July 20 2017

Behind The Brand – Fifth & Ninth

Fifth and Ninth are the streets in New York City that boarder the fashion district. At Fifth and Ninth their mission is to bring you the fashion between the streets and create trendy fashion products to provide you with accessories that go beyond functionality, reflecting your personal style and taste. 

What inspired you to start Fifth and Ninth?

After throwing myself into the concrete jungle, from spending my entire life in a very small town in Rhode Island, there were a lot of days that I worried I wouldn’t be able to compete with the Carrie Bradshaw’s of New York City. As I climbed to unimaginable facets of the fashion industry, I started realizing that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I made the tough, and risky decision to leave a promising, but unfulfilling position to create something that actually embodied all of the things that made me fall in love with fashion in the first place – Fifth & Ninth.

Where did you get the name Fifth and Ninth?

“Fifth & Ninth” comes from the 5th and 9th Avenues in New York City. They are the avenues that border the fashion district. In between these two avenues, trends are born and the expression of self and creativity are more powerful than anywhere else.

How did you build your team?

After starting Fifth & Ninth, I was asked by former professors to come back to where it all started, and speak to girls who sit in the seats I once sat in. After months of speaking in several different classes, I had met some of the most passionate, talented, and creative girls. I decided to prioritize my University as an outlet for finding talent. My team now consists of all strong, intelligent, females that have attended or currently attend the University of Rhode Island Fashion Program. Not only do they contribute immensely to our brand, but it also offers them the opportunity to gain industry experience while attending school, which is something that wasn’t available when I was a student.

How do you come up with your product ideas?

Fifth & Ninth’s parent company has been in the tech accessory industry for close to 20 years. It was a no-brainer for us to lead with our strongest foot, and launch this brand with fast fashion, trend-focused phone cases. From there we added our most popular product, the Beauty Bank. The Beauty Bank was designed to serve three must-have accessories in a girl’s bag, all in one product. A compact mirror for check-ups and reapplying makeup, a vanity light for nighttime use , and a portable charger to keep your phone powered all day and night long.

Do you think what you studied in college prepared you for entrepreneurship? Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently?

This may sound funny, but the college social scene prepared me for entrepreneurship more so than the educational aspect. You need to have thick skin, be OK with failing, and ready to take chances. Education can assist you in this industry, but experience is what drives you.

What advice do you have for female founders? Do you think it’s harder for women?

The advice I have for female founders is to believe in yourself. It sounds very cliché , but it’s imperative. If you don’t believe your ideas are strong, it’s impossible to sell them to others. Do your research, spend time struggling, get familiar with failing. Remind yourself you are equivalent to your mentors, but you must be ok with starting as a sponge.

I do think it is harder for women. Sometimes I’ve felt like men didn’t take me seriously, but confidence and intelligence can override that. Fortunately, I grew up around strong intelligent females so I was taught how to carry myself at a young age.

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What do you like best about what you do?

The best part about my job is that I get to work collaboratively with some of the most amazing and creative people in this industry. Co- designing product with popular style influencers and bloggers to bring girls like myself their new favorite accessory is so much fun. I also love that I have the ability to bring what started out as a small concept in my head, and turn it into to a tangible product.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Binge watching the Kardashians…hate to admit it, but I find them hilarious.

What do you think is the secret to your success?

Never quitting and knowing yourself. I was once told by a successful entrepreneur that being in any other business is like being an athlete and playing on a horizontal field, you know how much further you have to go to get to the goal line. However, being an entrepreneur, you’re playing on a vertical field. You have to keep going without knowing how close you are to making it! That’s something that has kept me from quitting, many times.

What’s next on the horizon?

Although we started out as a Tech Accessory brand, that’s not where we want to be. Our goal is to be a Lifestyle brand and expand our assortment. We also would like to move into Pop Up shops as well as establish a West Coast presence and office.

Last piece of advice?

If it was easy, everyone would do it. Work hard, believe in yourself, and stick with it even when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Bryce McGillivray

Creative Director

Fifth & Ninth

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