I'm a female CEO of a Fashion tech co that's worked with Macy's + Disney & helped launched over 500 brands without holding inventory all while #stilettostrapping- AMA!

AMANDA CURTIS
Feb 6, 2018

Fashion + tech = my world. I grew up in the fashion industry and graduated from Boston University & Parsons School of Design. As a fashion designer I went from New York Fashion week designing for Richie Rich, DVF, and A-list celebrities to bringing a solo designed collection all the way at London Fashion Week in my first season. From the trenches I realized that the fashion business model desperately needed a redesign so I decided to learn from tech startups about what they were doing right. Seven years ago I entered into the tech startup world in the retail marketing space & learned first hand the efficiency and potential of the space. Nineteenth Amendment is the result of the collision of my two worlds; a platform & business model that gives designers a smart way break into the fashion industry with the least amount of time, effort, and money (what I call #StilettoStrapping), while growing domestic manufacturing and bringing amazing, undiscovered fashion from the runway to closets of fashion lovers through a new type of retailing we refer to as 'fashion-as-experience'. My mission, starting in fashion, is to make the way products come to market, are made, and are sold, better for everyone: from designers and shoppers, to manufacturers and retailers. I'm Forbes’ 30 Under 30 2016 for Retail & E-commerce, Apparel Magazine's 30 Under 30 2016, NRF's Person Shaping Retail's Future 2018, I am a mentor at TechStars, a mentor with AOL's Built by Girls and I'm just getting started. Ask me anything!

www.nineteenthamendment.com/

Conversation (75)

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What is the level of quality assessments you make for selecting the products?
May 3, 2:47AM EDT0

Over the years, was the support of your family and friends good while you were on your way of becoming a CEO?

Feb 12, 8:33PM EST0

It's important as an entrepreneur to know that not all people are comfortable with risk, even if it isn't a risk they themselves are taking and that's alright. My family has always been supportive as well as most of my friends. I have lost friends because I could not keep up with all social obligations that were expected of me (I think females are held to these unfairely) but through this journey I've learned that my true friends are the people who want the best for me not the most out of me and I'm thankful for that lesson. 

Feb 20, 3:31PM EST0

What advice can you offer to today's entrepreneurs in order for them to have faith and succed in their jobs?

Feb 12, 4:41AM EST0

The first key to success is to believe in yourself because otherwise no one will. It's cliche but it's true. As an entrepreneur you're selling a vision and in the beginning that vision only exists within you so people have to believe in you and your ability to follow through on that vision first and foremost. 

Feb 20, 9:48AM EST0

What is the most overwhelming thing about having so many responsibilities at such a young age?

Feb 11, 4:19PM EST0

I actually think that my age helps me keep things in perspective. I have less personal obligations and an optimistic outlook that hasn't been jadded by experience. 

Feb 13, 1:08PM EST0

Could you share your experience of all your achievements so far? How did you feel about getting recognized by Forbes, NRF and Apparel magazine?

Feb 10, 6:48AM EST0

It was amazing to have Nineteenth Amendment recognized by both the business wold and the retail world at the highest levels - it's amazing validation. Personally these accolades are very nice but at 30 years old they also come with a self-made pressure to keep innovating and performing at a very high level. It's a good pressure and it's something I thrive under, but it's pressure nonetheless.

Feb 10, 11:48AM EST0

How did your journey from fashion to tech to retail marketing space has shaped you as an entrepreneur?

Feb 9, 7:41AM EST0

My journey has given me a 360 view of the fashion industry and it's potential. Starting a company from the ground up gives you first hand experience to every part of the business of fashion (#manymanyhats).

Feb 10, 11:34AM EST0

how many independent fashion designers/labels are you currently working on the Nineteenth Amendment? How's the experience so far?

Feb 9, 5:58AM EST0

We have over 500 designers from 30+ countries using the Nineteenth Amendment platform.  The experience has been amazing - our designers motivate us and inspire us to do more every day. They're the reason Nineteenth Amendment exists. 

Feb 10, 11:18AM EST0

Who are some of the most popular celebrities you’ve worked with? Is it generally more difficult to work with A-list celebrities compared to common citizens?

Feb 9, 3:40AM EST0

I've worked with Ellen DeGeneres, Amal Clooney, Brooke Shields. It's a bit tough to coordinate getting product to A-list celebrities because you work with their team and normally not them directly. The celebrities themselves are awesome and believe in our mission and designers!

Feb 10, 11:15AM EST0

Do you want to expand your business to Europe?

Feb 8, 7:20AM EST0

Yes! Designed globally made locally is our vision.

Feb 8, 4:09PM EST1
Show all 3 replies

What is your ultimate goal or dream as a designer? Where do you want to take your brand eventually?

Feb 7, 10:40PM EST0

I think the ultimate goal and sense of accomplishment for a designer happens when you see a stranger walking down the street in your design. I'd love to make that dream happen for every designer on Nineteenth Amendment.

Feb 7, 11:52PM EST0

Has designing improved your life in any way? If so, what important changes has it done so far?

Feb 6, 11:20PM EST0

see below :)

Feb 10, 11:31AM EST0

How would you say technology and fashion could help individuals all around the world?

Feb 6, 11:00PM EST0

I think there's a lot on the manufacturing side that can be bettered to make global manufacturing safer. There's also interesting applications of tech in fashion that can help people with disabilities.

Feb 10, 11:32AM EST0

Has designing improved your life in any way? If so, what important changes has it done so far?

Feb 6, 10:44PM EST0

For me design is life. Design is how you live your life, from cooking food, to the way you create your living environment, to the way you dress yourself. 

Feb 10, 11:31AM EST0

Are you striving to keep helping more brands around the world?

Feb 6, 10:13PM EST0

yes, see below :)

Feb 6, 11:11PM EST0

Are you striving to keep helping more brands around the world?

Feb 6, 9:37PM EST0

Absolutely! 

Feb 6, 9:39PM EST0

What would you say is the path you’d like to keep on within the fashion world?

Feb 6, 9:08PM EST0

I'd like to keep making fashion more authentic, inclusive, transparent, and personal.

Feb 6, 9:16PM EST0

When did you realize you could combine fashion and technology? Was it always your main focus?

Feb 6, 5:48PM EST0

I grew up in Boston and my dad was in tech so it was a world I was exposed to very early in life. When I went into the fashion industry after graduating from Parsons I was appauled by the lack of tech in the industry. Like, really appauled... Hand drawings, light tables, and sticky notes were still a very important and innefficient part of the design industry and on top of that the wholesale business model was breaking! I knew the power of tech and I saw an opportunity to modernize and monetize the fashion industry through tech. I left fashion to join a tech startup in 2011 and learned first hand what a tech startup could do with the same amount of money a fashion brand would use for one runway show. It was then that I saw the possibilty of merging my two worlds to design a better fashion industry through technology.  

Feb 6, 7:43PM EST0

What does the name stand for, how did you come up with it?

Feb 6, 2:55PM EST0

One of the first questions that we get is, “Why Nineteenth Amendment”? Instead of using traditional e-commerce names with “shop,”  “runway,” or “fashion” in the title, we wanted our name to have deeper meaning – because we’re not a traditional e-commerce site. Our goal at Nineteenth Amendment is to give everyone a voice in fashion to participate in the democratization of a largely top-down industry. An “amendment” is a change to an existing structure that once worked but no longer does and the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution granted universal suffrage, giving everyone a voice in democracy. Together we are amending the way that the fashion industry operates:  how designers launch lines, how consumers purchase clothes, and  how we manufacture. We call our fashion conscious shoppers “Amenders” because you are the ones rewriting the future of fashion with each purchase. That’s the story behind Nineteenth Amendment!

Feb 6, 7:46PM EST0

Do you have any interesting hobbies that would like to share?

Feb 6, 2:51PM EST0

TBH I don't have a lot of time for hobbies these days (#startuplife) but when I do have some time I still love to design. I made a piece for Nineteenth Amendment about a year ago when my cofounder Gemma challenged me to design something for my new year's resolution. I also designed my own wedding dress. Right now my mission is helping other designers launch their brands and become successful but someday I'd love to work on my own collection! When that day comes I'll know that I've "made it".

Feb 6, 7:51PM EST0

Did you discover the fashion world by yourself or was it brought to you by someone?

Feb 6, 12:34PM EST0

Fashion is in my DNA. My aunt was vice president of a bridal company called Priscilla of Boston so my earliest memories are of being in her US factory, trying on wedding dresses in her boutique, and interacting with the designers. I was so emersed in fashion from a young age that my first word was, "pretty"! By third grade I had my own collection of W magazines and by 4th grade I had a collection of my own fashion sketches (I still have them!).  I watched my aunt take that company international and eventually exit it. While I am young agewise my experience in the fashion industry makes a fashion veteran. It's an industry I have deep connection with and love for and I feel a personal pull to make it better.

Feb 6, 7:58PM EST1
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