Elevator Pitch: How Two Live / TWOOBS

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Jess and Stef Dadon, founders of How Two Live and TWOOBS.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Ours is not your average startup story. In 2012 we started a blog called How Two Live, where we'd write posts to each other daily and share our bold and unique fashion choices, as we were living on opposite sides of the world. Our online diary quickly turned into a global fashion platform, as our readership grew to hundreds of thousands, and we were approached by major international brands like Michael Kors, ASOS, and Nasty Gal to work as ambassadors and promote their products. In addition to working with other brands, last year we decided to launch our own products, leveraging off the loyal following we've built. We wrote our first book #HowTwoLive, and in February this year we launched TWOOBS, a line of cool and comfortable sandals.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

Building an audience through How Two Live before launching a product has been hugely valuable; before we even thought about what TWOOBS would look like we spent a lot of time learning about our customer and what they like, and when it came time to launch we already had a tribe of followers eagerly waiting to buy our products. We're also big on bootstrapping and finding ways to market on next to no budget; one of our most successful stunts to date was launching TWOOBS earlier this year at New York Fashion Week for $500.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

There are so many challenges everyday in running a business! The biggest one for us at the moment is probably juggling our time between How Two Live and TWOOBS. They're sister businesses but also each require different things from us; with How Two Live we're out on shoots all day and in front of the camera, while with TWOOBS we're running from phone calls to meetings and completely behind the scenes. It can be a struggle to commit the necessary time to both, but the fact that we completely love what we do really helps, and we could never do it without an incredible team behind us.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

Starting off already having a following and major connections in the fashion industry has given us a massive leg up. Our product offering is also completely unique, as we offer footwear that's both fashionable and comfortable at an affordable price.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

It's a close one between Instagram and Snapchat. Social media is so important to what we do, it's something a lot of businesses still don't understand properly, but creating engaging content and interacting with customers on a daily basis is crucial to the success of pretty much any customer-facing business these days.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

We were recently on a startup program in Israel called Mamilla, and we were lucky enough to meet with some pretty incredible entrepreneurs and startups over there, including Mobileye who created driverless car technology, and inventor of the USB stick Dov Moran. The one piece of advice we heard over and over was that the key to success is collaboration, and this is something that we live by. Working with like-minded brands and influencers has been the biggest source of growth for both How Two Live and TWOOBS.

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