Longtime friends Joe Losardo, Vanessa Bailey and Michael Castellano are putting their necks out for their new business. The trio wanted to start their own company, Laetly, and decided on scarves.
As Vanessa says, "A scarf is something that’s close to your face in the winter. It’s essentially like your blanket outside in the world."
The trio, however, ran into one small problem: they had no experience.
Joe remembers what it was like when they first started out: "We were like, we should do it. Maybe we can do it. We’re going to do it, and then about a year ago we were like we’re actually doing!"
Here in Ridgewood, Queens, they're doing it with a lot of help from Robert and Hatice Szantos, the owners of Simply Knitting Mills, which specializes in manufacturing fine knitwear.
Hatice is used to more experienced clients, but experience isn't everything. "They were so excited, even if they had no idea what knitwear is," Hatice said. So, she took them on as clients.
The trio learned a lot very quickly, and used their experience in marketing and graphic design to launch their online scarf brand Laetly, with 12 styles, all under $100.
Vanessa thinks being a New Yorker is what inspired her. "You sort of make a pact with all other New Yorkers that you're in it together, and that's why we wanted to do it here."
For the team, working days and nights, humor is what gets them through it, considering this is still a side gig. They have jobs in Manhattan and travel to Queens constantly.
Next, they hope to expand to all season scarves.