Today we’d like to introduce you to Natasha August.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Natasha. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a Dallas born extrovert with a knack for start-ups and a fondness for fashion. I’ve been lucky enough to call many cities home, such as San Francisco, Madrid, Austin and Jinja [Uganda], exposing myself to different cultures and fashion trends from around the world. In my early twenties, trying to balance an aggressive corporate career, new financial responsibilities and a social life, left me with little time to actually think about my wardrobe, much less afford quality clothing that transitioned with my lifestyle. That time in my life has always stuck with me and has been the motivating factor behind Parcel22. Fashion is a reflection of an individual’s unique style and personality and I believe every woman should have the opportunity to share that with the world. I feel my experiences in travel, corporate life, and fast-growing start-ups have prepared me to launch Parcel22 into a successful e-commerce business. I am proud and delighted to say I am a customer of my own service.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The idiom “building a plane while flying it” couldn’t be more true when it comes to entrepreneurship. Like most entrepreneurs, I have faced many struggles and roadblocks along my journey. For example, a high priority for Parcel22 was getting the MVP (minimum viable product) to market as quickly as possible to gain our first round of customers. As online retail technology is constantly evolving, I was not prepared for the development challenges Parcel22 would face. I felt our development team couldn’t keep up with the number of updates, fixes, and new features needed to sustain customer demand. However, launching an MVP as early as we did allowed us to quickly gain customer insights and pivot the business model before we spent additional resources.
Another struggle I have encountered as a new business owner is financial stability. Parcel22 is a self-funded business therefore, I have maintained a strict budget that doesn’t allow for too many mistakes. I have learned along the way that it is important to do due diligence on all vendors and service providers — photographers, manufacturers, suppliers, etc. — to make sure I am dealing with top tier businesses at the best price for my budget.
In addition to the product and financial constraints, another struggle has been understanding the skill-sets and personalities needed to take Parcel22 to the “next level” and finding the right employees to fill those gaps. I am very passionate about Parcel22 and enjoy being involved in the day-to-day minutiae, but I have also learned that it is normal to feel overwhelmed when starting your own business and it is okay to ask for help from others. My mother always told me, “you are only as good as those you surround yourself with” and no words have resonated more since starting my own company.
In conclusion, every bump in the road (no pun intended; it just so happened I found out I was pregnant around the same time I started Parcel22. Trying to launch a business while undergoing my first pregnancy was a “bump” in itself), has taught me to not dwell on mistakes but to learn from them and move on. Each “failure” has ultimately not been a failure but a learning experience that has pushed me to persevere and fulfill my dream of owning and operating Parcel22.
Please tell us about your business.
Parcel22 offers a subscription-based, monthly wardrobe rental service of everyday styles, at budget-friendly prices, geared towards teenage girls and young women, primarily Gen Z and Millennials. We are constantly updating our inventory with the latest fashions and customers may swap out their Parcel for new items as many times as they like each month. Customers may also choose to purchase their items at a discounted rate (up to 80% off retail) by simply not returning the item(s) in their Parcel. When it’s time for the next Parcel, we recommend pieces based on the customers’ “style profile” and what’s in stock, ultimately allowing our customers to choose for themselves what ships in their Parcel. If no changes are made to the Parcel, it will automatically ship within two business days of receiving the previous Parcel, allowing customers to conveniently “set it and forget it” if they choose to do so!
Unlike other clothing rental subscription services, Parcel22 focuses on the details of its pieces, not the label, allowing customers to truly create and express themselves through their personal styles, at a great price. For example, none of our pieces are associated with designer brands and all are individually selected based on quality, material, and design. We tailor to a younger audience, which no other subscription service appeals to, and have the lowest prices in the clothing rental market today. Starting at just $65 per month with unlimited Parcel swaps! We are women-owned and operated and personalize every Parcel with a handwritten note along with other special touches.
Parcel22 aims to promote individuality and confidence through an ever-rotating closet for Gen Z and Millennial shoppers. Our goal is to provide fashion at the best price without breaking the bank. The best part it can all be done in the comfort of your own home! Understanding not everyone has time or even access to retail stores, Parcel22 allows women to curate their rotating wardrobe online from their phone, tablet, or computer, all at their own convenience with Parcels shipped directly to their front door. Renting is a more sustainable option for those wanting to try that bold piece they will only wear once and is more cost-effective for those who have a tight budget. It allows women to stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends. We are also shifting the way women think about fashion by truly focusing on the style of our clothes and removing any preconceived designer bias.
Additionally, we feel shopping for a cause should be a motivating factor for women today. We are proud and fortunate to partner with Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support – a Dallas based non-profit organization whose mission is to provide safety, shelter and support for women who have experienced domestic violence and to raise awareness regarding its cause, prevalence and impact.
All Parcel22 pieces that do not sell or surpass their life cycle will be donated to Genesis, and proceeds from each monthly Parcel subscription will be gifted to the organization with the dream and vision of truly making an impact for these women needing the support and means of having a second chance. Parcel22 is live and has current subscribers but the website and mobile site are being redesigned and will officially launch late September with a fresh look and new features.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My biggest cheerleaders, supporters, and mentors have been my family. Each one played a sound role in encouraging me to start Parcel22 and get it off the ground. For example, my sister, the fashion connoisseur, helped me during the beginning of Parcel22, which also happened to be my first trimester of pregnancy, to shop the initial round of inventory and set guidelines for both quality and style. My brother and father assisted on the strategy side of the business as they are both entrepreneurs and know the right questions to ask. My mother, the most hardworking person I know, worked alongside me for weeks setting up our warehouse and office so everything was organized and ready to operate. My husband, my rock, made it possible for me to quit my prior career as Director of Product Development at another start-up to pursue my own dream.
There are definitely others who have shaped and guided me along the way with Parcel22 including my Developer and Brand Strategist. As mentioned previously, you are only as good as those you surround yourself with and I was lucky to cross paths with the right people as they were able to help bring my vision for Parcel22 to life.
- The Simple Plan ($65 per month) includes 3 garments and 2 accessories
- The Sassy Plan ($75 per month) includes 4 garments and no accessories
- The Smart Plan ($85 per month) includes 5 garments and 3 accessories
- All plans include unlimited Parcels for the month along with free shipping both ways and free dry cleaning
- Website: www.parcel22.com
- Phone: 800-587-1702
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/parcel22
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/parcel22
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/parcel22
- Other: www.pinterest.com/parcel22
Main photo and last photo by Alexa Vossler