Hello Erica! How are you doing today? Can you tell us a little about yourself and your company, Trousso?
I’m doing great this fall morning! Thank you for asking.
I’m currently wrapping up my Stern MBA program which I expect to finish this coming May.
My company, Trousso is a resale platform for upscale bridal fashion. Our goal is to help the next generation of brides dress up for their wedding celebrations in a way that’s financially accessible and environmentally sustainable.
Wow! That’s cool. Tell us a little bit about your life before Stern, and your career journey so far.
I started my career as a management consultant at Deloitte, where I spent five years working in several different roles. I had a growing entrepreneurial itch that I needed to scratch, and I left Deloitte to work at a startup. I spent another 5 years at two early-stage startups prior to starting Trousso and learned a ton along the way from both experiences.
So, what brought you to Stern? Was it your journey with Trousso? Or was it something else?
I took the GMAT a couple of years before I applied to Stern. I wanted to pursue my MBA to start a business and expand my network.
I was actually in the middle of planning my wedding when the pandemic hit in 2020. I said to myself, ‘maybe this is a sign I need to pursue my MBA now, otherwise I may never do it.’ The day that we decided to postpone our wedding was the day that I hit APPLY to Stern.
How did you come up with the idea for Trousso, and why upscale bridal fashion?
Trousso came from personal experience in the wedding space – both as a bridesmaid and a bride. I’ve been a bridesmaid in 12 weddings over the past few years, which was my first introduction to the wedding space, and saw that there was so much room for innovation.
Then as a bride, I accumulated a closet of white dresses from all the wedding and wedding-related celebrations (from my engagement through to my honeymoon). These outfits were either brand new or worn once for just a few hours, and I would never wear them again.
I wanted to declutter my closet and earn back money while allowing other Brides to enjoy these like-new outfits, but there wasn’t a good way for Brides to buy & sell from each other. I started talking to other Brides who echoed my frustrations and have been on this journey ever since!
NYU’s Entrepreneurial programming has been incredibly helpful in going from an idea to a business (shoutout to the Leslie eLab!). I participated in the startup bootcamp in September 2021, the startup sprint in May 2022, and Summer LaunchPad over the summer. This fall I started as a Founder in Residence.
That’s incredible! Congrats on becoming the Founder in Residence. It will be helpful for our readers to know about all the resources NYU offers. How has Stern helped you on your entrepreneurial journey?
Entrepreneurial programming aside, the Stern community itself has been so supportive. They’ve spread the word about Trousso by sharing it with friends; brides at Stern have let me interview them, and one classmate introduced me to my co-founder.
Tell us a little bit about your marketing strategy, are you actively using digital and social media uh mediums to increase engagement?
Organic social media is our primary focus. We found that brides rely heavily on social media, especially Instagram for wedding inspiration, so social media is our primary focus for now. We started with an Instagram account (shameless plug give us a follow @trousso.co!) and have plans to expand our presence on TikTok and Pinterest in the near future.
What have been some of the biggest difficulties starting your brand?
The first thing that comes to mind is prioritizing time. Every day there’s more on our to-do list than we have time for – so ruthless prioritization is a skill I’m working on right now.
Are you and your co-founder doing this full-time?
Yes, both Justina and I are working on Trousso full-time!
And what’s the next big step for the company? What is your next goal?
Trousso is the best-kept secret in wedding planning and we just want to tell everyone we know about it. When we speak with recently married women, we always hear ‘I wish I knew about this’. So our goal is to spread the word about Trousso to as many brides as possible.
That’s beautiful! I’m looking forward to seeing Trousso on the Forbes list soon. Final question, what advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
My biggest piece of advice is to do extensive research first – go talk to your target audience and validate first that the problem exists, and second that your solution will solve it. Invest the time to do that discovery work.
My second piece of advice would be to find a community of entrepreneurs – it’s so helpful to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who can help give you advice, ideas, and support. I’m especially grateful to have found my co-founder and be building Trousso together.
We are now at the end of the question series of the interview. We are now moving to the quickfire round of questions!
What’s one word that describes you?
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to go for long walks in NYC with my dog and my husband.
What are you reading or watching right now?
Reading Deep Work by Cal Newport
Are you watching anything?
I’m not a big tv watcher, maybe post-MBA I’ll watch more tv.
What’s one thing you can’t do now that you want to learn?
That’s a tough question because there’s so much that I want to learn. In the world of software engineering I don’t know how to code today, but am taking a python class this spring!
Last question. If you couldn’t meet anyone alive or dead, who would it be?
Reese Witherspoon. Not only is she a talented and well-known actress, but she’s also an incredibly successful businesswoman. In addition to acting, she started (& recently sold) a production company and has one of the most successful celebrity book clubs.