What it's Really Like Running a Fashion-Tech Accelerator

Jackie Trebilcock is a fashion, technology, and business development executive with over fifteen years experience working with entrepreneurs to grow their vision. She supports companies via strategic planning and is a master connector sharing thoughtful top notch industry introductions with entrepreneurs. Jackie is currently the Managing Director of The New York Fashion Tech Lab, founded in 2014 by the Partnership Fund of New York City and Springboard Enterprises. The Lab connects a select cohort of early stage fashion-focused technology companies with New York’s leading fashion retailers and brands fostering iteration, validation, and acceleration of technologies to advance the industry. In short, she is the woman to know in fashion-tech. Below Jackie gives us an inside peak at what it takes to make it to run a high-performing accelerator.

Jackie, can you tell us a bit about your career trajectory?

I have always gone back and forth between being an entrepreneur and working corporately. I have started a few companies and then also worked for larger companies in media and fashion. I believe I am an entrepreneur at heart which is why I greatly enjoy the work I am doing now. It allows me to meet with, work with, and get inspired by incredible founders.

How did you get involved in running an accelerator?

I had not participated in or been affiliated with an accelerator as part of my entrepreneurial journey. I read about the launch of NYFTL in WWD and reached out to learn more. They had just completed their 1st program and were looking for a new director. That was fall of 2014 and I joined that December to run 4 of the last 5 lab programs.

What is the selection process like as you interview candidates for NYFTL?

We do have an application portal however we try to meet with and get to know the entrepreneurs before they even apply. Since we are very different them most "accelerators" we like to communicate the unique value we can provide and understand if that is what they are looking for. We only encourage those that we feel we can really help/support to apply.

What advice would you give someone about applying to an accelerator?

Make sure to speak to the alumni about their experience and also make sure you can dedicate the time to get the most out of the program. You get out of it what you put into it so if you don't have the time to be involved it might not be the right time to apply/participate.

How do you personally spend your time as is relates to the accelerator program?

My time is split pretty evenly between meeting with our NYFTL companies, meeting with retailers and brands, and meeting with the community of investors and industry experts that also support our program. This includes attending various events that might be specific to fashion, tech, retail, female founders, entrepreneurs, or fundraising.

Do you have a favorite failure? As in, what ‘error’ do you view as a blessing in disguise?

I don't consider anything I have done a failure. Maybe it didn't go exactly as planned or become some huge public success (as one would define it), but each time it lead me to a new opportunity. This has created a web of really great experiences and learnings that all tie together in some capacity.

What does FemmBoss mean to you?

I think being a "boss" equals = being a leader. Which to me means someone that can inspire, engage, and motivate.... all at the same time.

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Thank you, Jackie!