rachel Zoe. After I my most recent closet purge, I felt it only necessary to chat with this mastermind and have her share her sucess story with you all.
CollegeFashionista: Where are you originally from? Where did you go to college?
Elizabeth Kott: I grew up in Birmingham, Michigan and began my college career at Columbia College in Chicago, then went on to graduate from Michigan State University. While at MSU I studied Mass Media in London and took an extra semester to do a program in Rome, Italy. I highly recommend the abroad thing.
CF: Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to be in the fashion industry?
EK: I had a deep passion for the industry straight out the gate, but as a teenager I wasn’t quite sure how to channel that. When I was 19, upon meeting Patricia Field, she gave me the expert advice that style, eye and aesthetic is not something that can be taught. So I continued studying Communications and Public Relations in college, always confident that my adoration for fashion combined with pragmatic skill would direct me into the career I was destined for.
CF: How do you think the fashion industry differs in LA vs NYC?
EK: Truthfully, I can’t sit here and compare the two. I think stereotypes are silly. There are differences of course, but the common thread across the board is drive and dedication coupled with insane vision. I don’t think it is any different if you are in the suburbs of the Midwest or in a big city like NY or LA- these things are key.
CF: You have had some pretty incredibly jobs prior to going off on your own. Tell us, what was it like working with Rachel Zoe? Bananas?
EK: RZ’s knowledge of fashion never ceased to blow my mind, it’s always cool to be around someone who is doing exactly what they were born to do, that was a total inspiration. So yeah, bananas for sure.
CF: How did you take a concept and turn it into a business?
EK: It was born out of pure necessity, I mean, I was SO closet rich- the entire remnants of my paychecks (with the exception of my macbook) had literally gone into my wardrobe. With a closet brimming at the seams, I was in desperate need of a purge. I wanted to sell /donate some items and wanted a fabulous place to do so. I knew that if I needed something like this than other girls did too. So I created one.
CF: What is the most challenging part of starting your own company?
EK: Squashing the fear. Once you are able to do that and set the wheels in motion there isn't any obstacle that isn't manageable.
CF: Where do you hope to see Closet Rich 5 years from now?
EK: I see big things, but my motto is start small, plan big. So I take it day by day.
CF: If our readers are purging their closet what are must keeps for fall and things to simply give away?
EK: In reality, I wouldn’t suggest giving anything away pre-season. I encourage all my clients to wait until season’s end, and if they didn’t wear it, THEN purge. There is nothing worse than giving something away and wishing you hadn’t. With that said, every girl should hold on to (or acquire) an accessory that they are absolutely obsessed with, one that makes them feel pulled together and fabulous…and immediately get rid of anything that counteracts this feeling…this rule applies to clothing, accessories and boys.
CF: What is the best piece of advice you have received?
EK: Have faith that the universe has your back.