Fellow #girlboss, Entrepreneur, Fashion Queen, Aleksandra (Sasha) Goreshtein - has taken over the online market with her renown fashion brand - Shop Viixen. With no prior experience in fashion, she jumped into the market just a little over two years ago and now has quickly gained recognition by a-list celebrities and influencers for her sexy and elegant style. Sasha has an eye for design, but she also has a vision that goes beyond expectations. Persistence, drive and passion are just some of the qualities of this paralegal turned E-Commerce Fashion Queen.
photo credit - Val Hasani
Did you always know you would end up in fashion ?
Growing up, I never worked in fashion and I never thought that life would take me into the fashion world. My sister was more of the fashionista in the family and I would always follow her trends. I studied in law and psychology and I was a legal assistant for over eight years. The first lawyer that I worked for taught me everything about the field. He opened the door for me and from then, I worked in corporate law, labour law, commercial law and family law. I did that for about nine years and I really liked it - I'm very organized and it was very stable for me. But by the end I just couldn't take the 9-5 routine anymore. I was unhappy and I knew there was so much more that I can do with my life. I’m too creative.
When did you decide to take the leap of faith to launch Shop Viixen?
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Believe it or not, I've been shopping online since I was 15 years old. Then, one day one of my friends was like: if you don't want to work in law anymore, why don't you open your own online store, you're such a good online shopper, you always pick amazing stuff. So many of my friends would come up to me and say: how do you shop online, I don't know how you have the guts - and I would always say: it's not easy, it takes time, you have to pay a lot of attention to detail and learn how to minimize the risk.
My first year I slaved for my business. I didn't have so many sales online it was mostly word of mouth so I still worked full time at the law firm - most nights I would do overtime. On days when I finished at 5, I would go to the Starbucks to work on my brand. I did everything by myself, I never hired anybody. I created the entire website on my own, without any prior experience in making a website, but I was always very computer savvy and I guess that paid off. I picked out the clothes, I ordered them, modeled them and in fact I even took the pictures on my own, I mean I would angle each shot perfectly and have my mom click the button to take each pic (did I mention I'm OCD). When I say I did everything, i mean EVERYTHING.
Two years ago I opened my business and last year was the first time that I ever went to China. I had never been to Asia and the first time that I went I did a two month trip by myself - I figured if I'm going all the way to the other side of the world, might as well make a trip out of it - mix business and pleasure.
How did you find the courage to get up and do that ?
I always liked to travel alone. One of the main reasons why I opened up my shop was that I wanted to do something that makes me happy and what I love to do most is to travel and discover the world -so I wanted to find something that would allow me to do that. I wanted to be able to work from anywhere in the world. I didn't want to be stuck anywhere.
How did you adapt to the Chinese culture ?
My first trip to China was very hard for me - I was alone, I didn't know anybody, I was meeting my suppliers for the first time and I didn't know enough about the culture or the language. The first few days I was in shock. I mean, everything was new to me. Unless you've been to that part of China before, you just don't know what to expect and I didn't want to judge from what I heard, I wanted to live the culture for myself.
The reality is that they're on the other side of the planet, they work very differently from us in the Western world. Every little thing that we might find odd, for them, isn’t. Their work ethics are different too. One thing I loved about the Chinese culture is that it’s big on loyalty and respect. For example, I learned that if a Chinese person invites you somewhere you can't say no, it's considered rude. You have to be polite, accept and appreciate it. Now that I've been three times, I'm getting use to it and I'm learning to appreciate every little different thing more and more.
Did you have any mentors in the fashion industry ?
Sofia Amoruso from Nasty Gal inspired me - I loved her story, I relate a lot to her. She was a crazy hard worker who built her business from nothing, working multiple jobs. Before I opened my online shop, I had so many jobs you can't even imagine. I wanted to be financially independent - I always found a way to make money.
Define your brand in 3 words.
Luxury, Femininity and Trust. I wanted to build something to make people trust the experience of online shopping. I want people to know they can buy quality items online and I want them to enjoy the experience, just like I did when I use to shop online for fun. I want them to get excited when they receive their package, and to believe in the overall experience. And of course my brand represents me, and my style will always be sexy and sophisticated.
What motivates you ?
I love what I do. I wake up every morning thinking of my next move. I am constantly planning my next big thing. I have so much passion for it and I want to see it grow. When I picture the future, I get excited.
What advice would you give young women who want to launch their own company/brand?
The only thing I would say is do something that motivates you so much that even if you had a 9 to 5 you would go home and do it afterwards. Do it because you would do it while you sleep and while you're dreaming. You have to do it with your whole heart - like there's something in you that sparks and you just feel it.
Most importantly, I would say read. A lot. Self-education is key. And make sure to surround yourself with good people.
What does success represent to you ?
Ultimately, happiness. Waking up every morning, excited to work and being able to do it from anywhere in the world.