Meet Brianne Osowski

By McKenzie Schwark
Features Writer

Brianne Osowski is creating a new way to get customized recommendations on brands and products. She talks with Ladyboss about getting to know your customer, running a tech company, and why women need more champions.

You’ve been a model, you’ve owned retail shops, and now Tailorie. What drew you into the fashion industry?

I always was fascinated with clothing from a young age. I think it stemmed from my grandmother. She always looked amazing and sophisticated. She played dress up with her clothing, which I loved. It came from those very early experiences, and from there I fell in love with the idea that fashion was an outward creative expression of who you are. You could use it to tell people about your personality without saying anything. So, I fell in love with fashion that way.

I want to talk about Curious. What led you to opening a boutique in Grand Forks, and how did you get started?

After I relocated from New York to Grand Forks, I did not know what I was going to do. I started working at the university, and I got my MBA. It just wasn’t for me. I wanted to find a creative outlet. That’s where the concept and idea started for me. I just dove right in. There wasn’t a grand inspiration behind it. It was a way for me to create an experience. I love creating experiences and sharing experiences with people. Starting a gift boutique at that time was something that would allow me to accomplish those objectives.

What was it like finding vendors, or how did you curate the shop?

I didn’t work in retail before starting the store. I did a lot of Google research to figure out where to start and I started going to different trade shows. That was the easiest way because you could meet a lot of vendors at one time. When I first started the shop I was curating in a way that I really liked. I quickly found that is the worst thing to do as a buyer. You’re not buying for yourself, you’re buying for your customers. That was an early lesson that I learned. I had to figure out who my customer was and what they wanted to buy. That is also what has made me appreciate consumer research so much. Really listening to your customer is a way to build a successful business.

How did you collect that kind of data?

At Curious it was very much just conversation. User interviews, or daily dialogues with customers in the store, that is one major advantage to brick and mortar, or physical business space, is that your customer is in front of you and you can talk to them every day. That changes dramatically when you talk about running an online store or any kind of tech-based business. At that time, that is what I did. I spent a lot of time asking questions, listening, and then asking more questions.

Tell me about Tailorie. What is it and where did the idea come from?

Tailorie is a new mobile app that helps connect brands and consumers to recommendations that are tailored to them. After owning Curious I realized how difficult it was to reach audiences outside of our physical store space. As a business owner, how do you know where to put money and how you can make sure it’s getting a return for you? I talked about it earlier, but one of the lessons I learned was that I was buying for who I thought my customer was, but not who my customer really was. So, I thought there has to be a better way for small, emerging businesses to really understand who their customer is without operating on assumptions.

Where do you want to go with this company? What are your dreams for the future?

Right now we’re focused on finding product market fit on our consumer side of the platform. We hope to continue to grow this company into an IPO one day. Our vision for the future and what we could build with the technology is quite grand and right now I am just enjoying the journey one day at a time.

What are some of the challenges you’ve found diving into a tech-based startup?

There are so many. With the retail startup I didn’t have a background in it. Now I’m in tech, and I don’t have a background in tech. I think that for me in the early days, that was something that prohibited me from moving faster in product iteration and all of that, because there was so much I didn’t know. There was so much I had to learn. I think that was one of the biggest hangups. You don’t know what you don’t know until you’re in a situation where not knowing is apparent. So, that was one of the biggest challenges.

What do you think women need right now?

I think women need more champions. What I mean by that, is that sometimes it’s really hard to be a woman and be invited to the right events, asked to sit at the right tables, to just be acknowledged and brought into those opportunities. So, having champions or people who support women making the invitation.