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How She Got There: Erica Zohar, Founder of teeology.com

Name: Erica Zohar
Age: 41 (even though I feel 21!)
Job Title and Description: Co-founder and chief creative officer at teeology.com
College/Major: University of Miami / English and History
Website: www.teeology.com
Twitter Handle: @teeology, @ericazohar

Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Erica Zohar: It’s very exciting to be a part of a real .com start-up and to be surrounded by an office full of incredibly smart and talented people. My job is one that oversees the creative aspects of the business, from working with our curators to decide which tees should go up for vote on the site, to meeting with potential partners (brands, non-profits, etc.) for collaborative projects. There is not enough time in the day; the attraction to a start-up is that no day is a typical day.

HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
I’m an entrepreneur at heart. It all started in seventh grade when I used to sell Blow Pops in between classes. I used to buy a big box of Blow Pops for under $5, sell them at 25 cents apiece, and clear a $10 profit before lunchtime every day. The minute I started making my “own money”, I was hooked.

HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
I would have focused on building my own direct distribution channels (retail stores and/or direct mail) earlier rather than building a business through other distribution channels like department stores and other retailers. Back in 1995 when I started in the apparel industry, building your own brand and having a direct connection to the consumer was not as possible as it is today. We did not have the Internet and the ability to reach the customer as easily.

HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
My husband, Lior. He has been my partner both in life and business for the past 17 years. I could have never built such a great life both professionally and personally without him.

HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
My dad is known for his perspective on life, amazing quotes, and words of wisdom. One that was specifically meaningful to me when I first started in business was, “Learn how to make a dollar, do it a million times…that’s how you become a millionaire.” — Dr. Herbert Wertheim

HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
Maybe it is me hitting 40, but I don’t look at mistakes as a negative thing. When you are an entrepreneur, mistakes are actually an important part of helping you recognize what is working and not working in your business. I feel, for the most part, I have not made any one big mistake in my professional career. I’m very conservative by nature and believe in baby steps when it comes to growing a business, so I never let a mistake become a “big” one.

HC: What is the best part of your job?
Hands down, it would be working in a team environment. We have such young, smart, and talented people working with us to grow Teeology. I feel excited and privileged to be working side by side with each of them.

HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
Someone who can wear many hats and has a positive “can do” attitude. I really do not like job titles; I think they are incredibly restrictive. Business now, more than ever, is a collaborative experience.

HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
When I was 20-something, there was no such thing as the Internet. Everyone can be an entrepreneur now—It’s the American dream on steroids. Have a personal business card made (you can go to vistaprint.com and get them there for free). Even if it just has your name on it, email address, and cell phone number, it is the key to building your brand… you. When you have a card, people take you more seriously. Have a card on you at all times, because you never know if your future business partner, customer, or vendor is around the corner.

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Gennifer is the Branded Content Specialist for Her Campus Media. In her role, she manages all sponsored content across platforms including editorial, social, and newsletters. As one of HC's first-ever writers, she previously wrote about career, college life, and more as a national writer during her time at Hofstra University. She also helped launch the How She Got There section, where she interviewed inspiring women in various industries. She lives in New York City.
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