Guess what, y'all! Shah's of Sunset's Lilly Ghalici is more than just a tiny pile of extensions and lip gloss and eyelashes. She's actually an extremely successful business woman and entrepreneur who plays an over-the-top "character" on Bravo's hit show. The lawyer turned reality star/bikini mogul is doing something right when it comes to her fashion start-up. I'm not even being sarcastic for once…Lilly is quite savvy.
In an interview with YFS Entrepreneur, the pint sized Lilly explains how she got to where she is now. She tells the site, "I was practicing law and I wasn’t really fulfilled. You know, it’s a job; it’s a 9 to 5 (more like a 7 to 8 when you’re first starting out as an associate). It just wasn’t really fulfilling. I’m an entrepreneur at heart so I decided I wanted to start my own business. I knew I wanted it to be in fashion, health or beauty. I had this great idea for bikinis so I just decided to do it and I jumped in headfirst. I figured I was going to give it my all; I’m not going to work part-time, do this part-time, so I just quit my job and I was working on it 24/7. It became my life, my passion…"
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Discussing the scariness of a start-up, Lilly reveals, "When I first started the company I sat down and thought to myself, 'When do I feel sexiest, as a woman?' And the answer to that question for me was: in lingerie. When I’m in lingerie I’m transformed. I feel like a goddess…so I try to take the allure that lingerie provides and incorporate it into swimwear. When I initially started Swimgerie I spent around $15K-20K to startup. That is a lot of money, but not for a clothing company. I started on a small scale. Rather than releasing a whole collection of 35-40 pieces (which is what most collections have) I released 6 [pieces]. It’s not that I didn’t have more to release, I just wanted to be smart with my money."
Lilly adds, "Then with the sales of those 6 pieces I took that money to reinvest and then released a collection of about 15 pieces. Then I reinvested [again] and released the entire collection. [Later that same year], I met Jennifer Stano David; who at the time was the owner of Have Faith swimwear line. We ended up becoming best friends and on January 1, 2012 Jennifer and I merged our two companies — forming Have Faith Swimgerie. So we are now business partners. This is our second year going strong, and it was the best decision we both have ever made."
As for her swimwear line, Lilly says that she isn't about mass production. She only wants to design bikinis that she and her friends would model. She shares, "Jennifer and I don’t release a bikini that we wouldn’t actually wear ourselves. We don’t want to make things just to make things and put them out there. Our goal is to provide a bikini that’s as flattering and as sexy as possible at the most affordable price. We design Beverly Hills bikinis [that are] affordable for the average girl."
Lilly doesn't plan to stop at bathing suits. She's looking into other ventures as well, admitting, "I was filming season two of the Shahs of Sunset and I was using a lot of eyelash extensions, because my character is this over-the-top, larger-than-life glamazon. But the lashes felt a little too extreme. Either they were super fake looking (i.e. synthetic); something you would wear on Halloween, or so natural looking that you couldn’t even tell they were on — and they were super expensive. I thought to myself, 'I’m paying $30 for pair of lashes that you can't even tell [I'm wearing].'" Interesting…her "character"?
She continues, "I figured that there had to be a better solution, so I went straight to the source. There are three major factories in the world that produce lash extensions for [retailers] (i.e. MAC to Shu Uemura and every brand you can think of). I went directly to the source and worked with them to find styles that I love, made of 100% human hair so they look natural."
Shahs has certainly helped her endeavors. Lilly says, "[The impact of the show has been] incredible! I mean, it was the main reason I decided to do the show. I knew it would be an incredible platform for my existing businesses and any business that I create in the future. I mean, 2.5 million viewers are watching the show and learning about your product and about you. So it’s the best platform. Shahs has definitely help my businesses in more ways than I could describe."
I'll be honest…I'm floored. Lilly isn't nearly as flighty as I originally believed!
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[Photo Credit: Twitter]