Dresses and Charity

Sometimes. Well, maybe its more like occasionally. Ok, ok it seems like hardly ever that us busy moms get a chance to put the kids down early and get the sitter to stay late so we can dress up, go out, and be the us we used to know. You remember her right? The version of you that knew the trendy restaurants, the coolest bars, and all the corners dark enough to hide the best sort of trouble?

02know that for a lot of us, when it is time to go out, our biggest trouble these days is finding something to wear. Since I launched Chef Koochooloo, my own start-up, it seems that I can hardly find the time for me. This is true for most of us, working moms, who have to balance career, motherhood. Well, thanks to a chance meeting at an event for My Runway, I met and have gotten to know Jia Wertz, the founder and creative director of Studio 15. As a fellow woman entrepreneur, I was interested in Jia’s story and can’t wait to share it with you! Jia launched a women’s dress boutique featuring pieces designed to get you into or out of whatever the night brings you.

The dresses at Studio 15 (www.shopstudio15.com) reflect the choices of someone who still has a crush on clothes and fashion and feeling like you’re on a date or a girl’s night out. Jia has curated the dresses collection to carry high quality dresses at a price that won’t make you feel guilty.

 

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Best of all is that Jia has created a partnership with Kleos Microfinance Group, a nonprofit that works to support women entrepreneurs in Uganda start their own businesses. A portion of the proceeds of every dress sold is donated to Kleos. There, is that enough to make you not feel guilty and maybe, just maybe feel a little bit good about treating yourself?

You can check out Jia’s blog at www.catwalk-chic.com where she is currently GIVING AWAY a Rebecca Minkoff bag (you can enter to win here) or visit www.shopstudio15.com to get more ideas about style and current trends.

 

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Trending Fashion: Who Decides What’s Hot or What’s Not?

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll already know that I love fashion! It’s been especially exciting to follow the increasing convergence of fashion and technology, and observe how these two industries often interact and influence each other. This led me to consider the question, “Who really drives fashion trends: the designers or the consumers?”

Fashion designers drive trends by using certain fabrics, colors, or silhouettes in their collections, which are then displayed on catwalks in fashion capitals around the world. But it’s also known that major retailers have teams dedicated to fashion forecasting and trend research for each season. Why? Retailers need to know consumer attitude and behavior toward fashion trends to determine which designer’s collections to purchase for their stores. While designers certainly create trends, the successes and failures of these trends ultimately lie in the hands of consumers. And therefore, it’s clear that designers do listen and pay attention to consumer preference and activity.

Let’s use the recent Oscars as an example. This event is unquestionably the biggest night in fashion, and it was exciting as usual to see celebrity fashion trends on the red carpet! You can bet that fashion brands were also on the edge of their seats, waiting to see which trends resonated with viewers. Knowing that consumer feedback is very valuable, how do brands gather data about consumers’ trend preferences? They use social media analytics engines that allow them to quickly analyze data from many sources including social media. With an event as big as the Oscars, fashion critics and viewers alike voiced their opinions on the best and worst celebrity fashions via different social media platforms, and this data was captured each time a fashion opinion was Facebooked or tweeted. What were the results?

• While critics were wowed by Lupita Nyong’o in her custom Prada gown, Jennifer Lawrence was by far the favorite for best dressed among social sharers. This contrast proves that brands must listen to both sides of the conversation to fully understand consumer preferences.

• While nude-colored dresses were the most talked about at the Oscars, it was the color blue that had the highest positive sentiment. You can bet that blue will be showing up in the color palette for future seasons!

(See the infographics below for more details. SAP’s Social Sentiment Analysis tool is behind the data presented here.)

Oscar Fashions Best Dressed

Oscars Colors
Social media is truly a powerful tool in the hands of consumers! Fashion brands must listen to consumer feedback on social media and blogs to gain valuable insight into which trends will succeed or flop. Consumer preferences also help brands predict which fashion trends will be successful in future seasons.

What are your thoughts on how fashion trends develop? Do you have any favorite trends at the moment?

Feedback? Drop me a line on: www.laylasabourian.com or send a tweet: @laylasabourian

Wild About Prints and Wearable Tech: Geek Chic Column

As a young woman growing up in the Middle East, I always dreamt of France and Italy as the true centers of fashion. It wasn’t until I lived and worked in Parisian luxury houses that I discovered just how magnificent Middle Eastern fashion truly was. Given this edition’s focus on World Fashion, I thought I would take a look at women in the Middle East who are making disruptive contributions to Geek Chic culture.

Let’s start in Beirut, Lebanon, where a 21-year-old entrepreneur, Hiba Kadri, is paving the way for fashion tech companies in the Middle East. Hiba founded Young Wilderness, a women’s apparel e-commerce, where she makes printed leggings, bodies, crop tops, exclusive sexy black and sheer leggings called the Black Pack and a large selection of authentic one-piece-only vintages. If you ask most Lebanese Millennial, the way Hiba and her partner Yasmine Kara got famous was through rather “geeky” methods!

Photos of Hiba Kadri and Yasmine Kara

Hiba Kadri and Yasmine Kara, Co-Founders of Young Wilderness

Young Wilderness started building hype on Instagram before knowing where the brand was headed or even having a product at hand. They posted fashion inspirations, items they wished they could have in Lebanon, along with quotes and behind-the-scenes images of what they were making – even engaging their newly-found audience in the choices of prints and cuts. With only four months in the market, Young Wilderness has reached more than 1,462 followers on Instagram and 4,527 likes on Facebook.

Young Wilderness Apparel

Young Wilderness Apparel and Instagrams

Young Wilderness Apparel

A key to their success includes their innovative approach to trusting their customers and providing a unique service. Young Wilderness clients can order items without any payment or commitment, and pay in cash upon receiving the goods.

Hard at work at expanding their collection into men’s and more variety in women’s wear, Hiba and Yasmine want to provide their customers with more choices in how they can make their outfits more unique at affordable prices. There is nothing Middle Eastern Millennial find more annoying than finding something they really want and not being able to have it.

Heading west in the Middle East, we reach Turkey where there is a strong presence of phenomenal fashion designers, and a recent shift in trend from virtually no female participation in technology to a growing number of talented women who are shaping the convergence of fashion and tech.

One great example is the chic and ever elegant Ayse Ildeniz. Prior to Ms. Ildeniz’s current role as vice president of the New Devices Group and general manager of Strategy and Business Development at Intel Corporation in Santa Clara, Ms. Ildeniz served as the Intel Turkey country manager, and marketing director for the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Africa region heading over 67 countries.

Ayse IldenizHer achievements could use an entire edition of FSHN to cover, but what is most exciting to us is that Ms. Ildeniz is currently heading up Intel’s collaboration with Barneys New York, Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and Opening Ceremony to create what I foresee as the most stunning wearable technology bracelet in the market. Since this collaboration was announced in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), many speculations have been made, so I took it upon myself to ask Ms. Ildeniz a few questions that I knew you would want to know:

1. Were you the initiator of this innovation? What made you think of the idea?
I was part of a very talented team who was behind the collaborations with Opening Ceremony, Barneys New York, and CFDA. Smart fashion is a long-term strategy for Intel. We live in a world in which consumers want access to data 24/7, and the most logical way to deliver a seamless experience is to integrate this into accessories and clothing. We also know that for a person to wear technology it must look good – people are passionate about what they put on themselves, they have a strong emotional connection to these devices. Thus, technology and fashion houses/designers must begin to collaborate to make the vision a reality.

Currently, much of the wearable technology revolution is driven by technology companies, and we believe fashion houses and designers should be in the driving seat in designing wearable technologies.

2. Do you think this will be a bracelet embraced by the tech chic fashionistas, or given that it is being designed by Opening Ceremony, will the main audience be the elegant corporate shoppers?
We admire Opening Ceremony’s philosophy in establishing new norms and its open, global approach toward design by embracing other design houses within their own retail stores, which complements Intel’s focus on innovation and support of open standards. We believe designs from Opening Ceremony will appeal to fashionistas and corporate users alike.

3. When can we expect our first bracelet?
The intent is to bring the smart bracelet to market later in the year. We are now working with Opening Ceremony on next steps of designing the product.

4. Will you and your team be personally involved in the design direction, or will your role focus purely on the technology?
Yes, functionalities of the design go hand in hand with aesthetics. For example, performance, battery life, size, and features will impact on the aesthetic design of the product. Our team of technology experts will be working with Opening Ceremony closely on coming up with a design.

Feedback? Drop me a line on: www.laylasabourian.com or send a tweet: @laylasabourian

FSHN Holiday Issue 2013: Geek Chic Column

I am excited to announce my second edition of the ‘Geek Chic’ column, published in the 2013 Holiday edition of FSHN.  Never thought I would see myself in the same printed magazine as Paris Hilton!! The magazine is truly a piece of art and I am simply thrilled to be a part of it.  The next edition will cover fashion-tech ideas related to Valentine’s Day, Love and Weddings, so if you have any ideas on what I should cover, drop me a line.

Geek Chic Column:

It’s happened to all of us—that awkward family moment where some clueless relative gives you the most horrifying accessory you’ve ever laid eyes on.  It’s Christmas Eve, so you force all of your internal energy into a kind smile, reminding yourself, “It’s the thought that counts.” You hear yourself utter the words, “Oh thank you, darling. You shouldn’t have…” But really, what you’re thinking is, “Why couldn’t Aunt Sally just give me a gift card?”

Shaul Weisband (New York based CMO of Jifiti) has a solution to this precise problem, in the form of an app. His research showed that over 86% of gift-givers prefer to send a real and thoughtful gift, while 78% of the recipients prefer to receive a gift card. Why not create an app that helps both parties? This holiday season, geek chic technologies like Jifiti are leaving no excuses for even the most clueless gift-givers. So be kind and considerate, buy a copy of FSHN, bookmark this page, and make sure everyone you know takes note of the following applications:

Jifiti

jiffitiIs it really true? A gifting application that allows you to send a fashionable gift from leading retailers directly to your friend’s email or cell phone? Yes. Jifiti turns a fashion item into a digital gift card for the recipient to use in a store near them or online. You don’t have to worry about shipping, as the recipient deals with that on their own. What I loved about Jifiti (other than the fact that they include products from Banana Republic and the Limited) is that your non tech-savvy friends don’t even need to have the app installed to receive their gift.  It took me only a few minutes to browse through recommendations (most of them good ones) and find the perfect gift for my husband. My one criticism is the redemption process, which leaves room for improvement. Even though my husband received a notification on his Facebook wall immediately, he has not yet been able to redeem his gift. He received the perplexing error message “Insert Jifiti Screen shot,” and we still need to troubleshoot that. It’s a bummer to run into that kind of problem when you’re just trying to get your present.

My Runway

My Runway - Screenshot 07Created by SAP, the My Runway app allows you to follow the brands you love and gives personalized updates on what’s new, what’s trending, and what’s on sale. You can also collect fashion items in your wish list. With My Runway you can express your unique style, and inspire your friends to buy you exactly what you want. So keep tab on your friends’ wish list items this holiday season or check out what trendy items I am wishing for by following me on the app under the username Layla.

Toast

screen568x568Holidays are a time of celebration so let’s make a toast to the Berlin-based mobile app developer as it turns one year old this fall. Since they pushed their social wish list application for iOS onto iTunes, Toast has remained relatively quiet, so we figured we’d give them a little bit of the spotlight they deserve. Toast enables you to create a universal wish list from items you spot online, in physical stores or even intangible services like a night out with friends. Like My Runway, you can also view your friends’ wishes and add items from them to your own lists.  I loved that there is actually a category titled “Geek” where I discovered quite a few items I had not yet seen, and cannot wait until Toast improves and actually lets me buy each piece I want (currently I often get error messages saying items are not available for sale).

Still wondering what to give this holiday season? Check out some of my geeky discoveries on Toast. I am sure you will have lots of fun browsing through Toast Geek category.

Samsung Smartwatch

Samsung-Galaxy-Gear-Smartwatch-This would not be called the Geek Chick column if we didn’t share our opinion on the T Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch.  We know the critics have been harsh, but after one of my friends showcased his silver one with the orange band, I have to admit it was not as bulky as all of the complaints suggested. I can’t comment on the features because yes indeed you have to integrate with the Galaxy note 3 tablets if you really want the full experience, but the design iconography is simple and elegant.  It is also great to have a watch that takes pictures when biking or exercising, but of course the quality of the images are not nearly as good as what your smartphone offers.  Rumor has it that there will soon be a white-gold version out, but I’m hoping they address some of the critical suggestions for improvement before investing in the gold version!

Visit FSHN Magazine for the entire 2013 Holiday Issue!

Happy Holidays and feel free to drop me a line on my blog (www.laylasabourian.com), or a quick hello on twitter: @laylasabourian

Geek Chic Column on FSHN

I have been blogging a bit less these days on my personal blog, because I have been writing for various publications including the fabulous FSHN magazine. This is the article I got published on their Haute Couture Edition for September. I am looking for new fashion startups to highlight for the next edition, so drop me a line if you are interested.

Silicon Valley Embracing Haute Couture

Layla articleFashion and technology seem to be increasingly playing off of each other. The fashion world is embracing technology and I am not just talking about your Google Glass. Kate Spade and Juicy Couture are designing iPhone and Android accessories, Dolce and Gabbana has tablet covers and Swarovski has a crystal 4GB USB drive.

It’s time to meet a few new comers to Bay Area and how their technology is embracing Haute Couture.

Speak Chic?

I don’t get picked on for my accent that often, so you can imagine my surprise when a good friend told me I had to meet Monique Woodard and speak Chic.

It was over coffee with the San Francisco entrepreneur that I delightfully discovered this mobile app that teaches you how to correctly pronounce fashion brands.

With the popularity of flash sales sites from renowned haute couture designers and diffusion lines, more people have access to high fashion. Speak Chic came out of Monique’s desire to create an app that went beyond showing fashion to help users become fashion savvy. Still having trouble pronouncing Shu Uemura? Check out Speak Chic.

Stylend

Are you still in love with your Lanvin, but it is collecting dust in your closet. Rent it out on Sytlend.com and make another girl feel like Cindrella for one night.

Lona Alia Duncan has created an amazing app that is embracing haute couture by allowing women to monetize their designer dresses they purchased for thousands of dollars and only wore once.  Members of Stylend.com are able to extend the life of their dresses by renting them out to other stylish women in San Francisco. Now women can justify their expensive purchases by having a platform to share in the cost.

StyleSavvy

ipadStyleSavvy is a Fashion iPad app that lets you easily shop, style and organize complete looks, including DVF, Tibi, Herve Leger and more. Now you can easily add and style your new gown with the shoes and accessories from various brands to create your virtual look.

Rebecca O’Dell founder and coder of StyleSavvy looked at the phases women fo trhough when organizing their wardrobe, and optimized each to enhance the shopping experience making it engaging and entertaining.

With more than 2,00 brands StyleSavvy allows to refine the products to a specific outfit and scroll through the results to find the best design and cut for your body.

FashionFinder

ff2FashionFinder, founded by Henrik Jeberg was launched in Copenhagen nine months ago and is making its debut in San Francisco. While cornering a seemingly untapped market through a “Yelp meets Instagram for Fashionistas” Mobile App (IOS and Android), it is an entirely new approach to engaging fashion lovers online, by focusing on the smaller individual and local muliti-brand boutiques.  You’ll soon be able to find haute couture designers you could not even imagine existed through this app.

FashionFinder has become the de facto standard for fashion shops and shoppers in Copenhagen, and are expanding rapidly in the US.

 

Feedback for Layla?
Drop her a line on her blog: www.laylasabourian.com
or send her a tweet: @laylasabourian
Photos taken by Cindy Ramirez @CindyreLLaA

An exclusive evening with San Francisco’s Fashion Bloggers!

On August 10th, my good friends Jia Wertz catwalk-chic.com and Hadi Labarang mymusebox.com invited me to an exclusive meetup sponsored by JustFab.

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 7.19.57 PMMe, Hadi, and Jia

In case you didn’t already know, Just Fab is a monthly VIP membership program which gives fashionistas access to the hottest shoes and handbags. As a JustFab member, celebrity stylists review each individual’s style before searching through hundreds of styles recommendations based on personal style and fashion preferences. Living in Bay area you don’t get much of a chance to dress fancy so the meetup was a treat. At the meetup where we each received a really nice gift bag and had the opportunity to meet and interact with other fashion bloggers.

Here are some of the things I liked about JustFab when I checked them out:
– The selection:
JustFab has an incredible lineup of shoes for any occasion. When you first open the website you feel like a kid in a candy store!

– The style recommendations:
Picking shoes can be kind of a struggle but with JustFab you not only get someone else to help you out with the decision making process, you get a personalized selection of shoes depending on the survey you take.

– The price:
These shoes are a steal! At only $39.95 you get high-fashion shoes at an affordable price. At best of all shipping is free :)

-The Marketing genius, what a great way to engage with local bloggers in each town and offer the gift bags and a gift certificate!

 

Showing off our shoes :)

Showing off our shoes :)

What are the Secret Ingredients to a Successful Fashion App?

Since I have started working on My Runway, SAP’s recently released fashion app, this has been a question I wanted to explore in debt, and I decided to include it as as part of my monthly thought-leadership meetings about Marketing: First Thursdays Silicon Valley.

SAP served as the official sponsor for this thought-provoking panel on fashion and technology, and the Art Institute of San Francisco graciously hosted us. This unique discussion engaged innovative and game-changing minds in fashion, business, media, and technology about how the definition of fashion is changing, and how brands leveraging technology to reach consumers are leading above others.

It felt really great that SAP embraced my ‘out of the box Marketing idea’ and it was a great opportunity to see SAP’s recently launched consumer engagement initiative, led by Kijoon Lee in action. The panel served to showcase how SAP and partner-built applications can work together to enable business to connect to consumers in powerful new ways.

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The panel explored diverse perspectives from Forbes contributor and “lifecaster” Sarah Austin, the winner of America’s Next Top Model, Naima Mora, SAP vice president and the visionary behind My Runway: Li Gong; author, entrepreneur and publisher/editor of Adventures in the Stiletto Jungle Stephanie Rahlfs; and Paul Friedland, Director of Marketing, Levi Strauss & Co.

Our discussion followed up by a Lifestyle Fashion show, organized by SAP’s Fashion Ambassadors and Miss Yolanda Wright, and an emotional book signing from Naima Mora. There were many up and coming young models from San Francisco and Oakland who attended the event and were highly inspired by her presence.

I was really honored to host Naima Mora, who flew to San Francisco exclusively for this event and go shopping with her before the event, allowing My Runway app to be our guide!  My favorite part of the evening was the intimate tea with our distinguished panelists, Naima, and the lovely Tracy Saville and Drisha Leggittas as well as one of our top Fashion Ambassadors, Cindy Ramirez, Global Head of Design and User Experience: Sam Yen, Global Product Lead, Brian Reaves, and Kijoon Lee (VP of Global Marketing and Innovation).

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 12.00.39 PM

Naima has been actively using My Runway since her visit, and you can interact directly with her via My Runway, her username is Naima Mora!

For those of you not yet familiar, My Runway is a great new (and free!) social shopping app that allows fashion enthusiasts to follow the brands they love, and get personalized updates on what’s new, what is trending, and what’s on sale.

SAP’s “My Runway” app uses real-time analytics to help fashion designers and retailers bring the latest trends to 100,000 consumers.

Here is a short videoabout the event, you can also watch the entire live streaming to hear all of the great insights.

Check out some of our amazing photos from the event, taken by SAP’s photographer: Allison Cheryl!

A taste of San Francisco’s fashion scene at Fashion on The Square!

Last Sunday, I was invited to attend the 9th Annual Fashion on The Square (FOTS) by the talented Ms. Y’Anad Burrell!  It was undoubtedly a memorable experience and I had a great night.

This event was located at the luxe InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco. While I was waiting for the show to begin it was exciting to be surrounded by so many people who were passionate about fashion and even more, the cause this show supported. FOTS was founded by the lovely Y’Anad Burrell, who was also the host of the show. She wanted to challenge herself by producing a upscale show that also benefited a number of local non-profit organizations.

As the night progressed, the organizers were finally ready to let us in. Despite holding VIP and Press passes, there were constant holdups and just entering the ballroom turned into a chaotic experience. I was also disappointed to learn that the press conference had been cancelled. But after a long wait (painfully in my new stilletos, it was finally time for the show to begin!

Me with one of My Runway's Fashion Ambassador's, Leona right before the show!

Me with one of My Runway’s Fashion Ambassador’s, Leona right before the show!

Here are some highlights from the show:

The show started off with my favorite designer of the night, B Michael. What I loved about his designs was that they were looks I could envision myself in, even though it was still a high fashion line. His balance between high fashion and everyday fashion quickly won me over!

My favorite B Michael design.

My favorite B Michael design. The color was breathtaking!

Next up, was Roc Rio, a menswear line founded by famous rapper Sean P. Diddy  Combs. It proved to be one of the more bizarre segments of the fashion shows. It quickly went from flashy to little clothing at all. Its extremities made this segment my least favorite.

Sean John models lined up for their finale.

Sean John models lined up for their finale.

Afterwards came the student designer segment. I was enthralled by the whimsical and creative designs that the students produced.  I was also impressed with sophistication of some of these styles.

An imaginative design by one of the students.

An imaginative design by one of the students.

One of the most popular segments was undoubtedly the kids fashion sponsored by JC Penny’s. Though the fashion fell flat, the kids were incredibly amusing and cute!

These models flashed an adorable pose!

These models flashed an adorable pose!

The show ended with one of San Francisco’s most celebrated designers, Colleen Quen, who had just reemerged into the fashion world after a bout with breast cancer. Though it was obvious some of her designs were dated, she presented some of the most high fashion and elegant designs of the night and I loved how she incorporated nature’s motifs into her looks.

A great shot of one of Colleen's most delicate pieces!

A great shot of one of Colleen’s most delicate pieces!

Though its been dubbed the “Largest West Coast Outdoor Fashion Show,” FOTS was neither outdoor or “the largest” but nevertheless it was a lavish affair and a definitive part of San Francisco’s high fashion scene. Something that I was incredibly happy to have been a part of!

 

A Tory Burch bag for My Runway’s very first Twitter Contest!

Who knew the topic of fashion and career was so hot?  My Runway and I are very excited to host a distinguished panel on Thursday night answering your questions live, however, we know not everyone can make it the event.

So why not do something special for all of you?

Join the conversation, share your stories with My Runway team, or send us a tweet using #SAPContest and #ToryBurch with your questions or comments on whether fashion can affect your career.

The person whose tweet gets the highest # of retweets will win a gorgeous parisian blue kelsey clutch bag from Tory Burch. The contest begins this evening at 4pm PST and will end on Thursday June 27th at 8pm PST.  Please review all contest guidelines below to participate.

My Runway Twitter Contest

Tory Burch and My Runway Twitter Contest

PARTICIPATION: This contest is open to all individuals who meet the eligibility requirements stated below (“Contestants”).

PRIZE: One Tory Burch bag.

CONTEST: This contest ends Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 8 PM PST.

The Contestant whose tweet about the fashion topic – “How fashion and design effects my career” – receives the greatest number of re-tweets will be deemed the winner of a Tory Burch bag.  The number of re-tweets will be determined as follows:

  • To enter you must post a tweet regarding the topic “How fashion and design effects my career” with the hashtags #SAPContest and #ToryBurch (“Qualifying Tweet”).
  • You may post one or more Qualifying Tweets but the number of re-tweets will be counted with respect to any single Qualifying Tweet.
  • The number of re-tweets, with respect to any single Qualifying Tweet that you post, will be tracked by SAP.  However, we recommend that you send a screenshot of your Twitter account showing the number of re-tweets with respect to any single Qualifying Tweet and your Twitter user name via Twitter to @laylasabourian or @myrunwayapp.  If you wish for your screenshot to be considered as evidence of the number of re-tweets of your Qualifying Tweet, it must be received no later than 8 PM PST on June 27, 2013.  You may not create multiple accounts under Twitter and re-tweet your Qualifying Tweet.

In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by which Contestant (amongst those who have tied) has the highest number of re-tweets as of June 28, 2013 at 5 PM PST.  SAP will track the number of re-tweets.  However, we recommend that you send a screenshot of your Twitter account showing the number of re-tweets with respect to any single Qualifying Tweet and your Twitter user name via Twitter to @laylasabourian or @myrunwayapp no later than 5 PM PST on June 28, 2013.  In the event of a subsequent tie, the winner will be determined by which Contestant (amongst those who have tied again) has the highest number of re-tweets as of 5 PM PST on July 1, 2013.  This procedure will be repeated until one Contestant has the highest number of re-tweets.  This contest and any tiebreakers will be determined on weekdays.  If any Contestants remain tied as of 5 PM PST on a Friday, the next day for measuring re-tweets will be 5 PM PST on the next Monday.  If a Contestant has posted multiple Qualifying Tweets, only the Qualifying Tweet that was the subject of the original tie shall be considered for tie-breaker purposes.

If you are the winner of a prize, you must sign a contest affidavit and release in order to receive your prize.

ELIGIBILITY: You must be 18 years or older to participate.  You must be a resident of the United States in order to participate.  The following individuals are not eligible to participate: (1) employees of and family members employed by SAP AG, SAP America, Inc., their affiliates and subsidiaries; (2) employees of and family members employed by, or in any other way affiliated with or related to, government entities, government officials or any other person or entity in the public sector.

OTHER: Taxes and/or any additional costs or fees incurred by the prize winner in regards to winning the prize or prize use are the sole responsibility of the prize winner.  This contest is void wherever prohibited or restricted by applicable law, and is subject to all federal, provincial, state, and local laws and regulations.  SAP, in its sole discretion, can disqualify any person who tampers with the entry process or who otherwise violates these rules.  SAP reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the contest and prize if it cannot be completed as planned due to computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, technical failures, or other conditions beyond SAP’s control.

This contest and prize is governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States of America, is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of that Commonwealth, is void wherever prohibited or restricted by applicable law, and is subject to all federal, provincial, state and local laws and regulations.

DISCLAIMER: SAP, its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates and its vendors specifically disclaim any responsibility or liability for damages, losses, or injury resulting from acceptance or use of the prize.  SAP is not responsible or liable for hardware, software, web site, Internet, or ISP malfunctions, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed, incorrect, inaccurate, incomplete, garbled or delayed electronic or other communications.  SAP is not in any way liable for damage, loss or injury resulting from acceptance, shipping, handling, or use of any prize.  Participant assumes all liability for injuries caused or claimed to be caused by participation in this contest and prize, or the use or misuse of any prizes.  Participant acknowledges that SAP is not responsible or liable for any warranty, representation, or guarantee express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to any prize, including but not limited to its quality, merchantability, mechanical condition or fitness for a particular purpose.  By entering, participant releases and holds harmless SAP, its subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees and agents from any and all liability or any injuries, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the contest and prize.

SPONSOR: SAP Labs LLC (“SAP”).  3410 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, CA.

Good luck!!

“How does Fashion & Design matter for company, product, career and your personal brand?”

I started my professional career at Duty Free Shops. After becoming one of the first employees at eLuxury.com, I moved on to the Paris headquarters to work at Christian Dior Couture.

My life had its glamorous moments: the private sales, the training tours to Louis Vuitton’s boutique on Rodeo Drive, running into Galliano at his atelier in Paris, visiting Harrods in London for the very first time, and receiving enough makeup for the rest of my life. But it has also involved a lot of pressure: making sure you always dressed in the current collection, on a very modest salary.

After about five years, I had a chat with my immediate supervisor, and asked her advice about growing my role. She looked at me and laughed, “Your name is Layla, you speak French with a foreign accent, and you are still carrying a handbag from two seasons ago – what do you think your chances are?”

Instead of buying a new designer bag, taking accent reduction courses, or changing my name, three months later, I moved to the U.S. to produce a book about the empowerment of women. While getting ready to present the project at the United Nations, my immediate manager came to my hotel room and saw me in a fabulous Fendi navy wool suit (that I had purchased at a private employee sale) and in a very upset tone said: “Layla, I AM the Director and you are only the Production Manager, why is it that all of your suits look nicer than mine?”

After that experience (which made me feel anything but empowered), I settled in Silicon Valley, gained a few (Ok a lot of)  extra pounds, and embraced motherhood. I began to care less and less about my appearance and personal brand. Working for tech companies such as Yahoo! where HR sends out an email to candidates encouraging them to dress casual for the interview, I figured it was best to lay low-key. My designer handbags were sold on eBay and replaced with the free bags I received in trade shows, and I basically gave up on hills after my daughter’s birth.

And then I started noticing the promotions passing me by. Although people praised me for work and often used me as an example to motivate others, they did not consider me for some of the promotions that were an obvious fit. Before leaving my last position, I finally built my courage up to ask for feedback from my manager, and she was kind enough to give me a candid answer:

“Show your confidence and remember to dress for the role you want – the one I know you are capable of! Perception is reality”.

That conversation, inspired me to organize this upcoming panel, and the first panelist I dared dream about having on the panel was Sheryl Sandberg.

How does Fashion & Design matter for company, product, career and your personal brand?

When I read “Lean In” , I gained new confidence in actually writing this blog post, and sharing my experience with previous employers on a public forum.  Reading her book made me feel confident and empowered. I finally forgave myself for what I had considered shortcoming (having cried at work, having put my daughter to bed without changing her to pajamas, etc). I realized if the world’s fifth most powerful woman struggles with the same challenges, then I might not be doing so bad.

Barbara Holzapfel the executive sponsor for SAP’s Business Women Network, did reach out to Sheryl, and she was kind enough to respond within five minutes letting us know she was unavailable for the occasion. Again talk about feeling empowered, I have worked with many celebrities before, and I was simply amazed at her kind and prompt response.

Although we will miss Sheryl, SAP Business Women Network will be welcoming a very distinguished panel, and we would love to include any questions you might have  from Tory Burch, eBay, Google, and Glam Media.

We hope you will attend, but if you are not able to, feel free to post your questions in the comments, and we’ll be sure to include them.

To add to the fun, we will have an interactive fashion show to which you can participate by downloading My Runway application, and you can view remotely.