Ani Tzenkova, Trendland (and more), Woman Entrepreneur
Many of us get content that we opt into delivered daily to our email. I know I get countless emails daily that I open and depending on the info I either scan or read every single word. One of the emails that I have been getting for quite awhile is Trendland. When one of the entrepreneurs that I am invested in asked to introduce me to Ani I was psyched. She sent me an email before we spoke about two new websites she had launched as well; Designdose and Styledose. Both have the same cutting edge content.
Ani was born in Bulgaria. She immigrated to the US in 1989 when she was 5 years old. Her parents mission was to get to the US. Her father attempted to swim across the Danube two times . The second time it worked. Once he got to the other side he settled in Austria and called for the family to join him. Bulgaria did not care about her Mom and the kids. First her Mom went and the kids stayed back with the Grandparents. The Grandparents had a hard time letting go and finally the parents said enough already send the kids to us. They did and the next day the border was closed. Close call.
In Austria they were living in a boarding house filled with immigrants. They were there for one and a half years before being able to get to NYC. In NYC they landed in Harlem. It was a scary place. After one week the parents said enough and migrated across the country to Los Angeles. Once they got out to the valley in LA they began to hustle.
Ani’s father was a general surgeon in Bulgaria and her mother was a dentist. Her mother went back to work as a dentist and her father took the entrepreneurial route working with doctors and started businesses in the food space too.
Ani was sent to a Catholic School in the valley, Sherman Oaks. It wasn’t the right place for her or them. She had this vision that she was going to go to Notre Dame. Her parents decided it was time to move to the Pacific Palisades to complete high school. In high school Ani started a clothing business. She was producing skirts and dresses in a variety of colors. On demand clothing. She became friendly with all the local shops. It was a nice profitable business for a 15 year old kid.
Instead of Notre Dame, Ani went to Parsons. She studied fashion but decided after a year it was too narrow minded for her. She decided to major in fashion and communication. Soon after she got to NYC she met her husband. He had been commissioned to launch a denim brand in LA so right after graduation they returned to LA together.
In LA they opened a show room together. They traveled and scouted out the young happening fashion designers graduating school and would incubate them and get their goods into the specialty boutiques. It was working out great until the market crashed in 2009. They decided if they were really going to make this work then they had to be in NYC. Four years of LA was good but it was time to make a move. They moved their showroom and concept to NYC.
During the transition into NYC they began to think more about digital. Her husband was launching websites and Ani had her fingers in everything around the fashion world. It was then that they decided to launch Trendland.
Trendland started to grow out of the gate. The market they captured was an influential group of eyeballs. They could see that they were making a global impact. They built out the team for Trendland while working on interesting projects. As Ani said, Trendland has never been about them but about Trendland. What they had built was a unique agency/shop.
They have really enjoyed being under the radar and financing the business themselves. They do consulting for brands and through that have launched a collective with other people. It gives them the opportunity to do different things all the time.
It was time to grow. They are seeing the mixture of content and print collide. Content is being consumed differently. Their new concepts are about filtering out the noise and being the authority. They are creating a media company known for aspirational culture and design that can be used as a tool too. The content that they are curating can be used for professionals as well as consumers.
Ani is super creative and of course I have already signed up for the two new sites to get daily info. I am looking forward to seeing how those sites grow as a tool. What is most impressive is that through hard work, side gigs and being scrappy they were able to do this all without any outside investment. I hope that they can continue doing that. Not every business needs to bring in investors. If you can figure out how to do it without investors then more power to you. You own it on every single level. That is more powerful than anything.