Arthur Co-founder Leigh Sevin on Starting a Business (+ the 3 Essential Wardrobe Pieces You Need)


Interview by Breanne Thomas

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to found Arthur?

There was always a part of me that wanted to run my own company, even before I knew what type of company or what industry. While I was an American Studies major at Georgetown, I dedicated all my extracurricular time to learning about business and trying to figure out what I wanted professionally.

My foray into startups came when I had a summer internship with Levo (then the Levo League) working under the CEO Caroline Ghosn. That internship put me in the mindset to pursue the entrepreneurial life after college, which is why I applied to Venture for America.

As a VFA fellow, I worked for two years launching Zeel Massage On Demandin South Florida. I quickly began to see many of my peers found their own companies and I realized there really was nothing holding me back.

An early idea for a personal wishlist platform brought my co-founder Jinesh and I together in late 2015. Between then and launching Arthur, we played with countless ideas, but always with the goal of finding a better way to navigate the e-commerce space. Thanks to VFA’s accelerator in Philadelphia, we were able to dedicate ourselves to Arthur full-time this past summer and develop an MVP. Now we’re serving clients nationally, providing them with a quick and easy way to find the best options out there by pairing them with stylists.

What’s been the most surprising thing about building a company around personal shopping?
The most surprising thing about personal shopping is how much the real value comes from styling; not just helping our clients find great individual pieces but making sure they have access to the right complements and the right advice around how to match everything.

When we were getting started, we figured we’d follow the traditional model of breaking our recommendations down by product types. We offered our clients collections of pants, shirts, and dresses, etc. However, immediately we heard that what our clients actually struggled with (and where we could be most helpful) was not finding pieces but understanding what to pair them with. Thanks to that feedback, we quickly moved to presenting everything in outfit format and making sure our stylists had an opportunity to provide tips and expertise along with each piece.

What are 3 pieces you think every professional woman needs in her wardrobe?

  • A well-tailored blazer — I know it’s cliche, but at the end of the day a blazer is incredibly versatile and functional. It can make the most casual outfit business casual and also offers a great way to transition from day to night.
  • A go-to LBD — It doesn’t even have to be black! To me the idea of the “little black dress” is just a single item you can throw on that you love. It’s timeless, fits you like a glove, and feels like an extension of your best self. The one reason I stress the dress is that it needs to be a “one piece” that is an outfit all on its own. My “LBD” is actually a navy blue jumpsuit — I’ve worn it to weddings, graduations, and even just a night out with flats when I had nothing else to wear.
  • A stylish watch — I’m a huge fan of watches. I think they’re the perfect combination of fashion and function, and work as great chic and feminine accessories in the most corporate of environments. Given that a watch is not something you need to change up constantly, it’s also a great piece to invest in since you’ll be wearing it all the time.
  • Some runners-up — The fit-everything work bag, comfortable pumps, and a statement pair of flats.