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Xenia Chen is the founder of Threads, a direct-to-consumer tights and hosiery brand with a mission to make luxurious and high-end hosiery affordable to everyone. Threads has been featured in FLARE, NBC, FASHION Magazine, CBC The National, and several other media publications. Prior to Threads, Xenia worked in private equity and investment banking at top firms in Toronto and New York for 5 years, over which time she worked on transactions and mandates with a combined value of over $12 billion.

My first job ever was… Lifeguard/swim instructor.

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I faced an everyday problem/frustration that I knew so many other women were also facing. I had this burning desire to fix it and come up with a solution!

My proudest accomplishment is… Launching Threads with my own personal savings and bootstrapping the company to what it is today. 

My biggest setback was… The COVID-19 pandemic. Being a young business in an industry that depends on people getting dressed up (either to go out or to go to work) was not easy. 

I overcame it by… Nurturing existing customers and finding new, unexpected customer groups and launching new products. A true testament to the idea that sometimes, the best ideas can come out of times of incredible challenge. 

If you Googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I love cooking! My idea of the perfect night is cooking up a great meal with my husband and having our friends over. 

My best advice for small business owners is… Be open minded when listening to other people’s advice but be discerning about which pieces to actually take and implement. Trust your gut. 

The one piece of advice I give that I have trouble following myself is… Take time to rest. It’s so important but I definitely need to be reminded of this at times. 

When starting my business, I wish I knew… Failure is not the opposite of success: it’s a stepping stone to success. 

The future excites me because… There’s so much possibility! We’re living in such a great time in history right now where we have so much knowledge at our fingertips – you can essentially learn anything off of YouTube and the internet and that is really exciting to me. 

Success to me means… Creating a life that you truly love and enjoy. And personal growth – accomplishing things that you, at one point, didn’t think was possible or in the cards for you. There’s no better feeling than looking back and knowing that past-you would’ve been so proud of present-you.