UPS Unboxed the Success of Women in Streetwear at HBX

Featuring FRIED RICE founder Maya Wang, Plush skate shop co-founder Alexis Sablone and vice president of marketing at UPS Ayana Green.

Events 
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UPS recently held a special event called “Unboxing Success: A Conversation With the Women of Streetwear” to celebrate small business owners in fashion. The event and panel talk was held at HBX New York and featured designer and creator of FRIED RICE, Maya Wang, pro skateboarder and co-founder of Plush skate shop, Alexis Sablone, and vice president of marketing at UPS, Ayana Green. Hypebeast copywriter Shaun Harris moderated the panel which explored topics such as gender roles in streetwear, challenges in the world of entrepreneurship and the future of business ownership for women.

One of the opening topics revolved around women’s impact within streetwear, a market generally directed more toward men. In response, Sablone presented a perspective that women and non-cis gendered males have had the ability to take and wear whatever they wanted and make it their own. Sablone looked up to fellow skateboarder Jaime Reyes and pop singer Aaliyah as figures who’ve cultivated their own style that wasn’t placed in a gender specific box. Streetwear influences skateboarding and vice-versa, and the sport is where Sablone found her identity which wasn’t bound by gender but more about what she did on a skateboard and how she represented skate culture. FRIED RICE founder, Maya Wang feels that the varying impacts of streetwear transcend gender and are simply a culmination of people impacting the industry with what fits and feels the best for them. The fashion designer hopes that people from all walks of life experience a feeling of excitement and a sense of comfort when they wear FRIED RICE, making it a brand for everyone.

In terms of community, Sablone reflects on how Plush skate shop is able to build a following by engaging with its core consumers through events. “We hold different events at Plush from skate video screenings to pop-up shops,” said Sablone. “Every couple of weeks we do a pop-up with some guys who have a thrift store and that brings in a whole different kind of audience to Plush.” Additionally, social media platforms like Instagram open doors for new audiences to interact with Plush and feel more part of the skating community.

Expanding on communication and consumer engagement, Wang feels that e-commerce and social media platforms make it more possible for entrepreneurs to have direct access to their targeted audience. For her, it’s easier to freely design and craft one garment and share it with her audience to gauge and see if it’s worth producing and selling. Having that ability saves entrepreneurs like her time and resources that might be spent on traditional marketing.

UPS is the connective tissue that helps small businesses run efficiently these days, allowing entrepreneurs like Sablone and Wang to scale up through the company’s innovations in logistics and shipping. Vice President of Marketing, Ayana Green works to make sure that UPS is also giving more women small business owners the tools to succeed through programs like its “Women Exporters Program.” The initiative is meant to help women entrepreneurs reach beyond domestic markets, tapping various communities and expanding to consumer markets around the world.

After the panel, attendees had the opportunity to talk to Sablone, Wang and Green on various topics concerning entrepreneurship. Guests looking to start or grow their own businesses were able to ask panelists one-on-one, about designs, marketing, and even product logistics.

UPS’s “Unboxing Success: A Conversation with the Women of Streetwear” at HBX provided fun and education for the creative community. Music for the night was provided by DJ Keys as guests enjoyed good conversation, dancing and light bites.

Scroll through the images above to see what went down at the event. For more information on UPS’s initiatives for women entrepreneurs like UPS Ignite, visit this link.

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