|Mina Hernandez, Creator of Fasheners|
1. In a former career you were a paralegal. How long were you a paralegal, and in what areas did you practice?
I’ve been working in the legal field for more than 11 years and received my NALA certification in 2004. I’ve worked in the areas of medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability and white-collar crime. In 2007, I made the switch from the corporate law firm setting to working in academics where I utilize my paralegal talents. As of 2010, I have been working as the sole Contracts Analyst for The University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix campus. The academic world has opened new doors for me and has inspired me to acquire a higher level of education. I am one semester away from graduating with a Master of Administration degree.
2. How did you make the shift from paralegal to entrepreneur?
Honestly, I didn’t switch. I’ve transferred my paralegal skills to become a self-taught emerging entrepreneur. It’s amazing the knowledge base we have as paralegals that we can take advantage of in becoming an entrepreneur. You must be dedicated to research, time deadlines, have strong organization skills, and strong verbal and written communication skills to succeed. I wouldn’t be where I am now without my years of work as a paralegal. In fact, it is through my paralegal experience that I have successfully worked through the process to establish Fasheners as a registered Trademark. In fact, I received my certificate this past October 2011 certifying Fasheners® as a registered Trademark!
3. What inspired you to create the first Fashener, http://www.fasheners.com/?
I lost 30 lbs. two years ago. Although thrilled at my new body size, none of my clothes fit. Like most paralegals, I work in an office that requires me to look professionally polished. Like many others during this poor economy, I couldn’t afford to replace my clothes. Fasheners were born out my need to alter my old wardrobe to my new body size. I began embellishing my Fasheners with my favorite embellishments such as Swarovski crystals and pearls, natural stones, and cameos. I wear Fasheners almost every day, not just as a fashion fix-it, but to embellish my clothing as well.
4. What are the best uses for Fasheners in working wardrobes?
My magnetic Fasheners have taken DIY mending to a whole new level! The magnetic Fasheners eliminate having to pierce delicate fabrics. You can also use magnetic Fasheners to accentuate your waistline on a shapeless blouse, secure delicate scarves, and embellish lapels, hats and even shoes!
5. What is your favorite way to wear a Fashener?
I love to wear my Fasheners to secure those deep v-neck tops and wrap dresses we all worry about wearing to the office. Living in the hot climate of Phoenix, I hate layering clothes and buying camis to conceal what I don’t want to show. Fasheners solve those issues by fastening my fashion. The money I would have spent on camis and specialty bras can now be spent on other things – – like shoes!
6. What is your favorite style of Fashener currently available?
My favorite style, which happens to be my most popular selling Fashener, is the Crystal Clear Chessboard Swarovski Crystal Magnetic Fashener ($9.50). This faceted chessboard Swarovski crystal captures the light from various angles, thereby providing maximum color-play: http://www.etsy.com/listing/77195387/blinging-crystal-clear-swarovski-crystal
7. What is the most creative way one of your customers has used a Fashener?
I received an amazing testimonial from one of my customers who recently had a baby and to save money, was using Fasheners to reshape her pregnancy clothes:
Fasheners provide DIY mending for quick easy fashion fixes, thereby making tailoring more affordable than taking clothes to a seamstress or tailor.
8. What is your favorite fashion accessory? (Besides Fasheners, of course.)
I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to jewelry, so I love to splurge on shoes and purses.
9. What is your favorite Etsy shop? (Besides Fasheners by Classy Chica, of course.)
I just love the vintage clothing that Etsy has to offer. My favs are: KathyAndTheHappiness, JojosRetroandVintage, violetvillevintage, gogovintage and ButterToastBoutique.
10. Will we be seeing more creative fashion fixes from you in the future?
Oh most definitely! I plan to collaborate with a fashion stylist on how-to-videos on the many ways (and new ways) Fasheners can revolutionize fashion fix-its and styles. In addition, I am also currently working on a Fasheners winter collection, which will be launched by 12/1.
11. Any words of wisdom to my readers thinking about making the leap from legal professional to business owner?
Never be afraid to ask for feedback. In order to grow, you need to be open-minded and invite others to share their opinions. It is through the feedback that I received that inspired me to expand my Fasheners line to include magnetic Fasheners. The magnetic Fasheners have super strength pull forces ranging from 3 – 15 lbs., which eliminate having to pierce delicate fabrics.
Network & Collaborate. I believe it is important to welcome opportunities to network and collaborate with others in related business areas. Not only does this provide exposure to your business, but at the same time it enables you to support others that are trying to succeed in growing their businesses as well.
Pay it forward. Whether it’s your time as a volunteer, gift-in-kind donations, or monetary donations make it a point to find a charity that you can support. A portion of my proceeds goes to Dress for Success-Phoenix. Their mission is to promote and empower disadvantaged women in our community so that they may thrive in work and in life. This is something I am very passionate about.
On a final note, it is extremely important to be diligent, be patient and be YOU.
You can also like Fasheners on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Fasheners. Look for future Practical Paralegalism career dressing posts, styling with Mina’s terrific Fasheners!