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Interview with Whitney Quaresma and Kevin Dorey, Founders Of Athletic Apparel Brand BELOFORTE

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BELOFORTE founders
By combining high fashion and athletics, Whitney Quaresma and Kevin Dorey created
BELOFORTE, an eco-friendly athletic apparel brand cut and sewn in California. The Founders shared a vision in building a women’s lifestyle brand that promotes positive change in their local and global community through sustainable practices. Whitney uses her experience in athletics and combined it with her admiration of fashion working alongside Kevin’s branding expertise. BELOFORTE was recently picked up by Revolve and will be releasing their new athletic apparel collection in March. We had the chance to ask Whitney and Kevin about the athletic fashion community, their team, and lessons learned along the way.BELOFORTE 

What was your inspiration for BELOFORTE?

BELO, at its core, was inspired in our passion for health and wellness. Both of us have such a deep rooted love for taking care of oneself so that we can all live life to it’s maximum potential.We have always been creative minded people with a lot of drive, and we decided to refocus that drive into a brand and products which promote movement and strong women. We don’t underestimate the power a well styled outfit can have on your mood.Ultimately, we want to show the world what BELOFORTE really means, and it goes way beyond our clothes. We want to be remembered not only by our core products, but by how we brought the words that make up our name “beauty and strength” into the lives of people all over the world. We believe they should be synonymous and our apparel is created with that in mind.

What are your backgrounds?

Kevin: Worked as a civil engineer prior to a brief endeavor in developing a business associated with wellness. Former athlete, and current adventurer with a passion for people, community and the beauty in the world.Whitney: Health and Fitness Specialist, Strength and conditioning Coach, Fitness fanatic, Fashion enthusiast! I love helping people find their best selves.

What does the brand mean to you?

BELOFORTE literally means ‘beauty & strength’ in Portuguese. To us, it it means finding your best self through fitness and one’s fashion. It means defying the odds, not giving in, not giving up! Being kind to others, and true to yourself. Shining your best light on the people around you and leaving them with that positive energy and power that we all have inside of us. Living the life you dream of!Apparel is the one of the easiest ways to express yourself and give people a glimpse into who you are. BELO means, walking out the door every morning with confidence and a purpose, while empowering those around you to find their Beauty and Strength!

How does the fashion and athletic community affect your brand?

The intersection of these two communities drives our business. The athletic community is so powerful, and they are passionate about every aspect of their lives including their active apparel. We were part of this community, and ultimately we saw a hole in the market for active apparel with a more fashion forward aesthetic. We didn’t think there needed to be a clear division. It makes a lot of sense that these two influence each other and overlap in a big way. Everyone wants to be comfortable and look good, and that is exactly what our apparel is about. Brands are now bringing you functional, stylish, transitional pieces that you can wear anywhere! Our aesthetic is very tastefully sexy! You can wear our pieces day and night, out shopping or with some cute heels, as well as to your favorite workout or group class! Everything is made functional for any active endeavor and looks beautiful and unique!

How has your lives changed since launching BELOFORTE?

You always hear about how hard it is to start a business, but until you’ve done it, I think it’s tough to really understand how challenging it can be. What you find however, is despite those things, just how incredible pursuing a dream can be. We work a lot. There are really no days off, but the feeling we get from conceptualizing products, developing them, and working through all of the hurdles is incredibly gratifying. Let’s just say it has been the most beautiful chaos of our lives!

What were some obstacles you encountered along the way?

There were and still are a ton. Everything from building our infrastructure to identifying our sourcing and production partners. One of the biggest hurdles has been getting our product timelines figured out as far as development, sourcing, and production. Right now, our biggest challenge is simply getting the brand in front of as many people as possible.

Describe your team.

Our core team is just us at this point. We work with a development and manufacturing consultant that assist in driving our product development and manufacturing and they are great. In addition, we work with a great PR team that is great at branding, marketing, and promotion. And last, we just brought on a great sales rep to help us reach more customers.

What are they like?

We are all hard working and fun individuals. We find that to be really important. It makes it easier and more enjoyable to take on the challenges of our days. Also, with exception of Kevin, they are all strong, intelligent, driven women.

What is the biggest lesson you learned?

Enjoy each day! There will always be so much to do and sometimes you will have bad news. I have learned to make the best out of a bad situation and push forward. Understanding what is in your control versus what isn’t and simply focusing on doing your best. Making mistakes is inevitable, but making the same mistake twice is not. So learning everyday and applying those lessons to be better prepared for what the future holds.

Describe what it's like being picked up by Revolve.

It was an absolute thrill. We couldn’t be more excited. Revolve is Whitney’s favorite place to shop. And they are the top destination for today’s generation of women to find trends, inspiration and buy incredible clothes. We were honored that among all the new brands available they put their confidence behind BELO and what we are doing. A dream come true.BELOFORTEBELOFORTEBELOFORTEBELOFORTEBELOFORTE

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

How to Build Your Own Startup

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build your own startup
Ever wonder how to build your own startup? The startup world is full of entrepreneurs who want to take their dream business from Point A to point B. Getting your business off its feet can be hard because many people are not equipped with basic business skills. In the startup culture, getting your idea to become profitable is the dream, and it's always a race to set it up. If you're thinking about starting a business, here are some tips to consider to get yourself going.

Network to build your own startup

Look for people who have "been there and done that". These people know what they are doing and can provide you with practical tips and advice on how to start. Also ask about mistakes to avoid and things to watch out for so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

Research Your Market

Market research can tell you if your idea is worth pursuing. Start your research by stating the problem and see if your business idea is the solution. Figure out how many people have this problem, and talk to them to see what they can say through a survey. Check out the competition to see how you are different and figure out how you can beat them.

Find A Mentor to help build your own startup

One of the best ways to start a startup is by finding a mentor that can guide you along the way.  Your mentor can be somebody whom you can bounce ideas off of. Mentors are some of the most important and valuable resource you can tap into. They can help you take your business from idea to success through their guidance and coaching.

Brand Your Business

Branding is not only about choosing a name for your business. It is about your business identity. Choose a name that conveys the idea of your startup or the problem it solves. By this time you should also have a domain name and have marketing materials ready.

Business Plan

A business plan is like a blueprint for your business that tells you what you are going to do and how you’re going to do it. Your business plan should also have an "attack" on how you can "battle" the competition. Determine what you want to accomplish with your business and steps on how you can get there.

Your Workplace

Where you decide to work has an impact on your startup. Some people choose to work at home to save money, while others rent space or share an office with other businesses. Don’t be afraid to experiment on locations for your workplace.

Accelerator Program to help build your own startup

Think about applying for an accelerator program. These are programs that provide startups with coaching, network or small investment to help the business take off quickly.  Take accelerator programs with a  grain of salt, because some of them will require you to part with equity.

Raise Capital

Capital for startups usually comes from the founders. Other startups get capital from venture capitalists, angel investors or loans. These investments can be a big help to startups. However, you should only take capital from sources that they understand. If you are raising capital from outside sources, figure out how much you need to raise and how it will affect your business.Having an idea for a start up is easy. The hard part is in-between the idea and success. For startups, it is crucial that their idea become reality as quickly as possible, since delays can kill the idea. While there is no wrong or right way to start a startup, following the above steps can help save time.
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Business

Tips On Tracking Business Miles

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tracking business miles
Are you one of those people who scramble around for auto deductions every time tax season comes along or do you avoid auto deductions because you think they are not worth the hassle?
Believe it or not, many businesses miss significant tax deductions simply because they do not keep up with tracking business miles. The good news is that tracking business miles is not a big chore. You just need a good system in place and tracking business miles is easy. Here are some tips to consider.

Use An App

Most businessmen use a smartphone and they have apps you can download to keep track of business miles. MileIQ, TripLog and TrackMyDrive are available for iOS and Android. Every time you take a trip, the app records the miles using GPS tracking and then allows you to classify the trips as business, personal, medical and other custom categories. You can also add additional details or purpose for the trips.

Daily Log

You can also use the old paper and pencil method by using a daily log you can keep in your glove compartment. The IRS wants detailed documentation so your logs need to contain date of travel, purpose (client name, meeting with supplier, banking, meeting with accountant, etc) and starting point and destination of every trip. You can also record the actual mileage if you want by taking note of the odometer meeting from the starting point to the end point.If you are only using 1 car for business and personal use, record the odometer reading at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year so that you can compute business use percentage.

Sampling Method

This method assumes that you travel almost the same amount for business every year. It also entails the use of detailed appointment books. Under this method, you keep track of your business mileage using a sample figure for a period and then use it to extrapolate your mileage for the whole year. You must keep a record of your mileage for the first three months for example and back it up with appointment books. You don’t have to use three months. You can use 1 week, 2 months or any time duration you think that best represents your business mileage for the year.

GPS Mileage Tracker

There are tracking devices you can install in your car so that it can keep track of business and personal miles. Using a Wifi system, the GPS device records driving and then uploads it to the internet so that mileage logs are created automatically. Some of them have business buttons you can push so that trips are set automatically to business. The IRS trusts GPS mileage trackers because they are usually tamper proof and backed up so that they can protect information in the case of an audit.Keep good records to maximize tax deductions that you are entitled to with the IRS. This way, you won't pay more than you owe and won’t get slaughtered by the IRS auditor.
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Business

5 Best Gaming Mouses for Work and Play

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Ever wondered if there's such a thing as a gaming mouse that's work good for work? At Owner's Magazine we value our readers and understand that you're probably scrolling through this article on your phone, tablet, or worse on a trackpad. An entrepreneur shouldn't have to separate work and play. We've reviewed several other products for entrepreneurs who seek tech gadgets that doesn't require compromising. And today we've reviewing the best Gaming Mouse for both work and play. We want to give a shoutout to our sponsors and supporters who send us amazing products to review.

5. Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum

DPI: 12,000Interface: Wired/Wireless 2.4GHzButtons: 11Ergonomic: AmbidextrousFeatures: Customizable RGB Lighting, 30 hour battery life, removable side buttonsCost: $79 refurbished from TangaWireless gaming has always been plagued with lag issues, which is why true gamers tend to shy away from bluetooth or wireless mouse. The G900 is here to change that once and for all. Logitech was able to get the G900's polling rate down to 1 millisecond on a 2.4GHz connection. Combine that with accelerated coverage of DPI range, zero smoothing and filtering, the G900 is a serious contender for that precious cargo space in your travel bag. Being wireless means it'll pair with just about any laptop (even mac) and it's ambidextrous design makes it compatible with all type of users.

4. Asus ROG Gladius II

DPI: Up to 12,000Features: 50g acceleration, 1000Hz USB polling rate, removeable left and right buttons, Omron switches, RGB lightingPrice: $99 from B&HDesigned to grab attention and also excel in performance. The Asus ROG Gladius 2 comes with swappable buttons, a clickable scroll wheel, and a sensitivity toggle. The RGB lighting covers the mouse from top to bottom and is customizable, so you can pimp it to look like the rest of your gear if that's what your heart desire. Despite the comprehensive list of features and the hefty price tag, it doesn't come with swappable weights. This mouse is a perfect fit for entrepreneurs on the go and seeking a mouse that would allow them to snap a few noobs in between meetings at coffee shops.

3. Corsair Glaive RGB

DPI: Up to 16,000Features: Interchangeable thumb grips, three-zone backlighting, Pixart 3367 sensor, Omron switches, DPI status lightsPrice: $60 from AmazonTaking a step down from the super high end priced mouse and entering the more affordable range we have the Corsair Glaive RGB.  Corsair is a company known for their PC parts and not known for their gaming peripherals. Entering the gaming scene, Corsair needed to innovate competitive edge, resulting in a mouse built for comfort, with a coating of soft touch paint, and swappable thumb grips.

2. Razer DeathAdder Elite

DPI: Up to 16,000Features: True tracking at 450 Inches Per Second, Resolution Accuracy of 99.4%, Mechanical mouse switches (up to 50 million clicks), Razer Chroma lighting, Up to 450 IPS / 50 g acceleration, Razer Synapse softwarePrice: $67 from AmazonRazer is a well known brand in e-sports gaming and especially gaming equipment. It's no surprise that at least one razer mouse would make it on the list. The Razer Deathadder Elite is an affordable and powerful gaming mouse that carries all the essential pro-gaming necessities and nothing extra. You can also change the DPI of the mouse on the fly via buttons beneath the scroll wheel. Although the DeathAdder doesn't have the bells and whistles as some of the other mouse on this list it does come with beautiful RGB lights, changing the DPI on the fly, easy-to-buttons, and grippable scroll wheel makes the DeathAdder a formidable mouse for the price.

1. SteelSeries Sensei 310

DPI: Up to 12,000Features: Ambidextrous design, one-to-one tracking up to 3,500 CPI, 50-million click life spanPrice: $60 from Amazon - it's so popular it's out of stock!And the ultimate mouse for both gaming and work is the SteelSeries Sensei 310.Steel series have always been known for making exceptional gaming products and their latest The SteelSeries Sensei 310 is no exception. Steelseries priced the mouse competitively to mice priced double it's price. It's a simple no-frills design that's not meant to show off your "gamer side" or be an attention magnet on your desk. If there is such a thing as a Mature gamer, Steelseries definitely made this mouse for that specific audience. Although lacking the bells and whistles of other mice on this list, the performance, reliability, and impressive sensitivity makes the SteelSeries Sensei 310 a must-have for both gamers and the average everyday user looking for a solid performing mouse. The mouse is so popular you may have a hard time tracking it down online. 

Conclusion

These were the 5 best mouse that we reviewed this half of 2017. No matter which mouse you choose on the list, you'll be satisfy with. Ultimately choosing a mouse is a personal choice and everyone's preferences are different. Some of us want our mouse to be edgy, flasy, and highly customizable. While others want a no-frills plug & play gaming mouse that can also work with their Mac while traveling. Whichever mouse you choose, just make sure you also grab a good mouse pad to go along with it. A mouse is only as good as the surface its on after all.
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