With a career in fashion that has taken her to Paris and back, Lauryn Vaughn has an impeccable eye for detail and a passion for the transformative impact of premium apparel. She founded The Upside in 2015 after discovering a niche in the country’s e-commerce market for luxury resale fashion minus the prohibitive costs of U.S. shipping and duty. Under her leadership, The Upside has grown to be Canada’s largest online luxury consignment retailer, attracting 400-plus new members a month. With a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary, Lauryn is proud to combine her passion for style and business in running The Upside and lending her expertise to some of Canada’s top fashion influencers. Throughout her success, Lauryn remains dedicated to putting exceptional quality, authentically unique, and gently-loved apparel at her client’s fingertips so they can breathe new life into their wardrobes one piece at a time.
My first job ever was… Serving beef on a bun at the Calgary Stampede when I was 12-years-old!
I chose my career path because… My career path chose me! I was interning with Paul Hardy throughout university and when I graduated, I bought a one-way ticket to Paris. I went to Paris to try to find work in Communications for a winery…my only setback was my French was horrible! Living in Paris “on a budget” (a.k.a. broke) taught me how to look chic on a budget.
My proudest accomplishment is… Being Stella’s mom. She is smart, grounded and just the right amount of sassy.
My boldest move to date was… Midnight moving my daughter who at the time was two-and-a-half and myself out of an abusive relationship while continuing to pursue The Upside. We lived in a very gracious girlfriend’s basement for a year and have never looked back.
I surprise people when I tell them… That the resale industry is going to be a $51 billion industry in five years and the apparel and textile industry is the second largest industrial polluter globally.
My best advice to people starting their career is… There is no better time to take risks than when your parent’s couch is a recent memory. The older you get, the harder it is to overcome the fear of starting over, so do it now!
My best advice from a mentor was…They encouraged me to fail. If you are afraid to fail you will never innovate and that will be the demise of any organization or your personal growth.
I would tell my 20-year old self… You make a better blonde than a redhead!
But more importantly, your self-worth is not attached to your weight or image. Owning how you feel about yourself is your responsibility and no one can make you feel worthy but you.
My biggest setback was… Having a now former technology partner that was not the right fit. They not only lead us in the wrong direction but could not execute and I continued to allow it to happen causing investor diffidence.
“If you are afraid to fail you will never innovate and that will be the demise of any organization or your personal growth.”
I overcame it by… Giving a hard stop date and having to pick up the pieces! Standing up for the company and myself was the only way to correct the path we were on. We now have an amazing partner that has the same goals and vision as us.
The future of the fashion industry is… Sustainability! The circular economy is the only way forward for our environment and empowering women to have variety, value and quality. If you buy an item resale it reduces its carbon footprint by 82%!
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed it would be…
Most importantly, learning how to believe in yourself, that you are worthy and capable. Secondly, generous friends, family, community support and the right team members. Lastly, coffee and martinis…
If you googled me you still wouldn’t know… That when I think something is really, REALLY, funny, I snort when I laugh.
I stay inspired by… The women I am surrounded by who choose every day to fight for equality and persist in business and leadership when it would be much easier to take the path of least resistance. We are in the third wave of feminism and there is no stopping us!
The future excites me because… The opportunity to make The Upside accessible to every woman and empowering them in their financial & fashion choices. The global impact in fighting fast fashion – the resale industry is on pace to exceed it in 10 years!
My next step is… World domination! Just kidding. Elevating The Upside to be a global leader in the resale industry and changing consumer habits while empowering women to know how badass they are.