By Emily Merrell
NYC is all about the things you carry. From gym clothes to a change of clothes – all while trying to stay stylish. Enter Go Dash Dot. Keep reading to learn how founder Hannah Fastov took a pain point and turned it into a business.
SDS: As an ex-New Yorker I am SO familiar with the amount of stuff we carry throughout the day. From gym clothes, to makeup, to a change of shoes – it can be a lot. Hannah, at what point in your frustration did you decide to tackle this challenge head on?
HANNAH FASTOV: I had recently graduated from college and started my career in the fashion industry. I was waking up at 6am to get to the gym, quickly showering and changing in the locker room. Then running to work, meeting up with friends or going to a networking event. It was fun and exciting, however, I was constantly feeling bogged down by my bag. I bought what felt like every bag in existence, sometimes carrying them all at once, with nothing able to hold all my stuff for the day. Nothing could keep me organized and looking cute – so I started to ask my friends and other women in the gym locker room if they had suggestions for a great bag.
All of the women I spoke to hated their current bag(s), but had lots of thoughts on what would make the perfect carryall. It was at this point that I decided there was a hole in the market and I was going to fix it. I formalized my research and surveyed over 150 women from varying demographics. A year(ish) later, Go Dash Dot was born.
SDS: When creating Go Dash Dot, did you expect it to be a full-blown company or more of a side hustle? At what point did you make the leap to full-time?
HF: When I first started, I wasn’t thinking about the future, which my parents weren’t thrilled about – ha! I was simply creating the best bag that ever existed and I was completely obsessed. I spent every minute of my days, nights and weekends building this bag – which at some point evolved into a company. I don’t have a business background or any experience starting a company so I just took it one step at time and googled my way through. I worked full-time for another fashion company for two years until I secured orders from Free People and Nordstrom. When web sales picked up, I made the decision to take the leap and go full time Go Dash Dot.
SDS: There is usually that influential person in life that gave you permission to follow your dreams. Who was it for you? How has that person played a role in your business?
HF: My mom! I have always followed my own path and my mom continuously encouraged and supported all of my choices. When I told her I had an idea for a bag company she said ‘sounds cool’ and we sort of moved on. I had a lot of ideas that I was constantly pitching to my parents and then forgot about them 20 minutes later, so I think she thought it was one of those. But eight months later I texted her a photo of the prototype I received and her first response was “How can I help you?”
Since I was still working full-time, she was tremendously helpful with a lot of the backend work (shipping samples and orders) while I was in the office and doing my “real” job. She never worked in fashion and had no clue what she was doing, but neither did I! We both just dove right in. She is now our warehouse manager and COO.
SDS: For those that are just starting out in their careers from handbags to proper shoe choices to negotiating their salaries, do you have any advice on getting started that you wish you had?
HF: Always have bandaids in a pocket! I can’t tell you how many times the back of my foot was ripped apart by a shoe! But more importantly, ask for what you want. It sounds corny, but I really wish I had taken that advice while I was working for a corporate company and the early days of Go Dash Dot.
SDS: Go Dash Dot has worked with a ton of influencers. It’s been featured everywhere from Vogue to Women’s Health to Good Morning America! What does success mean to you?
HF: Success – that is a tough one! Success is being happy. I don’t necessarily have an end goal. Life takes so many twists and turns, so it is about finding some form of happiness everyday. And then, of course, seeing a stranger wearing Go Dash Dot!
SDS: Go Dash Dot has the renew-a-life program where you can send gently used bags to women at Dress for Success and get money off future purchases. How did you decide on this giving back component? How can we learn more about upcoming offerings and programs in the future?
HF: Something I hear a lot from women is that they have so many bags in their closets that they never use and my first response is always “Throw them out and buy Go Dash Dot, you will never need another bag again.” But then I started thinking, throwing out bags is not a very eco-friendly response nor inline with the Go Dash Dot Values – to embrace and celebrate the multifaceted lives of women and provide them with functional, fashionable bags. More broadly, to empower women to feel successful, whatever success looks like to her. So I found Dress For Success and launched a beautiful partnership that helps provide women with the tools to build their successes.