PR for People Monthly December 2014 - Page 10

Since August 2013, fashionista Svetlana Petculescu has run the Seattle plus-size e-commerce boutique, Poppy & Bloom. Before co-founding this business, she held various titles at Amazon.com, Eurasia Capital Ltd., Deloitte Consulting and GE. She also is a partner at Seattle-based e-commerce consulting firm Vostok Partners.

PRforPeople recently caught up with this multi-cultural fashion maven to find out what it takes to be successful in a very competitive market.

PRforPeople: What do you love most about your business?

Svetlana Petculescu: I love the opportunity to build something out of nothing, and to see satisfied faces of our customers.

PRfP: What were the main obstacles you faced?

SP: Finding and building a strong team. This includes finding a talented designer, technical designer, graphic designer and photographer. Also, finding a great production facility to make our clothing was a challenge. We started with the production facilities in Seattle and had to move to Los Angeles, where we could scale faster and have better quality.

PRfP: How did you overcome these obstacles?

SP: For the choice of the production facility, I visited multiple facilities, talked to people there and saw their work samples. But in the end it was trial and error – sometimes you don’t know what you get unless you try. So we would place small orders with a couple of manufactures in Seattle and Los Angeles and see how well we work with them, and then monitor their quality and timely delivery.

PRfP: What keeps you up at night?

SP: A lot of things! Managing cash flow is the key in running a small business – especially in the apparel business. We are paying large amount of money upfront for supplies and production, and we get paid usually two to three months later. Also, there are so many variables in the supply chain that you cannot control. For example, our fabric coming from oversees was delayed at customs for over a month. This delayed our production schedule, and thus delivery to the retailer. Luckily for us, the order was not canceled, but we had to give few concessions, like discounts and free shipping, to the retailer. Fashion is a fast-paced business with tight deadlines and impatient customers.

Q&A

with Svetlana Petculescu of