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Bianca Gates is a first-generation American, her parents having immigrated to the U.S. from Latin America. As such, she says, after waitressing her way through college at UC Irvine, she was expected to get a safe job with a 401(k) plan and to live with her parents until she was married.
Things haven’t gone exactly that way, but one can imagine Gates’s parents feeling pretty satisfied with their daughter’s trajectory nevertheless. The reason: Gates, along with cofounder Marisa Sharkey, are the cofounders of Birdies, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based footwear brand that has made it chic to step out in shoes like look like elegant slippers, and which just raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from Slow Ventures and earlier investor Forerunner Ventures.
Brand - Woman - Pair - Someone - Likelihood
Sure, another e-commerce brand, who cares. Actually, if you’re a woman and don’t own a pair yourself yet or know someone who does, there’s a high likelihood that will change soon, including because one of the company’s biggest advocates to date has been none other than Megan Markle, the actress turned Duchess of Sussex, whose fashion choices are copiously detailed by fashion sites around the world, copied by their readers, then picked up by readers’ friends.
Interestingly, Markle was never meant to step outside in the slippers. But before we explain, let’s back up a bit first, to Gates’s earlier career, which is a familiar story but also underscores the importance of grit — as well as the importance of making the right connections.
Gates - Birdie - Offices - Union - Street
As Gates tells it from Birdie’s offices on Union Street, a kind of yuppie haven in San Francisco, “My family was living in Santa Ana and I was commuting every day to Irvine and I just wanted to spread my wings and move to a big city with a...
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