Fulbright scholar, journalist, inventor, fashionista, tech startup co-founder, and girl-totally-down-with-California, Felicia embodies that wonderful blend of creative quirkiness, business prowess, and international savviness.
Underneath the jean cut-offs, the pink rabbit fur, and the death metal crop top, is a brilliant woman from Berlin looking to make her mark in NYC. Last week, the startup she co-founded, PeekBite, placed #1 at the NYU Innovation Competition, which turned the head of a major angel investor. Up next is a coveted spot in the NYU Entrepreneur incubator.
Oh, and ring ring, Jolie (aka the Vogue of Germany) is calling and they are totally obsessed with BLACKBUN, the hair accessory she patented and sells online. What's her brand prop? Check out this video of a girl with pink hair taping banana peels to her feet and skating a halfpipe.
Relentless torrent of ideas, dinosaur bone digging dreams, Chinatown cookies, and being fearless ...
Meet Felicia --
Hey babe! What are you up to today?
Hi! I'll work on a paper for school for a couple hours and then I'll go to a friend's place to repair an inflatable zebra that I broke and also to brainstorm ideas for a music video involving a bear trap.
What's the best thing you've learned in the last week? How have you applied that to your daily routine?
A very important thing I've learnt in the last month, which is actually very simple, but makes a huge difference, is to consciously take time to process things. We receive so much input every day, so many new experiences and impressions, and people we meet, which is amazing, but I feel like unless I take time to really process all this I cannot make proper use of it in my brain. So it happens now that I just sit around doing nothing, just thinking and processing stuff.
What made you decide to set up shop in NYC?
I had the opportunity to study some courses for my economics master at NYU. After my study abroad experience in California during my bachelor degree I was like "damn, I need to do this again!" - and New York is the best place for me to merge business with studying - so colorful and so much opportunity.
What's the last thing you did outside your comfort zone?
A few days ago I held a pitch in front of six venture capitalists. We had finished our slides late and so I didn't have much time to practice. I was a little nervous getting on stage, but in the end we made it well through the pitch and were very happy with the results.
What's been your biggest business challenge? How did you overcome it? (Or how are you trying to overcome it?)
My biggest business challenge has been to find a supplier for Blackbun Fashion. I had invented this new product called the Blackbun, which is a hair accessory that makes volume curls. Since the product was completely new, it was extremely difficult to find a supplier. There was no knowledge about manufacturing techniques or machines that could be used. After contacting many, many potential suppliers - I didn't even know what kind of supplier would be able to manufacture my product and I got very creative, from sock factories to hosiery companies - I found this tiny family business in Lithuania whose owner believed in me and the idea. It took us almost a year and many feedback loops to end up with how the Blackbun is today.
What keeps you up at night?
Ideas! I have a very active, creative mind, and sometimes I cannot stop it from racing when I want to sleep. So it keeps revolving around problems I'd like to solve, and then I have to turn on the light in the middle of the night to write things down...again and again until I get really annoyed.
What's something a lot of people don't know about you?
When I was little my dream job was to dig dinosaur bones out of the ground.
Your style is rad! What do you think your clothes say about you?
Haha thanks! Hmmmm I don't know...it's weird, lately I noticed that I got kind of sticky with my preferences. So if I like a piece of clothes then I literally have to force myself not to wear it every single day. Right now I'm hung up on this light pink rabbit fur scarf...
What do you think Felicia in 10 years would say to Felicia today?
Learn how to code! And do not eat all these glibbery cookies from Chinatown, there's so much chemicals in them.
What (three) pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?
- Reconsider your limits suspiciously - some of them are imaginary.
- Think fearless. There is no thought that should not be thought.
- Do not settle for less than happiness
Tell me about #Shit Needs to percolate :)
That's another major insight I had very recently: shit takes time. You might invest a lot of energy, sweat and passion into one thing, but no matter how hard you try to speed it up, some things just need their time to develop their own dynamics and to mature. It takes a combination of drive and patience to make things happen. Shit needs to percolate.