Interview with Marina, Founder of Girly Geeky Clothing
Interview with Marina,
Founder of Girly Geeky Clothing
Interview by Terra Olsen
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Marina Eichenberg. I am the Girly Geek. Currently I live in Issaquah and work as a Toddler teacher. I spend my days making messes (but mostly cleaning them up) and love it! It’s so much fun laughing and being the biggest nerd I wanna be, cause their not going to judge – they’re just two. I feed off of their enthusiasm for life! They make me feel proud to be who I am. I feel like I can (and should) do what I love. That is all being a geek is. If you Google the definition of “geek” (and disregard the outdated, stigmatized definition) what you get is: A person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest. Everyone should be passionate about something. Let out your inner geek.
I grew up on the Island of Hawai’i, also known as the Big Island. I fell in love with the ocean early on. It is one thing that motivates me and give me energy. But… there were times I just wanted to get away! After all, I was stuck on a rock (it was a big one, four hours round trip) but small and boring none the less. As a teenager, I wanted to go to concerts and to the mall, but we didn’t have those kinds of things.
So, I planned my escape. Not 24 hours after my high school graduation, I was on a plane headed to Europe with one of my best friends! At the end of the summer I began college in the town of Santa Cruz, California. I graduated with a degree in Psychology. Then moved to Seattle.
It wasn’t till I got to Seattle that the stereotypical geek in me came out a bit more. Looking for some direction, I went back to a little interest I had had in the eighth grade: HTML (the only language I know besides English). I began designing sites in middle school, but did not delve into it until I moved to Washington where I attended Bellevue College Web Design Certificate Program.
Another discovery: Nextix Instant Queue. My most recent tv series binge has been Doctor Who. I don’t know what took me so long! Don’t tell me what happens – I’m not done yet!
Tell me about your company.
Girly Geek Clothing is a an online e commerce website specializing mainly in clothing and accessories for geeky women, with some stuff for the gents and the little ones, too! So, we basically have gear for the whole geekin’ family. 🙂 We have mostly tshirts, sweats, costumes, jewelry, and intimates.
Currently, you can also find us at the Fremont Sunday Market for the Spring and Summer of 2013! Hopefully more places and date to come!
Where did the idea for Girly Geek Clothing come from?
My boyfriend, best friend, and now business partner, Billy Brodbeck and I were both in school for web design. He was always teasing me (in a good way, of course) about being such a geek. He, being the gentleman he is 😉 thought it would be nice to buy me some funny geeky underwear. To his dismay, he was unsuccessful in finding a good selection, or anything at all for that matter. So, he broadened his search and found that most geeky clothing is designed for men – no one specialized in women geek gear.
What inspired you to start Girly Geek Clothing?
So, Billy came to me about it. He told me what he was trying to do and the conclusions that he’d come to. It was not long before our gears were working. We were already in school to design web sites. Billy was even looking for a site to use for his final project. It was clear we needed to do something. So, we began building the ideas, the site, researching what it would take to get a clothing company going.
How did you go about starting your company?
We started by converting our spare bedroom into our office. That worked for building the website, but then we started getting products in, requiring more space to work. That’s when when we converted our garage to business space and started producing our products in that space.
With the help of many friends, in addition to adding another member to our team, we have started branching out to markets as well as our website.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Everything in life in challenging. Sometimes the best things don’t come without a fight. (That’s what I keep telling myself.) Almost a year has gone by since the idea was born. I would say the hardest thing for us has been the lack of employees and man power. What we thought would be a little idea, something to do on the side, has turned into a big idea with more ideas busting at the seams. With just the original three people (two of us still working full time jobs) we have only been able to get so much done, not to mention the insufficient funding. But, we all just keep on truckin’ to get the job done.
What top three skills do you think an entrepreneur needs to be successful?
The 3 P’s: Patience, perseverance, and people skills.
Where do you want to take Girly Geek Clothing in the future?
I’d like to in some way, help inspire smart women and encourage women in the sciences, mathematics, technology, and everything. If you can dream it, you can do it. As a retail company, I’d like to build an entire brand. I’d like to see our products sold in stores, offering clothing and accessories for the the working nerd, the nerdy mom, and the geek in training.
What advice would you give other aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself. Love yourself.