Posted: March 9th, 2015
We recently spoke with Mr. Vlad Vidaeff, a 2013 JD/MBA graduate of Wake Forest University, about his unique career path and journey to success. His extensive resume includes co-founding the retail company 20 Pirouettes and acting as the Social Media Manager at the REFUGE Group. Mr. Vidaeff has also been involved with multiple business endeavors in Texas, New York, and North Carolina. In this interview, you will find out how he uses his legal background in a business setting, what his day-to-day work involves, and how other business-minded students can pursue a similar career track with a JD.
Vlad Vidaeff was born in New York. After moving around quite a bit growing up, he spent most of his childhood in Boston before moving to Houston in 8th grade. He attended high school in Texas and subsequently pursued his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. Straight out of college, Vlad began the JD/MBA program at Wake Forest University. After graduating in 2013, he returned to Houston and accepted a marketing position at eCardio. Vlad spent almost a year with the company before starting his own company, 20 Pirouettes, with a business partner. Now that most of the grunt work is out of the way, Vlad has recently accepted a marketing manager role with The REFUGE Group. The REFUGE Group is a full-service advertising agency located in Houston. In his free time, Vlad enjoys exercising, watching sports, and watching movies and TV shows.
What is your job title?
I am the Co-founder of 20 Pirouettes and the Social Media Manager at The REFUGE Group.
What do you do at your position?
While my position at The REFUGE Group is interesting, I think my role at 20 Pirouettes is the job where I more directly use my legal background. Starting my own business was a lot more work than I could have ever imagined but also one that gives me a great sense of satisfaction. There were many tasks that had to be completed before going public: writing a business plan, registering the business as a legal entity, filing for trademark protection with the USPTO, applying for a federal tax ID and any permits needed, etc. Being a licensed attorney was invaluable in handling the legal and tax aspects to my business, areas that often make entrepreneurs uncomfortable. Since we are a retail business that sells hand-made jewelry made out of precious gemstones and crystals, another huge focus of our business is marketing/promotions.
What’s the typical day like?
As we are not yet public, each day brings new tasks and challenges. We are hoping to have our website up and running by the end of April. But to give you an idea of some of the major activities we’ve been working on over the past couple of months, here are some examples. We have worked with an advertising agency on creating a logo for the brand. Since we are an online business, we have bought our shipping materials in bulk and designed some promotional flyers to be included with each package. A major task facing 20 Pirouettes in the next month will be taking photos of our products with a professional photographer so they can then be uploaded to our website. There are a ton of small responsibilities here and there that I won’t go into detail to bore you!
How did you got to this position in your career?
I feel like I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and having the opportunity to attempt to build a brand from the ground up is something I really enjoy. My business partner and I had discussed opening a business for many years but the timing was never right. I was busy in school and was living out-of-state. Moving back to Houston and then leaving eCardio gave me the extra free time I needed to help get things off the ground. Starting your own business is all about having an idea, whether it is a product or service, and having the courage to dive in and make your dreams come true!
What recommendations do you have for students who want to be in your field?
While my path has not been the traditional one that most law students follow, I believe my legal education has been a great tool in my field. Do not be frightened to take a non-traditional path as there are many avenues to success and by going to law school, you have developed many transferrable skills. Having strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential to being a successful entrepreneur. Moreover, having an attention to detail is also important as you are making major decisions frequently and cannot afford to make mistakes due to carelessness. I had the added benefit of gaining a business education in addition to my JD, so I would recommend that students interested in entrepreneurship read books or take online courses in entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance.
Are there any specific courses you would recommend students take in order to be more marketable for a position like yours?
Legal courses that are business-related would be most helpful. Some of the most valuable courses that I took include contracts, business organizations, intellectual property, and business drafting.