[quote style=”boxed”]We ask the right questions of our clients. We inquire as to what their ideal accessory is – what they want to create if they had an unlimited budget, pull ideas from the current market and then figure out a way to make it work with their actual budget, timeline and end user is. [/quote]
Gina Panella is the founder of POP NYC, a private label product maker specializing in the sourcing, development and manufacturing of fashion accessories. With 7 years of experience in the private label and promotional products industry, Gina launched POP NYC 2 years ago and has served a prestigious clientele of 40 brands worldwide, including Estee Lauder, Revlon and Vogue. POP NYC offers manufacturing within the U.S. as well as overseas, and offers a wide array of accessory products, including handbags, cosmetic cases, sunglasses, jewelry, product packaging and more.
What are you working on right now?
I am the co-founder of POP NYC and right now we are working on several large-scale private label projects – manufacturing bags and accessories for large well-known companies and brands.
Where did the idea for POP NYC come from?
I was working for a similar company and while they did so much right there was so many things that I thought could be done better. Employee morale was low, we were operating under insane timelines and things were not always done in the most professional of ways. I thought there had to be a better way- I strived to make it so.
How do you make money?
We make custom accessories for large brands and companies across the world. We either create a new item or brand an existing stock item.
What does your typical day look like?
My days are VERY email heavy. The phone is practically obsolete at this point. Typically if a client needs to speak to me we schedule a meeting or a call at a specific time. The first thing I do when I open my eyes is check my email to see what is urgent from overseas. Then I respond to what needs immediate attention. From there once I get into the office I check all incoming samples, then we dispatch them t to clients. I go to meetings if I scheduled, mainly I am fielding emails all day to discuss new projects, check in on approvals, discuss logistics and make sure we are progressing as needed on projects in production. I don’t stop emails until I go to bed around 12:30- 1am which is prime time to speak to my factories overseas.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We ask the right questions of our clients. We inquire as to what their ideal accessory is – what they want to create if they had an unlimited budget, pull ideas from the current market and then figure out a way to make it work with their actual budget, timeline and end user is.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I still love the transparent bag trend. I hope that stays around for a little bit longer.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked for a jewelry company for about 3 months. They were a small company that was all owned by foreigners I was one of 2 Americans – I couldn’t understand a word they spoke because they didn’t speak English ever, and they didn’t explain any of their business to me and expected me to understand what to do immediately, it was awful! I did learn to ask for help in retrospect.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would get an assistant right away even if I didn’t think we could afford one.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I get up everyday and work hard! I also stay in front of the company’s that I would like to work with and I think this has helped open doors for us.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We had an order of custom yoga mats going to Mexico for an event. They got held in customs in Mexico. No one has any control over customs as it is a government-controlled entity. Our client didn’t seem to understand that and believed we were at fault. We ended up losing the client and losing the money on the order. However what we learned was to never guarantee delivery dates.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think social entrepreneurship ventures will become even bigger as entrepreneurs set out on missions to not only profit, but also to make a difference. A business that takes a social issue that it wants to solve, creates a product relevant to that issue and then sells it in the market with part of the proceeds going towards creating a solution for that issue will find a lot of success in the future.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would make all pet stores and breeders of dogs and cats illegal in order to make all dogs and cats available through adoption only so that we can control the pet population. Rescued animals are lovely and should be given wonderful homes.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I used to be a competitive figure skater.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
UPS/ FED EX TRACKING – is it imperative we all know where are shipments are and when, Alibaba is great to find resources when we need to find a factory to do a small quick run on an item we cannot place with our normal network of factories- they are rated and approved, and on line banking of course to take care of transfers overseas.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance”- we manufacture both domestically and overseas and we see the benefits of both it is interesting to be part of bringing manufacturing back to US soil.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Highsnobiety for interesting street wear fashion news, WWD for high fashion news, NY Times for all news.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh all the time. But I recently laughed about the Key & Peele Substitute Teacher skit. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s brilliant.
Who is your hero?
Tina Fey, she worked hard to get where she is, she is a working mom, grounded and very funny!
What drives you to work in fashion? What makes you passionate about it?
I am passionate about what I do because I love being able to take someone’s idea and turn it into a tangible item and see it on the streets.
What do you think is the most important value or quality in a person?
I think it is important to be responsible and show up. Showing up is half the battle in life.
POP NYC on Facebook:
POP NYC on Twitter: @POPNYCinc
Gina Panella on LinkedIn:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.