Tag Archives: how to start a company

Founding a Company Entirely on UX Design: How GA Grads Started Jewelry Company Vrai & Oro

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General Assembly grads Vrai and Oro

For years, Chelsea Nicholson and Vanessa Stofenmacher felt that the fine jewelry on the market just wasn’t for them. They wanted to make a statement with pieces that were classic yet attainable, and had an inkling other women felt the same. After graduating from General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive program in Los Angeles, they decided to do something about it.

The pair, who were friends before they were classmates, teamed up to launch Vrai and Oro — a Warby Parker-style fine jewelry startup that embodies UX principles its core. Vrai and Oro means truth (in French) and gold (in Spanish), and the name is reflected in the company’s values: quality, simplicity, and transparency. Chelsea and Vanessa produce their jewelry with ethically sourced materials in downtown Los Angeles — without designer markups. And, true to their UX-driven brand, their website and eCommerce platform is minimalistic and image-driven for easy use.

We caught up with Chelsea to learn more about Vrai & Oro, the site’s user experience, and how GA helped the co-founders achieve their goals.

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3 Lean Startup Tips for Building Your Business

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Eric Ries's lean startup book

Image courtesy of Betsy Weber via Flickr

“If you build it, he will come,” is the famous line from the film Field of Dreams, in which those mysteriously whispered words convince a farmer to replace his cornfield with a baseball diamond to draw people to use it. But while that may have worked in the film, it’s not necessarily the case when it comes to new apps, products, and services. How can you make sure you don’t invest your life savings in a business idea that users don’t want? That’s where the lean startup philosophy comes in.

If Eric Ries, blogger, entrepreneur, and author of The Lean Startup, were in charge of the cornfield, he would have tried something less drastic — like taking out an ad or building a web page — to find out if there was a need for a new stadium.

Reis’ philosophy is that instead of creating elaborate business plans and bringing fully fleshed-out products to market, it’s best to follow (and repeat) a three-step process — build, measure, and learn — to test and validate ideas prior to a major investment of time and resources.

The following three strategies will get your business on board with the lean philosophy in no time.

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