Liz Salcedo is the Founder and CEO of Everpurse. The visionary behind the integration of fashion and technology, Liz is focused on developing relationships with fashion brands and assisting them in turning their accessories into fashion tech products. When the top leaders and decision makers in fashion have questions about technology, Liz is the one they turn to. Former HIV/AIDS family social worker turned entrepreneur, in 2013 she was named one of Crain's 20 in their 20's list of most promising leaders.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I have found that the best way to grow as a leader is to put yourself in new situations. Going from social worker to entrepreneur has forced me to encounter new challenges and has introduced me to great people who have pushed and encouraged me along the way.
How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Everpurse?
One of the most useful things I learned as a social worker has been the importance of creating a great work environment. At Everpurse our team always makes sure to take time throughout the day to laugh and have fun together. We can be much more creative and productive when we enjoy the people we work with.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Everpurse?
There have been so many! One of my favorite highlights is packaging and hand delivering the very first Everpurse in 2013. At the time we were manufacturing everything in-house, developing the methodology for integrating electronics and textiles. Finally seeing the product that I had envisioned come to life was an incredible feeling of accomplishment.
One of biggest challenges has been overcoming government regulation. When you create a new product such as Everpurse, the existing regulations and certifications don't always apply. The FCC, US customs and other regulators had never seen a product like ours before, so we had to work with them to create new categories so that Everpurse could be certified and approved!
What advice can you offer women who are seeking to start their own business?
Start small, think big! There are so many ways you can test out your business ideas without a lot of money up front. 3D printing, industry meet-ups, and focus groups are just some of the ways we tested out Everpurse before starting the business.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
My work and my life are integrated. I love my job, I work with people I enjoy being around, and I make friends with others in my industry. I make time for stress relief while I'm in the office, and I mull over work questions while I'm at home. When your work is more of a passion, work/life balance doesn't need to look the way it traditionally has.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I think there is no one biggest issue for women in the workplace. While there are some issues which are common to many women, each of us is an individual with our own struggles. For myself, I have struggled with being confident. Coming into the traditionally male-dominated tech industry from social work, I often felt unqualified to lead Everpurse. I have had to learn to trust my knowledge and my instincts in order to be the leader that my company requires.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Often times we are too close to our own challenges to see clearly. Whenever I have a major decision to make, I have a number of mentors that I rely on to help me to see things from an outside perspective. Their advice has been invaluable!
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
There are many amazing female tech entrepreneurs that I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past few years. One of these women is Lisa Fetterman from Nomiku. She's a fearless BOSS who works incredibly hard and inspires me to overcome challenges and chase after my dreams.
What do you want Everpurse to accomplish in the next year?
Our vision has always been for every purse to be an Everpurse. This next year I want to be able to offer more fashion-tech choices to women on the go, making their handbags even more personal, and empowering them to simplify their lives while staying as stylish as ever!