Please tell us who you are and what you do professionally.
My name is Sali Christeson and I’m the founder and CEO of Argent, a women's workwear brand that’s redefining the category through versatile, vibrant, relevant pieces for today’s ever-evolving workplace.
What was the catalyst behind starting your brand, Argent? What did you see missing in women’s workwear that you wanted to reinvent?
I spent a decade working in tech and finance and was always frustrated with shopping for workwear as it was hard to find clothes that were bold, practical, versatile and professional. More simply, I found the category stale. When I talked to friends across different companies and industries, they also hated the experience of shopping for workwear. Women were spending so much time worrying about what to wear to important meetings, interviews, events, etc. taking away from the energy they were putting into their actual work. While working at Cisco in 2014, I read a study that women in the workplace are judged based on appearance, with a tangible impact on their careers and salaries over time (up to 20 – 40 percent) and I decided to quit my job and start Argent. Workwear is a major market with a $34.9 billion dollar annual spend, yet it’s highly underserved. I saw an opportunity to make workwear more fun and allow women to focus on their work while feeling confident in what they are wearing.
Being a female entrepreneur is a powerful thing. Can you please share a few words of wisdom/advice to someone that wants to start her own company?
Network as much as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for people’s time. It’s important to have conviction, learn the business from the bottom up and be very thoughtful about your partners and investors. Every entrepreneur should be aware that you have options when it comes to fundraising, and lots of money doesn’t always mean success. Build a business that has substance and make sure it’s something that you truly love.
Where do you find inspiration and how do you stay inspired?
Nothing inspires me more than our customers and our community. These women (and men) are truly changing and shaping the world and opening doors for future generations. We love hearing feedback from our community in terms of how Argent has played a role in their day to day work lives and given them the confidence to achieve their full potential.
Are you listening to any podcasts that you like right now?
The Daily (New York Times), the Bill Simmons podcast (I love the NBA), Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Second Life and Raising the Bar (with Alli and Michael).
How do you like to stay connected to your Argent Community? Is this something you actively do? You mention Unity and Stronger Together on your site. We are such fans of gathering with our community and love hearing how other brands think about it.
As a direct-to-consumer brand, we benefit immensely from the direct lines of communication we have with our community (which we see as vital to our survival). And because we have physical locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and San Francisco, we’re able to host events and nurture an in-person community that pays huge dividends… not only for selling but also from a networking perspective. Our goal is to help women in their careers, and by hosting events we’re able to connect our customers to one another and provide women the tools they need to navigate the workforce and their respective careers. I love to participate in these events, jump in and answer customer support questions and sometimes will take shopping appointments myself as a way to stay connected. These interactions are so helpful in shaping where we take our brand and product.
What are your plans for Argent in the future? More retail locations?
We plan to continue evolving with the professional woman. To date we’ve been really happy with the loyal, organic fanbase we’ve garnered, so next for us is expanding that base through a handful of marketing initiatives. We’re also planning to grow our retail locations, possibly in Chicago, Boston, Dallas, and Seattle, as well as another New York location.
Photos by Grey & Elle