Hannah M. Le is the founder of RE.STATEMENT, the online marketplace for unique, upcycled clothing. Inspired by the scraps of fabric saved from her mom’s alterations shop, fashion design was the first job she ever wanted, until she discovered how much of a fiend she is at applying behavioral economics to product development and social impact startups. Applying her skills and talents to RE.STATEMENT, she is constantly motivated to show people how you can create beauty out of chaos from the clothes we would’ve otherwise thrown away.
Where did the idea for RE.STATEMENT come from?
The idea behind RE.STATEMENT’s name is the way we use clothing to make a statement. The first thing people notice about us when we enter the room, or the element that they use as an excuse to start a conversation with us – these are known as statement pieces. The re- part of RE.STATEMENT comes from the idea of reusing or upcycling, and coincides with the idea of creating a cycle out of making a statement from the way you dress.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m a huge fan of adding incentives into my workday and keeping track of the things I’ve done through a checklist. My plans change every day, but here’s the gist of what I try to do every day:
My mornings are spent getting a quick stretch and a run in, sitting down to check emails and get started on meetings (I much prefer meetings in the morning than in the afternoon), then get lunch.
After that, I move to a different workspace to get my more creative, long-term, or “thinking” tasks in, and those are when I prefer to be alone, unless it’s a collaborative event.
Then I wrap the day up with a workout at the gym and maybe some time to read by the pool!
How do you bring ideas to life?
Break it down, one step at a time. If it’s a big idea and feels a little intimidating, I take it down to its smallest level of things I need to get done to make it happen. This prevents me from procrastinating or feeling like it’ll never get done! It’s easier to plan out little chunks of a big goal and set a date to have them done by.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Upcycling and sustainable fashion. Upcycling is taking bits, scraps, and pieces of used or unwanted materials from clothing that has already been manufactured in the past and then turning it into a completely new, one-of-a-kind piece of clothing.
I get so excited to see what all the designers and small businesses create as their upcycled masterpieces, and it’s the one big excitement that RE.STATEMENT revolves around.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I write down every win RE.STATEMENT gets. Every chance I get to validate and celebrate my victories, whether it’s getting RE.STATEMENT published in a news website or winning a startup competition, I keep note of it.
By knowing that it’s what I’m working towards and that I’ve gained many wins before, it really motivates me to keep going. It is a momentum game after all, and I want to do what it takes to keep the ball rolling!
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say “dream bigger.” Yeah, I think I already dream big now and always have been a big dreamer, but by “bigger,” I mean out of this world, unbelievable, and nearly impossible dreams. Because if I had already been aiming so high, I’d still be in a better place even if I fall a little short of it, compared to where I’d be if I just had big but reasonable goals.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Social media doesn’t have to be bad for your mental health. If you do choose to use social media, it’s important to follow accounts that make you happy, such as friends you may not see all the time and can celebrate their life events they share online.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Analyze the acquisition path that users or customers took to visit your website and make a purchase. As an early stage company, looking at these individual behaviors lets me know where people are getting stuck or helps me narrow down small ways I can nudge them to go in the direction I’m trying to get them to go.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Make users or customers feel they’re important as the individual that they are. Talk to them, tell them stories, and bond with them. That’s how they fall in love with your business (because they have the name and face of a real person they can relate to), and that’s what it takes for them to come back to you and share your company with all of the cool people they have in their world.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest failure is quitting too early. Either losing my motivation or confidence, or even making random excuses for me to stop pursuing a business venture just because I’m bored or tired of it. It’s still something I’m trying to overcome, but I think the first step is being aware that this is a notorious habit of mine and then learning from my past experiences to keep swimming.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve always wanted someone (probably not me, I’m not invested enough) to start an online course that teaches men how to not be creepy towards women. In all seriousness, they’d be giving society a huge benefit if guys could learn how to approach women and build their own confidence so they can reach their relationship goals while not scaring everyone else off.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I don’t really buy that many things, but the last thing I bought that was $100 was a new pair of black stiletto heels. Over the summer, I decided to learn how to walk in stilettos without falling or being in pain, and I was really excited to buy my first pair of stilettos. Now by continuing to “train” walking in my heels, I’ll be able to hit the club or Las Vegas whenever I want(!?)
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Microsoft OneNote. I love it because I can take notes, create my schedule and checklists, and copy and paste things I need to remember whether they’re charts, photos, tables, etc.
My favorite thing about it is that I can click anywhere and start typing, and then can organize my thoughts at a later time. It’s kind of how my mind thinks, so I like to put different topics in different random sections of my mind until I’m ready to flesh them out.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer. It’s a great introduction to effective altruism philosophy and how you can make your place on this planet a meaningful one if you are working to help others.
What is your favorite quote?
I always say to myself, “You’ve been given too much in this lifetime to do anything less.”
It reminds me of where I’ve been and where I’m going, and is incredibly motivating (even when I’m supposed to be doing something I don’t particularly want to do).
- There should be more value to being sustainable than just “wanting to be sustainable.” You should enjoy the product and the value it provides first!
- Entrepreneurship is all about and heavily depends on playing with the momentum you continue to build for your company.
- Be around long enough for good things to happen to you and your company.
- You’ve been given too much in this lifetime to do anything less.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.