For every woman who ever had a little girl dream of growing up and going into business with her best friend so that she could work with her and be by her side everyday, Lisa Lazarus and Lainie Goldstein of pheel are an inspirational pair of friends who made that dream come true.
Lazarus and Goldstein have been “best of friends” since they were teenagers and “always discussed a dream both shared about starting a business together that involved fashion.” The pair said, “We were just waiting for the right time in our lives to follow our dreams.”
The right time came when the women, both mothers of young sons, wanted to merge their love of fashion and fitness with their real life chasing after young children. Their combined education, fashion, and exercise experiences made them naturals for developing fashion-forward fitness essentials. Lazarus is a NYU Stern Business School graduate and Goldstein studied education at the University of Maryland. Lazarus worked 20 years at New York’s top fashion talent agency and Goldstein is a U.S.T.A. 4.5 tennis player. Both are fitness enthusiasts who love skiing, hiking, yoga, Pilates and tennis.
The pair started their business through “daily discussions at a coffee shop.” They described their start up process, “The first thing we spoke about was the name and immediately trademarked it. We then made sure we could get the website that coincided with our company name. That summer, we spoke to many influential people in the fashion business who shared their experiences with us. Finally, we hit the streets of NYC to find fabrics, pattern makers, manufacturers, website designers etc. We attended fabric trade shows and visited manufacturers all over the tri-state area. It was grueling yet empowering year.”
One thing unchallenged by pheel is their friendship. Where some women in business would advise that going into business with a bestie is potentially damaging to the friendship, Goldstein and Lazarus have grown closer. “We get to see each other daily,” they said. “We have grown even closer as we ride the wave of success. There is really no downside to our partnership.”
What’s their advice to women who are considering launching a business with a friend? “You must TRUST each other. You also must be negotiable people and respect one another’s opinions. It is very similar to a marriage. Having known each other for so many years, there were no ghosts in the closet.”
Lazarus and Goldstein share most of the responsibilities of designing their fashions and running pheel, however, they do divvy up jurisdiction of some things. Lazarus takes care of the bookkeeping and importing, while Goldstein manages the computer activities and social media.