From Stock Girl To CEO

From Stock Girl To CEO

Meet Estera Kostardjian, a Montreal #girlboss who has launched the first e-commerce all black fashion brand, 8LACK Official. Collaborating with top brands on the market, Estera’s vision came to life after she realized that there wasn’t a place where one can go shop for all black apparel. With over 10 years of experiencing working in the fashion industry, she developed a concept that stands out for its authenticity and facility. Think about it, a place where you can shop multiple brands in your favourite colour, that’s what black is all about. Kostardjian is driven, passionate and persistent. Her pursuit for success inspires women to break the glass ceiling and never take no for an answer. Find out the inspiring story behind building a brand from scratch.

How did 8lack come to life?

Three year ago, I was shopping with my friend, Maggie Semaan and she was looking for a black vest. We went to 300 stores in Carrefour and we realized all stores carry very similar products but you won’t find something out to the ordinary. I turned to her and said: imagine if there was an all black store, how amazing that would be? She looked at me and said: you need to do this. In that moment, I had a feeling that that’s what I should be doing. 

What were you doing at the time?

I was still in school, working in retail and in PR for A5 Group. I already had so much going on but I still managed to make time to start working on 8lack. I started researching organizations to see what I needed in order to fund this company, I learned how to write a business plan – it took two years to bring it to life. I took my time, I did my research, even for the brands I carry – it’s only the best quality.

Did you have any previous experience in business/ fashion? 

I worked for big fashion companies in creating their shipping manuals, and their public relations coordinations. I started by being a stock girl to being top saleswomen in Quebec. Then when I finished school, I started working in E-commerce, customer service, etc. I learned from the best to apply it to my own company.

How did you approach designers to sign under 8lack Official? 

For most of my designs, the ones from Publish, etc I had a distributor from Ben & Boul Trading. He’s a friend of mine for years, he’s the first person I called when I needed help. Another friend of mine Sabrina Arcaro is a designer now, but she used to be an accountant when I met her five years ago. Maison Elama, I met through a mutual friend so it happened naturally. Shop Viixen I went through another friend of mine. It’s really just utilizing the connections I had around me. 

What brands do you currently carry?

Ben & Boul Trading

Lap of Luxury

Sabrina Arcaro

White Label

Oscar Mendoza

Hip and Bone

Chemise & Cie

Shop Viixen

8lack Official

Maison Elama


Defend Paris


Photo credit – Dino Rovolis

What advice would you give young women who want to open their own company?

You have to ask for help. It’s the best advice I can give you. It’s [still predominantly] a mens business, but there’s room for women, as they say the future is female.

Don’t give up – it’s never easy in the beginning but if you love what you do and believe in it, everything else will fall into place.

Photo credit – Avril Franco 

What are your future plans for the company?

I want to create my own brand, under 8lack Official label. Then eventually launch a furniture collection, and a kids collection. I would like to open a store in the next five years.

Are you looking for interns?

YES! I need someone for e-commerce & merchandising, Social Media & PR. Send your inquires directly to: ekostardjian@gmail.com

Shop 8lack directly here.

Follow 8lack on Instagram and Facebook.

Cover Photo credit – Dino Rovolis