Our second “Sunday Spotlight” feature is clutch – literally! Loni Edwards, a fellow Cornell grad (GO BIG RED!) is the definition of a mover & shaker. After graduating from Harvard Law and landing a dream gig at a law firm, Loni decided to put her law degree, business acumen, fashion sense and creativity to use and launched emPOWERED: uber-chic purses that charge your phone. GENIUS.
Below, Loni talks fashion, startups, mini Frenchies, and more!
bk&leo: First of all, emPOWERED bags are brilliant. What made you take the leap from practicing law to starting up your own fashion company?
Loni: Thank you! The excitement around creating something new, starting a company from scratch, drew me in. emPOWERED, specifically, came out of a personal need. I made the first prototype because my phone battery never lasted a full day and I was tired of stressing about losing phone power. The existing solutions on the market were inconvenient and cumbersome, so I set out to create my ideal solution – a luxe leather bag with built-in battery power to charge your phone and pretty much any other portable electronic device on the go in style.
After wearing the first emPOWERED bag around the city and getting incredibly positive feedback from friends and editors I got the feeling I was on to something good, so I started getting everything together to officially launch the company.
bk&leo: What’s the biggest challenge you faced in starting up your own company?
Loni: Designing and then seamlessly combining both the fashion and technological elements of emPOWERED together without sacrificing on either element was definitely the biggest challenge starting out.
We had to work with a variety of different kinds of suppliers and factories around the world and do multiple levels of testing and quality control to make sure everything came together properly.
bk&leo: What’s the most exhilarating business moment you’ve had so far?
Loni: Selling out in 48 hours post launch!
A lot of time and effort went into getting ready for the big launch, and I was very nervous that morning about how sales would go. As the day went on and the numbers kept getting higher and higher I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had to take a walk around the block to stop shaking from the excitement!
bk&leo: Do you think you’ll ever go back to practicing law?
Loni: Not in the traditional sense, but I deal with legal issues on a regular basis. I’ve found having a law degree to be a great benefit in running emPOWERED.
bk&leo: Tell us about Chloe!
Loni: Ahh my little love! Chloe, aka @Chloe_TheMiniFrenchie, is an Instaceleb, the emPOWERED office pet, and just the cutest thing ever! She’s half the size of a normal frenchie, but has double the wardrobe. She loves making new friends and is an avid traveler – she even made it out of the country before her first birthday!
bk&leo: Tell us about any causes that are near and dear to your heart!
Loni: Since Chloe came into my life, the French Bulldog Rescue Network has become a near and dear cause. Frenchies are great dogs, but they’re also prone to a lot of health issues.
Chloe is working hard to raise money for the network. If you enter code “Chloe” when ordering a BarkBox subscription, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the network AND you’ll get 10% off your order. Win win.
bk&leo: What’s your favorite piece of bk&leo jewelry?
Loni: The Cold Out There earrings in rose gold with diamonds are my favorite – they’re so delicate and unique. Plus, rose gold and diamonds are a winning combo 😉