MARIA GILFOYLE, FOUNDER THE POWER THREAD - 5QS: A Q&A BETWEEN TWO WOMEN WHO'VE STARTED THEIR OWN BUSINESS
MARIA GILFOYLE, FOUNDER THE POWER THREAD
Maria is a recent college grad and founder of The Power Thread. She founded The Power Thread while studying Marketing, Design, and Entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a lover of fashion, creativity, communication, and empowering people. Scrolling through social media, she felt there wasn’t enough authenticity, and she wanted to bring transparency to social media while empowering women. The Power Thread is connecting women and redefining power through storytelling. She was born and raised in Chicago and has worked with designers, artists, and businesses in Chicago, St. Louis, New York, London, and Budapest. She is now living in New York City and loves meeting people and learning about art, fashion, and sustainability in her free time.
1. Looking back on your first job, what skill did you use that you still use today?
My first job was a summer internship at Zac Posen following my freshman year of college. During that job, I learned communication skills and how to be efficient. It is always important to ask questions and be to the point when you communicate. If you are unsure about a project you are working on, ask about it. I also learned to volunteer for projects and to tell my manager if I had a new idea for the company. Often it is easy as a new employee or intern to wait and be told what to do, but you are hired to make an impact and learn. Communication is key. Second, I learned to be efficient. I found at internships if I did a project well in a reasonable amount of time, I would gain trust to work on more advanced projects. That doesn’t mean rush. It means take your time to make amazing work, but be focused, and get it done.
My first full-time job is my current job! I am in the Rotational Management Program at Gap Inc. It has been an amazing experience learning about all of the Gap Inc. brands and different parts of the business.
2. Was there a defining moment that made you start your business?
Yes, during my senior year of college, I started looking for Instagrams that shared stories from everyday women and were inspirational. I noticed that a lot of influencers or popular Instagrams post content that does not necessary help or build confidence for others. Often Instagram does not share the full story. I wanted to create a platform to inspire young women like myself. That is why we share stories from entrepreneurs and everyday women. We ask them about their career, the good and the bad, and what it means for them to be powerful. Our content is free and available to inspire anyone!
3. What was the first step you took to launch your brand?
First, I started thinking about a name that would pull the story together. I wanted something that would inspire women to share their power. After I had a name, I made a logo and worked on colors and branding for the website. I then reached out to a friend at a Website company to help me code the platform. I also took time to read about social media and web design. I think it is important to read about what you are doing and make sure you understand it first.
4. What is the greatest lesson learned in your first year in business?
The biggest thing I learned is the importance of having a strong team. There is no way one person can run any kind of business. It is important to have a team, trust them, and allow them to help the company grow with you. The more people who are passionate and working on a start-up, the better it will perform and ultimately grow. It is still our first year! The Power Thread is only about six months old.
5. What is your best piece of advice for your fellow Female Founder?
Collaborate and network. There are so many smart, creative female founders with amazing brands and companies. It is important to help each other and grow together. We have made some of our best connections through helping and supporting other female founded companies.
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