How She Does It: Anna Metselitsa of Haute Rogue

Haute Rogue is an online boutique featuring trendy clothing, jewelry and more for fashion-forward girls.

The story of Haute Rogue is the story of one girl with a dream, lots of hard work and a ton of caffeine. Anna Metselitsa grew up in Belarus dreaming of the beautiful clothes she saw in glossy magazines, however in her family, clothes were a luxury not a necessity. Her first design project was a pair of hand-painted (acrylic paint, FYI) jeans. Moving to the US at 18, Anna’s intense passion for fashion and unwavering ambition to be her own boss led her to found Haute Rogue in 2014.

Deb Bailey: Welcome to the Secrets of Success blog, Anna! Please share how you got started as an entrepreneur.

Anna Metselitsa: Nice to be here, Deb. my journey as an entrepreneur started because I was tired from working 2-3 jobs to have ends meet, plus my bosses were not always the nicest people. I decided that it was time to take charge of my life and do something meaningful that I could be proud of. Instead of going to college and getting a degree (against my mom’s will) I started my business. I asked myself what I know and what I love and fashion has been always my passion.

I loved clothes and sometimes spent my last dollar on fashion magazines instead of getting food. growing up I never had enough of clothes and the clothes I had were not fashionable. parents bought us clothes to grow into, so at first you wore a belt to hold jeans up, then they started to actually fit then if they ripped you fixed them until pretty much they couldn’t be fixed. So that’s why I'm so passionate about fashion and clothes, I think it’s not just a piece of fabric, it means something it makes you feel something when you put it on.

Deb: What are some of your successes and challenges? 

Anna: We got into Neiman Marcus, Saks off 5th, Urban Outfitters, HauteLook and we work with Revolve. I’m very proud of how far we’ve come. one of the challenges was finding the right people and attracting talent. Being a small business i’m competing against industry giants that everyone wants to work for because of very high salaries, perks and prestige. I’ve been fortunate to find a few great people but generally it’s been a struggle. Another challenge came from growing exponentially year after year: because I never raised money nor do I intent to do so, cash has been tight up in production to support that growth.

Deb: What inspires you to do the work you do? 

Anna: People. What keeps me going is when we get positive feedback from our customers or when we land another account. It gives me energy and motivation to keep going.

Deb: What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs who are just starting out? 

Anna: Count every penny and spend only on things that can bring a return on investment, reinvest everything back in the business. Understand your customer, learn from your competition and communicate your features and benefits so that your customers can understand your value proposition.

Find a mentor/consultant/business person who has the knowledge, experience and expertise in your area of business. It is is invaluable and will help you propel the business.

Keep a close eye on your cash flow and watch your margin to ensure you can grow your infrastructure and build your brand awareness without going into debt

Deb: Great advice. What do you wish you could tell your younger self? 

Anna: Don’t let people get under your skin. issues that you cry over now will seem minuscule 10 years from now.

Deb: What do you think are the top 3 traits an entrepreneur must have? 

Anna: Perseverance, hard work and determination.

Deb: Thanks for joining me today, Anna.  Please share your website and social media URLs. 

Anna: I enjoyed it, Deb. Here you go:;;;

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