Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Stylish Fox: Starting The Business

Read the remainder of the blog entry for interesting information about what it was like for Alisa, of The Stylish Fox, to start a business. I think that it might be encouraging for those of you who are interested in starting a business of your own. Also, it would help you to appreciate the effort that a business owner must go through to bring you great quality hosiery. Be sure to check out the other interview questions, by clicking interviews, which can also be found in the right column, under Popular Topics.

Starting a business is a huge undertaking. Did you have business experience before this company?

No, I didn’t have any business experience before. I view the Stylish Fox not like a business but rather an attempt to provide something that you can’t find anywhere else in the US or can only find with much effort. It has felt very exciting from the very beginning.

What were some of the struggles of getting the whole operation started?

I was very determined to do everything myself, including building a website. I had no experience with that whatsoever, and it took me months to realize that I started with wrong shopping cart software. After I found another one, the website was completely finished in a month with some help from friends. Another big struggle was to build stock without any start-up capital. I never was able to find a full-time job in the US and have continued to work as a freelance translator for my previous Russian employer. (Salaries in Russia are low compared to the US.) Also, it has been an adventure figuring out what type of business to go with, registering with the state and IRS, etc.

To get it started, did you start it off a bit at a time, or a lot at once?

I have started slowly and am still going a bit slowly. I wanted to take time to review different companies and their hosiery to make sure they had good, quality products. Luckily, I found a couple of companies that had good hosiery but did not have high minimum order requirements. I saved every month, and bought new hosiery every 1-3 months. On the positive side, it gave me time to learn the process of conducting business without any rush.

You obviously have hosiery experience. What other experiences do you draw on, to run The Stylish Fox?

It is mostly a personal hosiery experience that helps. There is some technical experience, as I used to be a manager of an internet cafe in St. Petersburg, but I rarely get to apply it. Because I don’t have a driver’s license yet, I buy lots of things online. This has helped me to learn what is good and bad about online shops. Also, I have high standards and expectations and I try to treat my customers as I would like to be treated.

You must deal with the hosiery companies to get their products. What is it like? Has it been difficult? Do they treat you with respect?

One of the unpleasant experiences was when I contacted one of my favorite manufacturers in Italy and learned that they refused to export to the US. Another Italian company that I really like sells to a wholesaler here in the US only and that significantly increases the final, retail price. As a result, I would have to charge more than I would like.

After getting registered with Trasparenze, it has been a breeze to work with them. I can order right from their webpage and it is delivered to my door.

Working with some of the other companies has been difficult. For example, Fiore does not have much experience exporting to the US. We had to figure out the best ways to transfer money, how to do the shipping, how to do the import declaration (the customs people want something that’s not only in Polish), how to pay the import duties, etc. Shipping from Poland has been an adventure and can sometimes cost as much or more than the actual cost of the hosiery! It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been a good learning process.

The hosiery companies do treat you with respect but they have very strict requirements and do not want to deal with small businesses that don’t have a large capital. It can take a lot of time to find the right companies to work with when just starting up.

Why did you choose the name, The Stylish Fox?

My husband insisted on this name. It is a wordplay - in Russian, lisa means fox, and there is a Russian fairy tale character, called Lisa Alisa. And in English, fox means a good looking, attractive, sexy woman. We added stylish because it described the products we sell and that a foxy woman would like to have. :)


  1. Oh this has helped me so much. I am just starting a girls hosiery line and i need a lot of help. I cant seem to find a manufacturer without high minimum. Please, if you can give me any information i would really appreciated it. Here is my contact info:

  2. Great! I'll pass the information on to her.

    Would you keep us updated, so that we can see how well you do?

  3. I am looking to start a plus size tights line. But, I've hit many brick walls. Any advice/manufacturing info you can give would b e much appreciated. my email is

  4. Hi. I forwarded your question to The Stylish Fox, and they don't have any information.

    Starting a plus size tights line sounds hard. What kind of a specific problem are you facing?

  5. Hosiery is Passion,I worked as a Designer knitter and R&d maker for reputed hosiery manufacturer in Ontario Canada Lost the job along with the entire staff when Company was sold moved out of province
    now i have started a hosiery manufacturing business,we have developed large amount of designs ready for production

    OUR DESIGNS ARE UNIQUE Company could be new but a lenthy experience makes the difference between us the big manufacturers
    we accept small or big orders of any hosiery
    eg. reg/plus sizes knee high thigh high sheer pantyhose tights footless tights anklets all pattern or plain

  6. Well, if you didn't have any business experience before, you certainly have a lot now! Starting a business like that can be quite a challenge, but it's also a great learning experience. As you begin, you start understanding the demands that separate hobby from business. It's quite exciting to take your interests seriously like that, and see it develop and grow.