q&a with lola viggi of italian collective


As we're wrapping up March, which is Women's History Month, I have been thinking a lot about the women in my life. My mom, aunts, friends, mentors, coworkers, etc. who have influenced my life, and I'm grateful for the way I've been molded by each of them in both small ways and big. In the theme of a month about women, I wanted to share a little bit about one of my favorite San Francisco entrepreneurs, Lola Viggi. Read on for a Q&A with Lola below.

I met Lola a couple years back through a mutual friend, and absolutely loved her style and confidence from the get go (and obviously her amazing Italian accent). She's a co-founder of Italian Collective, a women's only, online tailoring service specializing in durable, handmade in Italy, bespoke fit apparel. Once I saw their shirts, I had to have one. Classic & simple, exactly the style I love, whether it's for work or for the weekend with a pair of boyfriend jeans, I needed one of their shirts. I asked my mom to get one for me for Christmas in 2015 and I was a beta tester when the company was just getting off the ground.

I remember Lola coming over to my apartment in San Francisco to take my measurements as well as returning to hand deliver the shirt to me, which was brought back from Italy on the airplane with her mom. It's one of my favorite shirts to this day - you can just tell it's made from such high quality materials and it fits like a glove, made personally for me.

I recently collaborated with Lola to help her shoot some of their items from IC's new shirt dress line, and be featured in their #thewayICthings campaign (see my contribution here)! I got to try on a few of their newest pieces and am IN LOVE with the shirt dresses.

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Wearing the Italian Collective Apron Shirt Dress

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Wearing the Italian Collective Romance Shirt Dress

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In the spirit of Women's History Month & female entrepreneurship, I asked Lola some questions below to inspire YOU:

Photo by Thomas Heinser

1. What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to other female entrepreneurs?

A couple of months ago my mother said, “Good things take time.”

It was during a tense conversation. I was feeling like nothing was going right, that we were on a road to nowhere, and I was poking holes in our entire process. She definitely calmed me down when she said that. She reminded me that starting a business is, more than anything, a learning process - especially when it comes to Italian Collective (a business that my mother, sister and I are trying to launch with zero funding and not very much expertise). If nothing else, we are definitely learning every single week.

I think we live in a culture, especially in the Bay Area, which is pretty cutthroat. It’s easy to feel like, well if it’s not up and running and making millions of dollars in the first years then chuck it. Deep breaths, and carry on. Every mistake or hiccup is a good opportunity to try something different, and persevere in your idea. If you ever get down on yourself, listen to NPR’s podcast “How I Built This.” It’s energizing and inspiring to hear other startup stories and their early stage beginning. For example, did you know that Crate and Barrel was started by a 23 year-old couple with a passion for European designs in Northbrook, Illinois - with $17,000 borrowed dollars?

2. What was the hardest part about getting started and initially launching Italian Collective and how did you overcome the challenges?