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SUNY NEW PALTZ
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

Entrepreneurs 

Masha Zabara is the founder and CEO of Thrift 2 Fight, a volunteer-run, community-centered retail shop that sells clothing through pop-up sales, rack residencies, and hosted sales. 100% of their sales are donated to organizations centered on racial, social, and climate justice activism. Thrift 2 Fight, based in Tivoli, NY, is a team of passionate individuals with diverse skill sets, but as Masha pointed out, the founding team couldn’t cover every ground, which is when they turned to HV Mentors. Masha realized that they needed professional advice and legal help, not from random specialists that come from Google searches, but from local professionals who specialize in startups. Having a community built around one common value, expanding the Hudson Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem, is a huge help in regards to vetting.

Thrift to Fight needed help thinking about trademarking their brand as they began embarking on what could be a franchise-like model. Thus, HV Mentors matched Masha with Elizabeth Barnhard, an intellectual property attorney at Leason Ellis. Elizabeth explained complex differentiations in legal needs, gave clear price ranges for what these services typically cost, laid out expectations, and provided connections to attorneys with experience working with start-ups. “Having a trusted professional who understands entrepreneurs, guiding you through the process is invaluable.” Beyond their work with Elizabeth, Masha commented on some other connections they made within the larger HV Mentors community, such as the program’s in-person coffee hour which led to finding a connection to help with website automation.

Thrift to Fight has a lot of exciting objectives this quarter. They’re raising a $300,000 seed round, launching their online store, as well as continuing to find their first store location, which they hope to complete in the next month, as well as continuing to find different places for collaboration.

All in all, Masha says that whether it was working with Elizabeth, or some of the other advisors they have met along the way, mentors have played a big role in helping them navigate decisions and strategies. Masha is always seeking a diverse group, with as many points of view as possible, so that their business can be resilient. 

HV Mentors pairs Hudson Valley based, growth-oriented entrepreneurs of all sizes with professional mentors. They accept small businesses to hockey-stick start-ups. Mentor or be mentored .