Entrepreneurship is a path often filled with pitfalls. Christina Marcano knows this all too well – and at times more personally than almost anyone could imagine.
The founder and CEO of Silver Icing Inc., a company that has become one of the most successful social-selling clothing platforms in B.C. by focusing on empowering women, said there were times she and her family were living from paycheque to paycheque as Marcano scrambled to sort out challenges with almost all facets of the fashion business from retail and wholesale to inventory and manufacturing.
The situation was especially dire around 2013 – two years after Marcano folded her first brand, Skylar Clothing, to launch Silver Icing as a new clothing line – when her manufacturing partner abruptly delayed, then cancelled, the delivery just one month ahead of the clothes’ scheduled arrival at wholesalers’ doors.
But out of that experience came inspiration. Marcano had some clothing left in stock but no stores or wholesalers to sell them. She recalled there were always individual women who contacted her, wanting to sell clothing at home parties using direct sales to friends and family. Thus, Marcano put a kit together to facilitate those sales.
Home sales soon prompted those individual sellers – “stylists,” as Silver Icing calls them – to ask for more, and newer, items. Marcano borrowed from her experience in the video game industry to launch pre-sales of clothing items, asking for orders from each stylist before submitting a batch order to the supplier.
Eventually, these pre-sales became so popular that Silver Icing was doing one every week and moving the entire process to an online e-commerce platform.
That was when the game changed.
Today, Silver Icing has a large number of online stylists who sell to their individual customers. What has inspired Marcano the most is that many of these women found their entrepreneurial callings by connecting with Silver Icing, empowering them to operate a small business of their own while backed by Silver Icing’s fashion line.
Birthplace: Kitchener, Ontario
Where you live now: South Surrey
Highest level of education: Bachelor of arts in anthropology, University of Victoria
Currently reading: The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
Currently listening to: Podcasts. And there’s one I’m listening to right now called How I Built This with Guy Raz
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: I wanted to do so many different things. There was never just one thing. I was really into photography, but I wanted to be like my dad. So I wanted to be an entrepreneur
Profession you would most like to try: Something that includes photography; I think I would love being a baking blogger
Toughest business or professional decision: Making the decision to continue when nobody else believed that we could
Advice you would give the younger you: Trust your gut and do something different
What’s left to do: Once we feel confident that we are in a place where we can scale at a reasonable rate, then we’ll be expanding into other markets outside of Canada
Join us to celebrate the 2019 Forty under 40 Awards on January 30, 2020, at the Westin Bayshore. For tickets and event information visit https://www.biv.com/forty-under-40