Attorney leaving law to pursue a career in online retail.  Ask me anything about leaving the corporate world gracefully to create your dream job.

Christina Arenas
Jul 9, 2018

My name is Christina Arenas and I've been an attorney for 10 years now in Washington, DC. The legal industry is experiencing an existential crisis as the market is saturated with lawyers, AI is taking over, and corporate clients are calling more of the shots. Consequently, the golden years of being a lawyer have left us for the most part.  Now, many attorneys like myself are looking at other career options to get out of the law.  I'm entering into Month 5 of building my fashion empire, Duchess of Dupont, and these are my tips for creating your dream job.

#1 If you're bored with your current corporate job, don't try to create your dream job off the bat.  Try taking up a hobby or joining a club.  If the desire to start your own business still persists (after a reasonable amount of time has passed) then you know you're mentally ready. Ideally, during this time, also try to gather some sort of social media following.  That will help tremendously when launching.

#2 Don't quit your day job.  It takes a lot of time to get a business up and running so don't quit your day job just yet. Rather, be prepared to put in an extra 20 or so hours a week until your business gets off the ground.

#3 Make sure you have ample savings and a business plan before you start.  It takes money to make money.  Even if you're not buying inventory, you'll need to spend money on advertising, equipment, creating a website, etc. Creating a business plan will guide you and indicate whether you're financially ready.

#4 Don't give up (at least within the first 2-3 years).  One of my favorite quotes is: "Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" (Winston Churchill).  Launching a business is so hard.  It will test your mind and spirit.  Because there is no one path to success, you are undergoing a lot of trial and error.  You will get frustrated but don't lose hope.  Be persist and practice the power of positive thinking.  

#5 Always be in marketing mode. In social situations, never give up the opportunity to tell friends, family, people you just met, Uber drivers, etc. to tell them what you are doing. However, make your pitch in a natural way and tell your friends and family to do the same with people they meet.  You'll need to change your identity starting by how you think of yourself.  You are no longer a (current occupation).  You're a (current occupation) who just launched (your company).  Ask me anything =)

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shopduchessofdupont.com

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How do you keep these customers when they are constantly barraged by competitors of all types, sizes, and locations, trying to convince them that they can do it better?
Jul 14, 10:15PM EDT0
What are the things that no one tells you about quitting your corporate job?
Jul 14, 1:25PM EDT0
Do you have a favorite/best-selling product in your store? What is it?
Jul 14, 4:42AM EDT0

So far as far as sales go, it's been my seamless underwear (brand: Janira).  Some of my favorite items include the Janira seamless underwear along with the basic tee and mockneck tee from The Great Eros.

Jul 14, 1:45PM EDT0
What was it like to leave a corporate job and start something your own company?
Jul 14, 2:16AM EDT0

So, I haven't left yet.  I'm doing both.  It's a little less stressful in a way because but a little more stressful in others.  I'm not desperate for a sale, which is great because I feel customers can definitely sense when there is an air of desperation.  On the other hand, I'm working all the time.

Jul 14, 1:51PM EDT0
Could you share some advice for finding a career you love?
Jul 13, 8:44PM EDT0

Ask yourself how important making money is to you.  If from a reasonable amount to a lot, then try to find something that you like (ideally love) in which you will make a living.  In my point of view, if you're someone that likes making money, you won't be satisfied with a job in which you don't make much no matter how much you love it.

Jul 14, 3:37PM EDT0
What made you choose fashion over other industries in your new career path?
Jul 13, 10:01AM EDT0

I'm good at a lot of things....but I feel fashion is the only thing I am innately good at.  Somehow I feel I know just what to do even though I have never taken fashion courses.  Fashion also is probably the only thing I feel strong enough to put risk into.

Jul 14, 1:56PM EDT0
How would you describe the personality of your business brand?
Jul 13, 8:03AM EDT0

Sexy, sophisticated, whimiscal, flirty, and fun.

Jul 14, 1:57PM EDT0
What words would you use to describe your management style?
Jul 13, 4:04AM EDT0

Practical, personal, and persistent

Jul 14, 2:14PM EDT0
As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?
Jul 12, 9:55PM EDT0

Find the target customer, don't over buy, and stay enthusiastic 

Jul 14, 2:26PM EDT0
How big is the market you are entering? Who are you targeting as customers?
Jul 12, 1:51AM EDT0
Do you believe there is some sort of formula to become a successful fashion entrepreneur?
Jul 11, 1:30AM EDT0

In my opinion, the two most essential things are talent and money.

Jul 14, 2:05PM EDT0
How has it helped you to practice the power of positive thinking?
Jul 10, 10:43PM EDT0

Well, it has done wonders for me.  If you really mediate on a specific  thing to want to accomplish, the universe has a way of making it happen.  When I really concentrate on what I want, I get it 95% of the time in a few days.

Jul 12, 9:50PM EDT0

Can a new biz set up their biz offshore? What are the benefits and downfalls of doing so? (Canadian asking)

Jul 10, 10:26PM EDT0

Hmm.  You'd probably have to ask a tax lawyer or an accountant for that.  I do know that even if it is possible, you will likely be double taxed--taxed by the country you live in and by the country the business is in.  Again, this is not my area of law and I definitely don't know anything about Canadian law.

Jul 10, 10:30PM EDT0
What are the significant differences between your online store and a regular lingerie store?
Jul 10, 1:23PM EDT0

One of the downsides to an online business is that you don't get that street traffic so you have to be crafty with SEO.  You need to network even more online than in-person. Though networking in your local area is also key to driving traffic to your site.  

My online store in particular offers small, independent, and emerging brands, while brick-and-mortar stores in Washington, DC (where I'm physically located) don't.  That's not to say and someone couldn't open up a store similar to mine.  It just hasn't happen yet because it's a big risk because commercial leases are so high here.

Jul 10, 10:36PM EDT0

Was it scary to leave your job? And how did you prepare for it? I guess you are not having a steady income now or do you? 

Jul 10, 12:39PM EDT0

I haven't left my job yet so I do have a steady income.

Jul 14, 2:07PM EDT0
How often do you come up with different marketing strategies to promote your business on a better scale?
Jul 10, 7:37AM EDT0

When I just launched a few months ago, I've had a ton of new ideas to market myself.  I'm slowly going through each and every one of them and finding out what works and what doesn't.  Now, generally, I come up with one new marketing idea a week (or build on an old one that I had).

Jul 10, 10:39PM EDT0
What role will independent designers -such as the ones you work with at your company- play in the future of fashion?
Jul 10, 7:15AM EDT0

That really all depends on the consumer.  As much as I like a designer and their product, if it's not selling, then I can't afford to keep stocking them. That's why it's so important that those interested unique, quality pieces actually go out and buy them.  Resellers and designers both depend on the consumer.  If there is not enough demand, then those business will dry up.  

Jul 10, 10:44PM EDT0
What are your dreams to develop your fashion empire?
Jul 10, 5:49AM EDT0

I'm starting out with lingerie, swim, and leisure and would eventually like to move into other areas, such as ready-to-wear and cocktail dresses, and more mens wear of course!

Jul 14, 2:30PM EDT0
What are your shortcuts to successfully handle frustration and stress?
Jul 9, 8:12PM EDT0

In the evenings, right before I go to bed, I repeat what my next goal is over and over for about 10 mins. I also practice yoga and try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.

Jul 9, 10:39PM EDT0
What kind of training did you go through to learn about how to manage a business before launching Duchess of Dupont?
Jul 9, 3:06PM EDT0

I honestly did not go through any type of training.  I literally walked into my first trade show in NYC and told the vendors there I was starting a store and looking for merchandise.  I'm a firm believer in "faking it 'til you make it." You want to be somewhat ready to manage a business but, remember you can always learn what you need to along the way.  The two main things that you must have to start a business are money and talent.  But, the rest can be learned.

Jul 9, 5:56PM EDT0
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