An Interview with Lazyjack Press Solo Founder, Miriam Zelinsky About Building a Preppy Clothing Store Making $21k/Month

In this post we talk to Miriam Zelinsky, she is the solo founder of Lazyjack Press, a preppy clothing branch which makes $21,000 per month in review. Let’s get to the interview.

Can you introduce yourself?

Hi all! I’m Miriam Zelinsky and I’m the founder and CEO of Lazyjack Press. Lazyjack Press is basically a better quality prep brand – we make all of our ties, bow ties, and pocket squares in Italy on the finest silk. Literally.

Also, each design has a really fun name. My newest design has little camels on it and they have very teeny tiny eyelashes and it’s called “Camel Toe.” There’s also a tie with stethoscopes on it called “Trust Me I’m a Doctor.” You get the idea. We also make other products like super soft Peruvian pima cotton socks – also with all of our fun names (Chick Magnet is the most popular one but just launching Beer Goggles today) – and boys’ bow ties, scarves etc.

Tell us about when you launched, how much revenue and how many employees you have

My business is definitely evolving each and every year. From selling a few times a month when I started to 2017’s average of $21,100 a month. But again, that’s an average and some months are way more disproportionate than others. Also, as you grow, you (thankfully) get presented with more and more opportunities and each one costs more and more money. For example, I just opened a boutique in East Hampton. Super exciting, but that obviously wasn’t free! The holidays are by far my best time of year.

I started Lazyjack Press in May of 2012 when I had just graduated from law school. I’m based in NYC, but will probably be moving to San Francisco (where I’m from) this summer. Long story and I’m currently the only employee.

During the launch phase, did you maintain a full-time job? (or even currently)

I did not have a full-time job besides Lazyjack Press (though it probably would have relieved some money stress) because I wanted to devote all of my time and attention to the company. I didn’t want to have to hop on a call with someone and miss an opportunity because I had to do some menial task for someone else’s company.

When I started, I wanted to jump all in. I think that actually has made a huge difference. Trust me, there were plenty of times I questioned things and wondered why I didn’t work at a law firm and get a paycheck every two weeks, but alas.

How did you acquire customers/subscribers/users?

I don’t spend much on digital ads or retargeting. I find the best way to acquire customers is to meet them at pop-ups or events and once they buy or even just feel the quality of the ties, I have pretty dedicated customers for the long term.

My whole concept is everything is made on the best quality material possible so it’s easy to look someone in the eye and explain my product to them and then, in turn, have them appreciate it. I do want to look into more digital ad stuff and marketing, but so far it’s been pretty organic.

What software/platforms/tools have you utilized since launch?

I use Shopify and absolutely love it. I don’t think of myself as particularly technologically inclined so it’s easy, efficient and looks sort of sleek. Also, the Shopify gurus are amazing! I reach out to them a little too often. Wait, are they paying me for this plug? lol

How did you fund your startup and how do you make money/revenue?

A friend of mine loaned me money to get the first batch of ties from Italy. Bootstrapping became my best friend. Also, I launched in Barney’s exclusively so that definitely helped in the beginning. These days, I find my favourite (and best) revenue comes from pop-ups around the city, particularly during the holidays – although, my wholesale business is also steadily growing.

To date, what have been your biggest challenges as a company? What have you done to overcome them?

My biggest challenge (besides having more money) is getting people to know that Lazyjack Press exists. I was on season 2 of Billion Dollar Buyer (CNBC), which was fun and helped get the word out, but definitely, need more ways for people to know we exist. Social media is obviously great and love when people follow along on my journey and I love getting to know them as well.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? What would you do differently?

I would 10000% do it all again. Lazyjack Press has been the biggest (and greatest) adventure of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I don’t think I would do anything differently because every mistake I made at launch and in the beginning has taught me a lot and been very valuable.

Lastly, if anyone reading this wants to know more about your company… where do we send them?

If you want to learn more, visit our website: Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook: @lazyjackpress
Thanks for reading ☺