For financial analysts slogging away for long hours, an escape plan becomes enticing; entrepreneurship looks like a seductive dive into uncertainty after endless scrolls of spreadsheets.
Often, these unfulfilled financiers find their ways to careers in fashion.
“If you spend a lot of time in finance, you eventually want something radically different,” said Diana Melencio, co-founder of the personal shopping service Quinn, who had worked for nine years on Wall Street at a handful of investment banking firms before starting her company. “My days had consisted of 12 to 18 hours of spreadsheets, and I wanted something … not like that. It comes from a desire to innovate, to be a part of the fashion industry, which couldn’t be more different than this sterile environment.”
Wall Street, from heavyweights like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan down to boutique firms, is a vessel for fashion startups. These former analysts-turned-founders can build financial models for new companies in their sleep and talk the same language as potential VC investors. And, after years of analytics and data sheets, left-brained people in the field are looking for creative outlets. The frustration and lack of stimulation, combined with a close proximity to the industry, leads to idea light bulbs.