Meet Carolina Garcia, co-founder of Modabound, an online marketplace for college students to buy and sell fashion items. Along with co-founder Alexa Varsavsky, Carolina enrolled in GA’s Front-End Web Development course out of college, a year after they first launched Modabound. Carolina and Alexa are currently participating in the Techstars London accelerator program, with the goal of expanding to every college campus in America (and beyond!) — Emily Lu, General Assembly
Name: Carolina Garcia (@modabound)
Occupation: Co-founder, Modabound
1. What inspired you to learn front-end web development? How has it helped you run your business?
We knew early on that starting a business as non-technical co-founders would be a challenge — we wanted to guide our developers better, and anticipated questions from investors down the road.
As co-founders with front-end skills, we are now able to project manage much more effectively. While we’re also able to contribute with code, the main benefit is being able to communicate our vision more clearly to our developers, having a better grasp of how long projects will take, and ultimately working more closely as a team.
2. What surprised you most about diving into web development?
I was surprised to learn how welcoming the developer community is. Developers love sharing. They talk a lot. They have boards. People are so open to helping each other out and solving problems together. We gained a great framework for understanding from GA’s Front-End Web Development Course, and from there I’ve been amazed by how much you can continue to learn by using the web as a resource.
3. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Question and test absolutely every theory you have. For example, don’t assume you know anything about your target customer until you reach out to people, see the data, and prove your theory with facts. If you think girls like shopping, go out and watch them shop. You’ll be amazed how much you learn from just observing and engaging with people.
4. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Turning on music and dancing in the house by myself — that came to mind pretty quickly because I was just doing that…
5. How has starting a business with a close friend changed your relationship?
Spending 12 hours a day with each other has changed our friendship dynamic in a great way. We both understand that we’re constantly learning, which has made it easier to avoid any arguments — neither of us can claim that we know the proven, better way to approach something.
I’d honestly say that our friendship has gotten stronger. We’re a successful team because we’re not stubbornly attached to our own ideas, and instead focused on making something great together.
6. What accomplishments are you most proud of to date?
Getting into Techstars London — I think that was the happiest day at our company so far. We’re the only female-founded team, and we’re also the youngest. Both our mentors and the other more experienced teams here have created an amazing all-round learning experience for us. From the presentations we attend to lunchtime conversation, we’re constantly absorbing new ideas from everyone we meet.
It’s also exciting to see the progress we’ve made at different college campuses. When we first launched Modabound at Columbia University in February 2013, 15% of the female student body was on our site in just five weeks. Now we have 25% of the female community on our site, and that number is continuously growing.
Although she’s dedicating her full attention to Modabound and Techstars, Carolina still finds time to pursue her favorite pastimes including yoga and cycling. She also loves discovering new neighborhoods, and makes a point of exploring a different area each weekend.