Meet Franci Girard from Brooklyn, New York. After pursing an MBA at Harvard, Franci launched her own direct-to-consumer fashion brand, The Sixes, which caters to women 5’9’ and taller. Franci explains the challenges of launching her business, how she managed her anxiety, and what it means for her to be powerful. To Franci, being powerful is being unapologetic about who you are and what you believe in. This story was submitted in collaboration with ENVSN.
What did you study in school and why?
I studied International Relations and Mandarin Chinese.
What is your job/career?
I started my career as a professional volleyball player in Europe before returning to New York to work in financial services at Goldman Sachs. I was there for five years before I decided to pursue my MBA at Harvard. I’ve always had an interest in fashion entrepreneurship and decided to launch my own business after grad school. Now I’m the founder and CEO of a direct- to-consumer fashion brand, The Sixes, that caters to women 5’9” and taller. We currently specialize in fashionable trousers that are made to fit a taller frame.
What is a challenge you have faced or currently face and how are you overcoming it?
Building a healthy business is an entrepreneurial journey, but there’s also a very personal journey that takes place as well. I’m a natural introvert and have suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’ve always found myself in places where being an introverted person wasn’t necessarily a coveted trait (finance, business school, entrepreneurship), and so I’ve always had to find the balance between being social and taking time for myself to recharge. Now as an entrepreneur it’s paramount that I be proactive about building relationships and seeking opportunities to grow my business. I ensure that I carve out time on my calendar (because if it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening!) for activities that recharge me like chillin’ at my apartment and watching movies or working out. I’ve been more deliberate about putting myself in situations that normally cause anxiety because the more I experience a situation the less daunting it becomes for me. I’ve always done well by finding the balance between pushing myself and giving myself room to breathe and recuperate.
What does it mean for you to be powerful?
Being powerful means being comfortable in my own skin and not being afraid to speak up about the things I believe in or want. There are so many things in media and society that communicate to women that there’s something wrong with us: not skinny enough, not light-skinned enough, hair isn’t long enough, not smart enough, too bitchy and the list goes on. I think it’s extremely powerful when women—black women especially—are unapologetic about who they are and what they believe in.
Do you have a favorite product or item you love that makes you feel great?
Shameless plug, but I love the limited edition feather-print denim Celeta pant from my brand, The Sixes. I’ve always had a hard time finding clothes that fit me well and that allowed me to fully express my personal style. When I look good I feel good, so wearing clothes that were made for me makes me feel like I can take over the world.
What are your passions, hobbies, interests?
There are so many! I’m passionate about my friendships. I’ve been blessed to have some amazing people in my life who manage to be successful, funny, empathetic, patient, ambitious and just all-around great people to me. I’m passionate about traveling and learning about new places and people. I’m passionate about building wealth for my family and in my community. I’m passionate about black people. Our resilience, diverse cultures, humor and creativity consistently inspire me. I’m passionate about my family members who have empowered me and supported me on this wild entrepreneurial ride. I also love building things. Right now I’m passionate about building The Sixes into a brand that truly delivers on its core value proposition and has staying power.
Is there anything else you would like to share?