Title: Meet Quynh Onel and Project 925, the company changing the narrative about work clothes
Quynh Onel is the Founder / CEO of Project 925, a new destination for women’s workwear. She was born and raised in Cerritos, California and currently lives and works in downtown LA. While she’s had over 20 different part-time, internship, full-time and odd jobs since she started working at the age of 15, she spent the last seven years of her professional career in management consulting. She is extremely passionate about supporting women in the workplace and it’s become a key part of Project 925’s mission. Here’s a little more about Quynh, Project 925 and her life as a new startup founder.
What is Project 925?
Project 925 is a destination for women’s workwear. As an ecommerce platform focused solely on women’s work clothes, we hope to inspire our customers to develop their own professional style and love what they’re wearing 5 out of 7 days of the week. We curate products from boutique and designer brands as well as develop our own in-house brands to fill in the whitespace.
How did Project 925 come to life?
I have always had a passion for fashion and viewed it as a form of self-expression. After many years of wearing business casual and feeling like I was putting on a uniform everyday, I started to realize the effect it had on my energy at work. When I wore something uninspiring, I felt uninspired. But then I realized it didn’t have to be that way. Office dress codes are evolving, yet most of the brands are still playing by the same old rules. That’s why I created Project 925, to be the destination where women can fall in love with their weekday wardrobe while still keeping it professional.
How does Project 925 execute on its mission to support professional women?
Women’s careers are far from linear. Because of that, it’s so important to have a community you can share and learn from. Many of our customers are career driven women who are on their own path to success. Together we can be very powerful. That’s why our broader mission is to connect our customers so they can support each other. We’re currently piloting a program, called Project | Connect, where our ambassadors host small group events for women to connect over career related topics and build meaningful relationships. We also have another program called Project | Do Good, where we donate a percentage of sales to a women’s organization of our customers’ choice.
What is your daily routine?
On a good day, I wake up around 5:30am, take a quick shower and am out the door by 5:50am. Thanks to my sister, I have microbladed eyebrows and don’t spend time putting on makeup. I have a short walk to work and am usually in by ~6am. I spend the first 20-30 minutes making coffee, reading my affirmations and manifestations, and writing a short journal entry, and spend the next 20-30 minutes catching up on the news. I use the rest of my morning for individual focused work and try to push meetings to the afternoon. I typically wrap up the first part of my day around 4/5pm, head to the gym for about an hour then come home to cook/have dinner with my husband. I’ll try to pick up light work again from 7-9pm or go to an event, then relax for a bit and get to bed by 10:30pm.
On a bad day, I’ve usually stayed up too late the night before, wake up 30 minutes to an hour late, and/or skip the gym.
What inspires you?
Women. I am surrounded by and always meet women who are doing amazing things. It’s rare that I meet a woman and don’t think, “Wow, you’re a superwoman”. They juggle multiple big roles – mother, caretaker, professional, leader, household manager, you name it – and excel at all of them. I am not a mother yet, but sometimes I’m scared at the thought of playing multiple big roles at the same time. Then I see women out there who are doing it and it’s so inspiring. Not only that, but they’re transparent and honest – you can’t have it all and it’s never going to be perfect. Knowing that actually keeps me inspired to keep trying because I don’t feel pressured to strive for perfection.
What lessons do you find valuable?
If you don’t ask or try, it’s never going to happen. This is something I have to remind myself over and over. I’ve always had a hard time asking for help, intros, favors, anything – mostly out of guilt that I was taking and not giving. But I’ve realized that if I don’t ask, no one will know, and it won’t happen. Reminding myself that I can always pay it forward or offer to help with anything down the line is one way I get past the guilt.
Is there anything you’d like to share with other entrepreneurs?
One piece of advice a founder friend gave me early on was – know where your source of confidence comes from and make sure you can keep replenishing it. I think of that advice a few times a week. Things happen or don’t and your confidence takes a hit. Remembering why I’m doing what I’m doing and tapping into my confidence source has helped me get through some tough times.
What do you do on your off time?
I love being surrounded by love and positive energy, so I spend most of my free time with my husband, family and friends.