Inception: Of Mercer

Dorie&Emelyn Matchbook Photo

Dorie Golkin (left) & Emelyn Northway (right)

A few weeks ago, over goat cheese salads at L’express, I sat down with the dynamic duo behind OfMercer.com.  I immediately connected with Dorie and Emelyn, as we launched into conversations about weddings (Dorie’s getting married at the Museum of Natural History in a few months), how the blogging world has changed (drastically!), and of course, our love of Cornell (despite the fact that every bar has closed since Emelyn and I both graduated).  Of Mercer, the up-and-coming online-only brand, is the answer to “What to wear to work?”.  The ladies have created a line of office appropriate clothing that’s chic and  reasonably priced (every dress is under $200).  Check out the latest Inception below, and stay tuned for my upcoming collab with the brand.  Fun, fun!

Names? Dorie Golkin and Emelyn Northway

Age?

DG: 27

EN: 29

 

Degrees (and from where)?

DG: BSE in Civil Engineering from Princeton

EN: BA in Economics and Psychology from Cornell

Both: MBAs from Wharton

 

When/how did you come up with the idea for your business?

DG: Prior to meeting at Wharton, we both worked in conservative finance environments. We struggled to find work clothes that fit our personal styles, office dress codes, and budgets. While at business school, we did more research, held focus groups, and learned that this was not a problem specific to us – there was a large gap in the market for the ever-expanding population of stylish professional women. So we decided to do something about it!

 

What was the hardest part about turning your idea into a reality, and how did you get past it? 

EN: Fashion was a new industry for both of us, so there was a very steep learning curve. Since we started, we have been very open to learning as much as possible from anyone with whom we speak. Being an entrepreneur is an emotionally exhausting endeavor, so it’s been helpful to have Dorie to motivate me through – and I hope I do the same for her!

DG: Ditto!

What is your favorite thing about owning your own business?

DG: I love having a hand in absolutely all functions of the business and being involved in every decision we make as a company.  It’s nice to have that level of control, and it’s rewarding to know that every decision we make has a real impact.

 

What is your least favorite thing about owning your own business?

EN: Same answer! We are involved with every single aspect of running the company, and like any job, not every part is glamorous.  Those dresses aren’t going to ship themselves!

What kind of hours do you work and do you find you still have time for friends and family?

DG: We work a lot!  But we make sure we spend some time away from the office with friends and family – they help keep us sane. I am getting married in May, so I’ve had to make a bit of time for wedding planning, but mostly I rely on my wedding planner to make decisions for me!

 

What was your most meaningful experience (job or internship) prior to becoming an entrepreneur?

DG: When I was consulting, I did a project for a music label – it was a great experience to see a successful business built around creativity.

 

Where do you envision yourself 10 years from today?

EN: In 10 years, Of Mercer will be the go-to destination for a full office chic wardrobe. Whatever a professional woman needs – tops, skirts, pants, etc. – her first thought will always be our brand.

 

What advice would you give to people who want to start their own business?

EN: Talk to as many people as possible – and don’t be afraid to ask questions! We’ve found the entrepreneurial community incredibly open and supportive.  We’ve met many collaborators and partners just by talking about our concept.  Don’t keep your idea a secret – no one can help you if they don’t know what you’re working on!

Is there anything about owning your own business that you wish you knew before you started?

DG: There are many things we didn’t know going into this, but I think in a lot of ways ignorance is bliss.  Imagining every single challenge ahead can be paralyzing, so we just take it one day at a time, make one decision at a time, and get through it together. 

 

Ladies, stay tuned for exciting collabs between OfMercer and

 

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