Behind Her Empire: How Ariel Kaye Launched Parachute With Zero Experience

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

On this episode of the Behind Her Empire, Ariel Kaye discusses how she went from leaving her successful career to launching her own brand with zero experience.

Today, Kaye is the founder and CEO of Parachute, a direct-to-consumer home essentials brand.

Kaye says that after spending a decade in advertising and brand development, she was yearning to do something more. She always considered herself a home and interior design enthusiast, describing herself as a super consumer of home goods, but she struggled to find a single brand that was affordable, high quality and easy to shop.

That's when she saw a gap in the market and knew she had the perfect skills to create the company she was looking for.

She took some money out of her savings and booked a one-way ticket to Europe in search of a factory. After reviewing 15 factories, she learned about craftsmanship when it came to bedding and sheets, got pricing, and came back home, ready to take on the industry.

"Being good at searching is a real superpower," she said. "Searching and follow up, follow up, follow up."

Kaye says she spent around a year developing the brand, raising small amounts from friends and family, and then launched Parachute in January 2014.

"As a sole founder, I really did feel like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, there was so much pressure, and it was really hard to not have someone that was in the thick of it with me."

In this episode of the Behind Her Empire podcast, Kaye talks about the "aha" moment when she realized she had to leave her successful career to start her company, the benefits that come with being a first-time entrepreneur in an industry where you have zero experience, how she built a strong foundation with her customers and brand from day one, and so much more.

Kaye also talks about the initial steps she took to launch Parachute — finding a factory and learning about supply chains, as well as using loans from friends and family to fund her business — and why she became a big proponent of taking breaks from work.

dot.LA Audience Engagement Editor Luis Gomez contributed to this post.

Want to hear more of the Behind Her Empire podcast? Subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Here’s the Latest on Fifth Wall’s Early-Stage Climate Tech Fund

Harrison Weber

Harrison is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. They previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find them on Twitter: @harrisonweber. Send non-sensitive tips on L.A. deals to Pronouns: they/them.

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely by downloading Signal on a non-work device: +1 917 434 4978.

Fifth Wall, the fast-growing real estate tech venture firm, revealed this week that it has scored at least $116.8 million for its Early-Stage Climate Technology Fund, according to an amended SEC filing. That figure is up from $79.5 million in May 2021, when the firm last disclosed its fundraising efforts for the climate investment vehicle.

In December, Fifth Wall announced it had brought in prolific clean-tech investor Greg Smithies to head its efforts to "decarbonize the built world." That's when the firm went public about its plan to raise at least $200 million to invest in climate tech.

Read more Show less

HP Is Piloting an Autonomous, Electric-Powered Trucking Service from LA

David Shultz
David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many defects in our society, but chief among them may be the fragility of our supply chains. From toilet paper to bicycles to lumber, the virus has shown that even relatively minor disruptions to the chain can cause long-term shortages of important goods.

In Los Angeles, a San Francisco-based autonomous trucking company is carrying out a new pilot program with computer hardware giant HP Inc. In the next couple of years, the startup wants to reduce emissions and transit times in HP's supply chains. And if it's successful, expand the model to other companies.

Read more Show less

Tradesy Is Leading Shoppers Away from Fast Fashion, and Investors Are Buying Into It

Sarah Favot

Favot is an award-winning journalist and adjunct instructor at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She previously was an investigative and data reporter at national education news site The 74 and local news site LA School Report. She's also worked at the Los Angeles Daily News. She was a Livingston Award finalist in 2011 and holds a Master's degree in journalism from Boston University and BA from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.

Tracy DiNunzio wants to kill fast fashion.

Founder and CEO of Santa Monica-based Tradesy, DiNunzio said over the last decade consumers are recognizing the harmful effects of low-priced, rapidly-produced fast fashion on the global climate. She argues that in addition to being environmentally conscious, buying and reselling high-end fashion items can also be affordable.

Read more Show less