In Conversation with Alexandra Toccin of TOCCIN
Describe your business in a few words?
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
After graduating from George Washington University and receiving my degree in Marketing, I knew that I always wanted to pursue the fashion industry. I worked in PR, attended Parsons the New School for Design and received an AAS in Fashion Marketing while working at Ralph Lauren in their merchandising department. Following Ralph Lauren, I worked as a buyer at Theory and then ended up as the Director of Sales for a fine jewelry company called Emily & Ashley. My husband, Michael, also has experience in fashion and together we knew that we ultimately wanted to start our own business.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Honestly, no. I am a type A person and loved working in a corporate company; however, after being an entrepreneur for the past 4.5 years, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Initially we started our fashion blog, Stylists to a T (now @alexandmichaeltoccin) as a passion project and as it grew, it became the marketing vehicle behind our fashion apparel brand, Toccin. It was a great start and as our fashion apparel brand new, we recognized that we had to incorporate more marketing strategies.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
One of the most challenging times has been COVID-19 for all businesses. We launched Toccin in September 2019 and once it hit (5 months later) it affected our entire business plan. I have learned an incredible amount from this experience, most importantly learning how to shift our strategies quickly whether it be design, sales, or marketing.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The fashion business has taken a heavy hit from the pandemic due to the fact that our customers aren’t going anywhere. We are hopefully for a positive 2021.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We are working on another brand that will be launching in early 2021.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
The importance of pivoting. I am such a planner and this year has taught me to be patient, be opened and be willing to make changes quicker than expected.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I had known about the pandemic coming our way. We launched our fashion apparel brand, Toccin, focusing on the work-life-wear for women. Once COVID-19 hit, we had to shift our product offerings to make sure that we would be able to design and offer styles that are wearable during this time.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
It has been so important to me to keep a constant routine.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely! I think it is important to create a weekly schedule that you can have the best of both worlds, work and life.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
My husband and I worked together. We met our first day of college and have been together ever since (17.5 years later).
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Make an agenda of what you want to accomplish.
- Be sure to check in with your team and communicate.
- Try to get some fresh air at least once a day.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It is super exciting. Everyday is so different and I look forward to all of the rewards that come with it.