Power babes, Florencia Cavallo and Elise Labau Topaloglu, are redefining the category and staying true to their friendship along the way. We chatted with the pair about building their brand and how empowering each other has been a major key to their success.
Where are you from?
FC: I was born in Argentina and lived there until my family moved to Australia when I was 12. Australia was home until my husband and I moved to New York four years ago. The background that I identify with really depends on my mood – some days I feel like an Aussie, other days I’m a total New Yorker.
ELT: I grew up in St. Barths in the Caribbean, and I spent my summers in Mallorca, Spain. I’m very much a water baby, and you could say my parents were islanders and were already chasing the sun. I didn’t realize how unique this was until I was older.
What brought you two together?
FC: I’m a big believer that people come into your life for a reason. Working in fashion PR was incredibly demanding and involved long hours, so you quickly become close with the people you work with. Elise and I managed different teams and while we never worked together, we sat near each other and immediately became best (desk) buddies, bonding over our love of travel, chic getaway outfits and all things summer. When we first met, I never would have imagined that she would become my business partner, and I’m so glad she did!
ELT: Florencia and I met while working at a New York PR agency. We both worked with a mix of fashion and accessories clients, and worked side by side there. We were in charge of different clients and our own teams. We became fast friends when we realized how much we had in common in the way we were brought up. We were always planning our next sunny escape and bonded over the lack of options to shop for great summer pieces. We found there was too little available at brick-and-mortar in the winter months, and on the flip side there was way too much online. We longed for a single destination where we could shop for our summer essentials.
At what point did you decide to build Golden Edit together? What did that process look like?
FC: My life has always revolved around travel: dreaming of exotic places, booking a trip, counting down to it, and finally packing that vacay suitcase. Travel inspires me so much, and on my flights back to “real life”, I would start mentally writing down the next destination, and so the next count down would begin. When I met Elise, I quickly realized her desire to chase summer year-round was as strong as mine, and we were both passionate about creating a life we didn’t need a vacation from.
ELT: It happened very organically. Through our travels and social media, we were discovering incredible brands that we instantly fell in love with, but many were not available for purchase here in the US. So it started with us approaching these brands with the concept for Golden Edit. Once we’d had that first round of conversations (which were incredibly positive and motivating), we sort of looked at each other and realized: “OK, now we have to build this…”
What advice could you give on working closely with a friend and balancing a personal and professional relationship?
FC: I look at it very much like a marriage: love and respect each other, be open, transparent and communicate as much as possible – communication is KEY. Make sure you’re aligned on the brand vision and values from the beginning. Put the business first and laugh along the way – life doesn’t have to be so serious!
ELT: We are so lucky to be doing this together. It’s so important to recognize what your partner brings to the table, and there’s so much that stems from the exchange between the two of us. It’s all in the conversation, the ying and the yang, it’s crucial. It makes the whole thing human. I would not have it any other way.
What are the biggest challenges of being your own boss and how does your partner-in-crime help you?
FC: While being your own boss can be incredibly rewarding, it’s not easy. It’s a rollercoaster where the highs are really high, and the lows can be very low. It requires a lot of hard work, self-motivation and dedication, and there’s little room for self-doubt. Every day brings different challenges and I’m so glad we’re in this adventure together.
ELT: At the beginning, setting your own guardrails can be challenging. Being your own boss means you decide what success looks like, and you are responsible for paving the way to get there. It requires an incredible amount of self-discipline. Having a partner forces you to snap out of certain ruts and in overcoming challenges. It also forces you to stay focused. It’s a lot harder to default on something you’ve committed to with someone else. You cannot waste time being introspective when there are two of you.
How do you divide up the work between the two of you, and how have your roles changed over time?
FC: We each have unique strengths that complement each other, and it’s important to listen to what they are, and celebrate those qualities. That’s the beauty of being a duo – two brains are better than one!
ELT: We realized rather quickly that there were tasks each of us gravitated towards. That said, we still do a lot together and remain very flexible with what needs to be tackled and prioritized.
What about your partner inspires you?
FC: Elise is a forward-thinker and I’m constantly inspired by her ability to look at things objectively and from different perspectives, which is so important when building a business. She’s a total go-getter while also being thoughtful. She’s incredibly intelligent and analytical. She has a way of looking at things that truly blows my mind.
ELT: Florencia is incredibly tenacious and does not take no for an answer. And so much of that tenacity and perseverance is crucial in growing a business.
How do you motivate each other?
FC: It’s impossible to stay motivated all the time; sometimes you have one of those days that kick your ass. When one of us is feeling down or uninspired, the other one is always there to step in with a pep talk. Also, with cocktails and arm flex emojis – you got this!
ELT: There’s an incredible sense of accountability that stems from our partnership, and that in and out of itself is pretty motivating. And we’re always in touch. When we’re not working side by side, we’re usually texting and sharing live updates. We share what we’re excited about, but also what we’re worried about. It’s like a great balancing act.
What do you love doing together?
FC: My husband jokes that I have a second marriage – my Golden Edit wife! Elise and I spend a lot of time together and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Business aside, it’s important to enjoy the downtime and plan fun things like taking a great barre class together or grabbing a cocktail to celebrate milestones. There isn’t always time for it when you’re running a business... but we try!
ELT: There’s so much planning that goes into running and operating Golden Edit. That planning is what brings us together the most and where we get to be most creative. And once we’re clear on the path forward, we’re great at dividing and conquering.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from the other?
FC: Don’t take no for an answer and look at the big picture.
ELT: To be flexible while staying the course and to be true to yourself with what you set out to do.
What is your process when approaching your creative work?
FC: “The limit does not exist”! Also, I’m very visual and have an unhealthy obsession for mood boards. I have a mood board for everything!
ELT: I’ve learned a lot from Florencia when it comes to the creative process. And, yes, a mood board is always a great start!
When do you feel the most empowered?
FC: When we smash our goals together!
ELT: In the early stages of building a business, it’s all about the small wins. Every little bit of progress empowers you to keep working towards the bigger picture.