040 – Loni Edwards of emPOWERED – “Functional Fashion”

Fashion meets technology…

Loni Edwards, Founder of emPOWERED, a company offering patented phone-charging leather luxury bags, joins Pavan Bahl (OS Fashion) and Rob Sanchez (Manufacture New York / Ralph and Remington [Episode 22]) in studio along with her dog, Chloe the Mini Frenchie. A discussion on Edwards’ background as a lawyer, entrepreneur, founder of Stitch Collective, and her current focuses with emPOWERED on licensing activities, leads to the clarification on the difference between lawyers and attorneys. A review on the news that Dona Karan is stepping down from Dona Karen and DKNY to focus on modern fashion, an urban Zen line, artisanal goods, and wellness leads to a conversation on different stages of starting a company, spending time on sourcing, producing, and why Edwards is writing a book.

Edwards recalls the pain points and solutions discovered in her experience with Stitch Collective including learning how to find money, factories, materials, and the art of buying. A discussion on storytelling vs. results, engagement vs. better business, how purchasing is the end behavior, content strategies, converting social media activity to sales, and how many brands are missing out on commerce in social media. Are likes and followers legitimate currency? How working with startups for licensing—talking to variety of brands, what licensing project is like—is it a purse, or an add on. Adding functionality to fashion. Edward’s advice to startups about being open to shifting focus, the importance of patenting, and using one’s personal skill set. She reveals how she is improving salability by working with bigger brands with resources, and what is next for her company. And she touches on the social media influencer of Chloe the Mini Frenchie as a growing business brand. Plus, a dog food timer and wearable tech, whether Facebook dying, anger over the loss of Google Reader, Fashion Fellows, and Pavan’s Scooby Doo impression.

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