The F Project: What was the lightbulb moment that made you start your company?
Hannah Fastov: I had just graduated from college, moved to Manhattan, and started working in the fashion industry. I was going to the gym, work, and out with friends and colleagues. Life was great but I could not find a bag that could handle all my early morning gym stuff and keep it separated from everything I needed during the day, and then allow me to transition gracefully to post-work fun! One hectic morning the strap of one of my three bags got stuck in the Number 6-Train turnstile at 33rd Street, launching my salad onto the platform. The furry subway dwellers got a meal. I got an idea!
TFP: What makes you want to jump out of bed every day?
HF: Knowing that I am going to an office with the amazing team I have built to create a product I am extremely passionate about. Also, the hopes of seeing a stranger carrying a Go Dash Dot bag :)
TFP: What about your past career or life experience prepared you for entrepreneurship? What was a total shock?
HF: I worked for two apparel companies, both on the accessories team. At each company, the accessories team was small, which allowed me to have a hand in many aspects of the business, from merchandising to designing and development to production. I was always working on a million projects and never just completed a task and handed it off to the next team. From these experiences, I learned many important skills (communication, time management, project management, cost negotiations with factories, importing and exporting) that are crucial to the life of an entrepreneur. What I did not think about was that I would be running a business. Sounds silly I know, but when I first thought of my idea and decided to launch Go Dash Dot, I approached it as a designer, not considering I would be responsible for employees, a P&L, a balance sheet, budgets, sales projections... all of which were very intimidating to me. Truthfully, I had never taken a business class and as an art history/fine arts major, I hadn't taken a math class since high school and thought my days with numbers were over. Yes, I design and sell one of my favorite things in the world, handbags, but at the end of the day, I could be selling anything and the numbers are what’s important (at least to my investors). That was a shock!
TFP: What makes your product special/different?
HF: Go Dash Dot bags are the answer to the very real 'bag lady' problem most women face at one point or another during their lives. As multifaceted, on-the-go women, we need a bag that can keep up with us and Go Dash Dot bags do just that, plus they look great! From my survey of over 100 active women, I learned women hated when their shoes were just floating around in their bag and many would wrap them in a plastic bag. I created a separate shoe compartment so your shoes wouldn't have to touch your other stuff or even be seen. I also learned many women had fallen victim to a water bottle opening in their bag, drowning papers and electronics. I created a bottle holder to ensure it is held upright and away from all the goods. Many women noted they carried their laptops everywhere and wanted a secure place for it, hence the padded laptop section. For me, having a machine washable laundry bag was key because I had an unfortunate situation in which my dirty sports bra was attached to my laptop that I pulled out during a meeting. There are many times in which women run out for lunch or go to dinner and just need phone, wallet, keys. Our snap-in/snap-out pouch is perfect for those essentials.
I have grown the collection to include several silhouettes, sizes, and colors, but all of our bags are thoughtfully designed for a life on the go.
TFP: What’s your mantra?
HF: Go Big or Go Home!
TFP: Why did you join The F Project?
HF: I wanted to join The F Project because I have come to understand firsthand the power of SHE. As a young entrepreneur and business owner, I found myself turning to fellow female entrepreneurs for support, guidance, and comfort as I launched and began building my company. I am honored and proud to be part of this community of strong women and excited to continue supporting and empowering one another.