3 Day Startup explores the journey of student entrepreneurs from all over the world in the ongoing blog series Born in Dorms. Universities are ripe for more innovation: the combination of bright students, open information, and more accessible tech creates an environment where student companies can flourish better than ever before. These highly motivated and driven students share their successes, failures, and everything in between as they navigate the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship in their local communities. Read more about each student’s unique perspective on building a viable company in and around campus.
Liz Kammel, a MBA student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, co-founded ZipFit Denim with Seth Pychewicz in 2011.
ZipFit Denim helps men find perfect fitting jeans through proprietary technology that matches users to their ideal pair of jeans based on true size and specific fit preferences. Zipfit expedites and simplifies the jeans shopping experience for men who don’t like to shop. Users can buy recommended jeans from ZipFit online or they can visit the flagship retail store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
In fact, one of ZipFit’s biggest milestones was opening its own retail store in October 2012. More impressively, the startup exceeded their projected sales goal by 30 percent. ZipFit was also accepted into the Polsky Accelerator Program in summer 2012 where they received capital, mentorship, and programmatic resources to help drive their business forward.
Kammel says, “The key resources that I found necessary for developing ZipFit and making the idea come to fruition were my friends and family, the Polsky Center, the Booth School of Business network, and last but certainly not least my awesome team.” What started off as an excel spreadsheet that cross-referenced a huge variety of men’s denim brands and fits, became the foundation for building the algorithm that was based off of the body type and fit preferences of over a 100 classmates that she went shopping with.
Aside from the challenges of building a viable tech startup, ZipFit had to overcome the difficulties of maintaining a retail store. Kammel credits her team for keeping her sanity during the process, “Make sure that you have a team built with amazing people that are able to counteract you if go too far in your craziness.”
ZipFit’s goal this year is to continue growing the company and beat their revenue projections. Kammel’s last piece of advice for founders is, “Enough beating around the bush and talking about it. What gives you more credibility is having proof that what you believe in actually works.”
About 3 Day Startup
3 Day Startup (3DS) teaches entrepreneurial skills to university students in an extreme hands-on environment. In addition to supporting budding entrepreneurs, 3DS programs cultivate entrepreneurial communities that contribute to the growth of entrepreneurship ecosystems in the regions surrounding these university programs. This proven program provides students the tools they need to start successful companies. To date, more than 39 companies have come out of 3DS to collectively raise $9.5 million in investor capital and more than a dozen have been accepted to prestigious incubators and accelerators such as Y Combinator and TechStars.
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