Corri McFadden founded her own business at the green age of 22 years old. She redesigned the consignment industry and bootstrapped her way to a chic location in Lincoln Park while overcoming entrepreneurial woes including the loss of her initial founder. Corri is the definition of dedication, hard work and positive attitude. Learn about her inspiring story below and why she’s just getting started.
1. How did you know you wanted to start your own business?
I knew I was born to be an entrepreneur or a detective because I see things and layout the pieces. I saw a need with consignment and sought out to create a brand that resold luxury items at 22 years old.
2. How did you get started?
Honestly, it was ‘easy’ for me because I was already living a college broke lifestyle. Initially, it didn’t feel like I needed to sacrifice too much. I also happened to meet an initial investor that was willing to invest in my concept. He had the dollar equity, and I had the sweat equity. It helped me get off the ground. Sometimes these things fall into place and you have to trust your gut. It was the right conversation at the right time.
3. Getting started is hard. Working on something that’s only once piece of your vision is even harder. Self-doubt had to creep in. How did you (and how do you continue to) handle it?
Self-doubt, for me, comes in phases. The first 5 years, I saved every penny I could and trusted my gut. Once I hit the 5 year mark, I felt it was time to rebrand. I found our current location on Halsted and went from a 600sq ft. location to a 3,000 sq ft. location. I’ll never forget seeing all the white space in the store and thinking, ‘What in the world was I thinking?’ The first month was really hard. It was the days of pre-social media so communicating to clients I had moved was challenging. After the first month, things started to fall back into place.
4. What’s been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur?
I ask all aspiring entrepreneurs if the stress is something they’re prepared to take on. It’s never ending no matter where you are in your career, and at some points you feel like you’re dying because it’s so heavy. As the business grows, so does the stress. You have to learn how to cope with it. Some stress I’ve learned to leave at the door. It’s also helpful having a partner that’s an entrepreneur because he gets it.
I highly recommend you have an outlet that lets you forget the stress. For me, it’s my daughter, Zelda. You have to be able to come down and relax. Self-care is so important as is mental health. Be a nice person and take care of yourself.
5. How have you been able to sustain relevance with eDrop-Off since the world has changed so much since you started?
I’ve always capitalized on the current trends while trusting my vision. When we started, eBay was all the rage so my store screamed bright colors subconsciously cueing eBay. When the crash happened, we became everyone’s best kept secret to unload luxury goods and make money. I had a few clients that were taken by Bernie Madoff. It was a hard time for them, but an excellent time for my business. It’s when I realized that although I wanted us to be a trusted source, I didn’t want to be a secret otherwise we’d never grow.
We opened eDrop-Off on Halsted, I knew I needed to change the perceptions of consignment. It wasn’t gross and dingy. It was beautiful and luxurious. I hired Simione Deary to bring that vision to life. There was so much buzz that people had to see it, and it started to drive more traffic to our new location.
6. What’s been your biggest unlock as an entrepreneur?
Learn to leverage what we’re already doing and make money from it. How can I do things smarter? Don’t hustle, be efficient. My blog, Glitter & Bubbles, has been a great example of this because it’s something Zelda & I can build together. We do tons of collaborations on things that already interest us.
7. What are you most excited for in the next year or two with eDrop-Off?
Even though it’s been over a decade, I feel like I’m just getting started. We have so much knowledge on how to authenticate luxury goods after selling over 1 million items and have crafted a way to do this for companies and people, which we’re expecting to roll out in late 2017. It’s again a problem I’ve spotted early and foresee becoming bigger problem as time goes on. eDrop-Off is here to solve it.
8. What advice would you offer to someone just getting started?
Be real with yourself. What do you need to live? Ask yourself, can I make that ever month and weigh it out. What are you willing to sacrifice? Right now it’s so ‘popular’ to be an entrepreneur, and while I think it’s an awesome career, it’s really hard.
Also, know what’s a non-negotiable for you when it comes to your time, and use your time wisely. Everyone talks about going all in. All in doesn’t have to mean quitting your job until it’s a necessity to keep growing. Don’t let your full-time job cripple you. For example, if you can dedicate 3 hours a day to your side project every day, that’s a 21 hours a week, which is a part time job.
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.