#WomenInBusiness: CEO, Selene Dior, on planning Vitae Apparel
Do you have a genius business idea? Are you looking to scale your business? Would you benefit from FREE mentorship, cash prizes, and MORE?! Then you’ll be happy to hear…
Female founders, Selene Dior and Olivia Canlas, are hosting their annual Women In Business Startup Competition again this year - and it’s coming back sooner than you think.
In celebration, we asked our CEO, Selene, about the process of planning Vitae Apparel. PS. Keep reading for a FREE Business Planner to help you start prepping!
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi! My name is Selene Dior, the founder and CEO of Vitae Apparel. I started my business at the age of 18 years old, and we just recently hit our 5 year anniversary!
Can you explain the process of picking the name Vitae Apparel?
Vitae Apparel was the first name I chose and I never changed the name! I was always obsessed with other languages because I speak 3 languages myself. I knew I wanted my brand to represent a lifestyle, and to be part of someone’s journey of growth. So, I looked up the world “Lifestyle” in different languages and I came across VITAE, which is Latin. I can’t remember any other names that I thought of besides “Wonder” but I’m so happy with VITAE.
What was your goal when you started Vitae Apparel?
From the moment I created Vitae Apparel, my driving motive was to build a community of strong, independent, and empowered women across the globe, whilst redefining the societal standards of women. Currently, our community has over 5,000 like-minded ambassadors. Some of these women struggle with body confidence, self-love, independence, and their personal growth. This community helps women connect, seek support, share stories, uplift each other, and ultimately impact their lives for the better. Of course, all while creating stylish, comfortable, and practical swimwear and activewear.
What problem were you solving when you first started Vitae Apparel?
At the age of 16, I started a job as a lifeguard. Working at the pool, I heard numerous women with different body shapes talking about their struggles with finding good swimwear in their size. I also witnessed many women's bikinis falling off after coming out of the water slide or off the diving board. On top of this, I struggled with my own body confidence and the swimwear industry’s poor representation of diverse body shapes was a huge contributor to my low self esteem. I set out to create fashionable yet functional swimwear that truly embodies all body types. This was my inspiration behind Vitae Apparel and its brand values.
Who did you imagine your ideal customer would be, & why?
My ideal customer was actually myself. When I started Vitae Apparel we only sold swimwear. I imagined our customers to be women that are looking for swimwear that hugs their curves, are fashionable, yet stays on during watersports because I saw the lack of practicality. Due to the functionality of our swimwear, I imagined our customers to also be active swimmers or athletes looking for something more functionable. This changed over the years when I realized what our brand truly stands for, which is inclusivity. We created a community to help women feel more confident. Our audience grew as we evolved as a brand and pivoted to fitness apparel. Our target market is now 18-24 women that are on their journey to self-love.
How did you come up with pricing, products, and promotions?
It is important to go through competitive pricing analysis and calculation of cost of goods. So, having someone on your team that is good at math is a perk, haha! Our products have continued to evolve through market research and listening to customer feedback. It is important to listen to your community and learn from it! For promotions, it’s important to go through creative testing and really analyze your data to see what works best for your brand. Something that might work for Vitae Apparel, may not work for Meowbox!
How has your business changed from when you first started?
Our business is no longer a solopreneur business and the team now consists of 20 women across the globe. I wasn’t prepared for the growth and learnt a lot on the way including team management, structure, SOPs, and more. We had to grow our team in order to sustain our growth. Keep in mind, try to be as prepared as possible - but there are always going to be curveballs! My biggest challenge would probably be having to understand that the team is bigger now and every decision affects other people.
How did knowing about competitors affect your strategy?
When I first started I didn’t research too much about competitors. However, I did know who they were and would periodically check in to see what they were doing. I find it more useful seeing what other industries are doing versus competitors. I can often get creative ideas from other industries and try to apply it to my company to stand out. Although it’s important to consider competitors, don’t compare them too much to yours - you are on your own journey!
What are 3 tips for someone who wants to start a business?
- Just go for it! Sometimes overthinking or considering too much will hold you back
- Do what you love and really hone in on your passion and what makes you happy.
- Consider building a community from the start that values what your brand stands for.
What is your fave motivational quote for starting a business?
You’ll only regret that you didn’t do it.
We hope this Q&A session with our Founder and CEO, Selene, helps you get an insight on planning a business and what you should think about.
If your mind is already running with new business ideas or you’re already thinking about your pitch proposal but don’t know where to start. We’ve got just the thing to help you succeed!
Sign-up below for official updates on the Women In Business Startup Competition and for your FREE Business Planner PDF to help you plan out your business strategies.
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