Loredana Padurean – Founder and CEO of DressMe

Hire the best people and get out of their way! Let them do the work you hired them for! Don’t micromanage and don’t think that you are always right.

Dr. Loredana Padurean is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Operations at Lasell College in Boston, MA. She has extensive international teaching and consulting experience in Switzerland, Italy, and India. Loredana is a serial entrepreneur and her most recent start-up DressMe For is a free shopping iPhone and iPad app curated by fashion experts that style women for any occasions, moods, weather or style.

Where did the idea for DressMe For come from?

I was frustrated with how difficult was to find something to wear for a specific occasion or the weather or just my mood. Most shopping sites sell individual items but women shop and get dressed in function of a context. I cannot tell you how many of my girlfriends say, “I need an outfit for meeting his parents” or “I want to wear something edgy” or “I need to look cute when I feel bloated!” Today, you can go to stores and ask somebody to help you find the right outfit, but this styling service comes with a hefty price tag. Here is where DressMe For comes to rescue. Our stylists curate fashion collections for all these occasions, moods, weather or style and it’s a free service for our customer!

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I am a full time professor so my day looks very different than the typical day of the CEO of a start-up. I meet with my team 3-4 times a week, late in the day and I do most of the work over the weekend. We use emails and texts to get the job done. But I can do this only because I have an outstanding, reliable and very ambitious team.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I am a firm believer in fast prototyping, testing and fast implementation. I rely a lot in my team and I listen to their ideas so when we love something we get it done, and when we hate something we kill it right away. We don’t dwell on things. Ever.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I am super excited about Fashion Curation. Today fashion is a combination of trends, designers and personal style. I obsess over Instagram looks of these great, fashionable girls that are so stylish and creative and inspiring. I believe the real girls are the fashion trendsetters today, much more than designers or fashion magazines! And these are the girls that we are trying to attract to our app.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Once I’m passionate about an idea I can’t stop thinking about it and I work obsessively on that until it’s done. I also have very intense ADHD, which for me is a blessing because I get to do so many things in the same time!

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Oh, I had so many horrible jobs in my life, is hard to pick one! But I think the one I hated the most was being a life insurance agent. I learnt fast that I am terrible at cold calls and that I cannot sell what I don’t believe in.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I learnt in time to trust my gut and to avoid working with people I don’t like. Today I hire fast and fire faster. The second I doubt a person, that relationship is over.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Hire the best people and get out of their way! Let them do the work you hired them for! Don’t micromanage and don’t think that you are always right.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Find the right people to work with. Is very hard to do things alone or with the wrong team. This is my third company and in each case, having the right partners and team helped the business grow exponentially.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I had many failures but I don’t consider them failures unless I didn’t learn something. My biggest failure was getting into a hotel business that I didn’t really like and that I didn’t make me feel good about myself. Now I know and I stay away from that industry.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would love to see an app that connects people with ideas with people with resources. I teach a course in the “World of Apps” and some of my students’ projects are mind-blowing. We need an instant market place that matches ideas with people and with resources.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I’m very introverted and pretty shy, but because of the nature of my career you will never know.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I outsource the entire tech component of my business to a software development team in India and they take care of all these aspects. However, I love working with Apple and iTunes Connect. Very cool, professional and easy to work with.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Clockspeed by Charles Fine, MIT. This book made me understand the importance of the business environment in function of the rate of change of each industry.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Prof. Charles Fine from MIT (the author of the book I suggested) has been my mentor for the past 10 years. Today I am very inspired by Dan Gilbert and his mind-blowing efforts to rebuild the city of Detroit. My personal hero is Eileen Lee, the COO of Venture for America, the absolute coolest company in the world!


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