ll archives: SNOBSWAP's Emily and Elise
Bi-coastal sisters and ladypreneurs Emily Dang and Elise Whang of online swap & shop, SNOBSWAP, share their love of fashion, food, travel, motherhood and "snobswapping."
Current location: Elise: DC Emily: San Francisco
Where are you from? Emily: We’re originally from the East Coast, from NY, NJ, Boston and finally to DC.
Education: Elise: I went to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for undergrad. Then law school at Catholic University in DC. Emily: I graduated with a BS in MIS from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Business & Formal Title: Elise: Co-Founder and CEO Emily: Co-Founder and CMO
What is SNOBSWAP and how did it come to be? Emily: Having been burdened with student loans and “cursed” with an obsession for fashion, especially designer fashion, SNOBSWAP was inspired out of our own lifestyles. SNOBSWAP is an online extension of our sister days focused around designer consignment shop-hopping for designer gems and our fiscally conscious habits of recouping our shopping splurges by reselling our once-loved threads. We also found a way to keep our wardrobe updated for way less by swapping outfits and bags we got tired of with each other and our friends. Now anyone can have budget-friendly access to the best consignment boutiques and luxury items from other fashionable closets on SNOBSWAP.
What did you do before? Emily: Elise comes from a highly successful law background at Manatt and also at the Federal Trade Commission. I come from the retail industry at Gap, Chanel, and Hermes and prior to that was in strategy consulting for many years.
What did you think you’d be doing now whenever you were 10? Emily: Ironically, at the age of 10, I said I wanted to be a lawyer (pretty sure this was our dad’s influence) or a model (I blame Seventeen magazine for this one). Funny thing is Elise ended up a lawyer and I ended up a mere 5’1” tall. Just wasn’t in the cards for me! Elise: I envisioned myself to be one of Charlie’s Angels or boutique owner but ended up being a lawyer turned business owner. I guess I was always an entrepreneur at heart with a love for fashion since the Angels were always so well dressed.
Is Snobswap your dream job? If not, what else is in the works? Elise: Definitely living the dream! Emily: Yes! This is totally my dream job. I learned I could turn my passion for fashion and retail into a career and a run our own business together has been truly an amazing experience.
Are you involved in any side hustles, ladypreneur collabs or baby projects? Tell us about them. Elise: I have two toddlers and my brain is always thinking of ways to make mommy’s life easier. Stay tuned. :)
What do your daily routines consist of? Elise: My daily routine is like any other working mom’s routine Wake up at some ungodly hour wishing for more sleep, make sure the kids are fed and dressed and then shuffle off to daycare and the office. Try to be as efficient and productive as possible during office hours and then zip home and get the kids fed and ready for bed which we call the “night time shuffle.” Like they say, the days are long but the years are flying by!
A day in the Snobswap office is like? Elise: Everyday is different when you start a business. One day we are focused on launching more consignment boutqiues on Snobswap.com and brainstorming marketing campaigns and then other days we take a deep dive into customer service or building out new features on the site. Not every hour of the day is a blast but overall it’s fun building something from scratch. Building a business is a ton of work but totally gratifying to see the results of your team’s hard work.
How do you balance work and life and is that actually even possible? Elise: I’ve learned that work-life balance is like looking for the holy grail. Finding work-life balance is a constant chase. Sometimes you think you found it and then, poof! it disappears. For me, transitioning from litigation to entrepreneurship, there are more moments of balance since I have more control over my own schedule. But I’m also working harder than ever. I think the secret is to try to keep the key core parts of your family life and work life as steady and stable as possible and then juggling the rest around that won’t seem as challenging.
What is your least favorite Ladypreneur task? Emily: I love to do things efficiently and quickly so I’d have to say my least favorite task was probably curating our list of acceptable and unacceptable brands in the world. The task was herculean given the number of great and not-so-great brands out there and there was no excel short-cut to make it efficient!
What are your favorite business lady apps? Emily: I am addicted to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. With Instagram and a few other photography apps, I’m able to almost create DSLR-like photos with my iPhone. I’m constantly on our Facebook and Twitter pages engaging with the SNOBSWAP social community! Elise: Yammer. It’s a private social network for your business - like Facebook for your team. It’s a great app to use to post company updates for all to see, post snow closing, messaging, etc. Ringcentral is also a great app to keep in touch with our customers and accept e-faxes without having to use a clunky old fax machine.
Top 5 favorite cities? Emily: New York, Paris, Istanbul, Taipei, San Francisco. I will always love New York, living in the West Village for years before moving to San Francisco was so much fun. Paris is just beautiful and romantic, with its eclairs and macaron cafes on every corner. Istanbul is so rich in culture and history, and the food is amazing. Taipei will always be home to us as we have tons of family members there. Taipei also has the best food in the world and awesome night markets. Finally San Francisco - my current home, is such a charming city with amazing access to the great outdoors, Tahoe and wine country.
Elise: Washington DC for its diversity, power, and liveability. New York City for the variety of food, energy, and excitement. Taipei the food, shopping, and family. Capetown for its breathtaking beauty and indigenous food. And Buenos Aires for their tango, cafes, and steak. Can you tell food is the way to our hearts?
Red, White or Sparkling? Emily: All the above!
Tell us the best place to eat in your city. If it’s your kitchen, share your favorite/best recipe. Emily: I’m obsessed with the salt and pepper crab at this Cantonese restaurant in SF called R&G lounge. If you love crab, this takes it to another level. Other than that, I make a mean roasted chicken at home. The recipe is super simple by Thomas Keller of the famed French Laundry here in Napa. This recipe won Buzzfeed’s best chicken recipe against the likes of Julia Child and Martha Stewart. Also my life has changed with my new Vitamix. I love making anything from a green smoothie to a roasted cauliflower soup. To call it a blender would be an understatement.
Elise: Love love love The Range by Bryan Voltaggio. Everything is farm to table and so fresh and well thought out. I also love Makoto, a tiny Japanese restaurant, tucked in upper Georgetown. It’s so authentic, when you leave, you’ll feel like you were just on vacation.
Words to live by: Emily: The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do. Elise: Time doesn’t wait for you. Live your life how you want or at least give it a shot - you’re worth it.
In 5 years you’ll be: Elise: Snobswapping and being a soccer mom. Emily: Ditto!
On being a woman entrepreneur: Elise: Being a mom is very similar to being an entrepreneur. I have two toddlers and SNOBSWAP is like my third child. In both roles, you want to nurture your babies to help them grow legs so they can run on their own one day, and you have the highest aspirations for them in life and success. I’m so lucky to be able to do both right now. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience.