Press Highlight: NASDAQ
Meet Hannah Fastov, the innovative Founder and CEO behind Go Dash Dot, a brand that's revolutionizing the handbag industry by empowering women to take on life's challenges with confidence.
As a career-driven woman herself, Hannah was constantly on the hunt for the perfect bag that could keep up with her active lifestyle. After a fateful day when one of her bags got stuck on a subway turnstile, spilling her belongings everywhere, Hannah knew that she needed to create a bag that was both practical and stylish. Thus, Go Dash Dot was born, and has since become the go-to collection for women seeking versatility and functionality in their handbags.
Below, we dive into Hannah's founding story, her journey as an entrepreneur, and what's next for her and her dynamic company.
Q: Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on Go Dash Dot?
A: It all started in the New York City subway station. One of the five bags I was carrying got stuck on the turnstile, launching my stuff everywhere. As I collected my lunch, gym shoes, water bottle, and dirty socks, I noticed each person standing on the platform giving me the same "been there" look. It dawned on me that of all the bags I owned, none of them actually fit all of my stuff, let alone kept it all organized. So, I designed a better bag.
A: For us, it is more than just the bags. We want to make you feel confident, inspired, and successful every day, which looks different for everyone. We design versatile products that will mold to your lifestyle to keep you going—organized and in style. For example, our signature Go 2 Tote has a compartment that fits a pair of shoes to keep them separate from the rest of your belongings. However, if you don’t have shoes, you can use it for Tupperware, a wet umbrella, diapers, or even remove the pocket entirely using the interior zipper system, seamlessly transforming your tote from a gym bag to a work bag to a baby bag to an all-day, everyday carry-all depending on what you need.
Q: Have you ever felt like you’re “different”? If yes, in what ways has this contributed to your journey as an entrepreneur?
A: While I have never felt different per se, when growing up, my interests definitely diverged from those of my friends. While they were focused on sports, I never quite made it off the bench. I was more comfortable in the art room or at home, cutting up and altering my clothes to create new looks. As a result, navigating my unique path has been a skill I have honed over the course of my childhood and early adulthood. My super sporty friends were always supportive of my endeavors, even when they teased me about some of my creations. I believe this experience is what has given me the confidence and determination to embark on my entrepreneurial path and launch Go Dash Dot.
Q: What’s been the most unexpected part of your entrepreneurial journey?
A: When I first conceived of my idea, I thought I was simply creating the best bag ever. I quickly learned that it wouldn’t be that simple. I needed a business model, a plan, and a strategy. I am not a good math student and have never taken a business class, so this was challenging. While the ingenuity and style of the product is what drove our initial success, I quickly had to learn how to plan and manage a business to develop long-term sustainability. This has been the most difficult aspect of my journey, but the one I have found most rewarding. I discovered that it takes creativity, resourcefulness, and innovation to establish a sound business plan and to be able to seamlessly pivot when necessary. It’s a different type of creativity from the design aspect, but I have unexpectedly found that I actually enjoy working on the business side. Fortunately, I have an incredibly talented designer who completely understands my vision!
Q: Have you felt like giving up? What made you persist?
A: Honestly, I have often thought, “What have I gotten myself into?!” I never imagined that designing and selling a bag could be so complicated and difficult. However, once I started and put so much time, energy, and money into this endeavor, I had no choice but to push forward. The success of establishing new sales accounts and some good PR kept me going and growing and then wham—the pandemic hit.
It is not easy to navigate selling a product for the on-the-go lifestyle when the world is forced into a crashing halt. But the Go Dash Dot community pushed me on. We heard from many of our essential worker customers that their Go Dash Dot bags were quite useful during their hospital shifts and from our Instagram followers who looked forward to our daily Instagram live workouts. These notes and comments solidified that we are in fact so much more than just a bag company—we are a community of daring, active, spirited, humans (DASHers) who can rely on each other for support to continue finding inspiration and success even during the most difficult times. This is what impels me to persist!
Q: We dare you to brag: What achievements are you most proud of?
A: I am so proud of all that the Go Dash Dot team has accomplished over the last six years. We partner with top retailers, hotels, resorts, and fitness centers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Four Seasons Hotels, and LifeTime Fitness. Go Dash Dot has been named by Vogue as “best functional and fashionable bag for the gym and beyond” and our Go 2 Tote has been awarded the “best diaper bag for travel” by Travel & Leisure. Thanks to our incredible community, we have donated close to 300 bags to Dress For Success through our RENEW give-back program.
Q: Has your definition of success evolved throughout your journey as a founder?
A: The concept of success has been something I have struggled with a lot throughout my journey as a founder. I used to believe success was arriving at the finish line—a multi-billion dollar business, a family, lots of friends—and I was done. But after years of feeling unsuccessful because I hadn’t arrived at my finish line, I have had to redefine what success means. I have shifted my mindset to keep my finish-line vision, but understand success is about finding balance: celebrating all of the wins, losses, and personal achievements along the way that keep the journey exciting and inspiring.
Q: What have you learned about building a team and a support network around yourself?
A: You cannot start a business on your own. At the beginning, I felt like I had to do everything by myself and if I didn’t do it all, then others could say it was not “my” business and I had failed. It wasn’t until I accepted the concept of team building, acknowledged what I didn't know, and asked for help that I saw a change in myself, my leadership skills, and, as a result, noticeable growth in our business. And of course, I have to mention my incredible partner, who happens to be my mother. She unwittingly jumped head-first into building this business with me and has been an incredible teammate and support system throughout the last six years.
Q: How would you describe the journey you’ve had in a few sentences? Would you do it all over again?
A: My entrepreneurial journey has been life-changing. While I have always been confident in my passions and interests, growing up I was very shy and quiet. I never thought I could own a business, build and lead a team of incredible people, make tough business decisions, or create and appear in content that would be seen by thousands of strangers on social media. But here I am and would 100 percent do it again. What would I tell my younger self? Take business classes in college!
Q: What’s next for you and your company?
A: We have a lot of exciting developments at Go Dash Dot. We have new product categories launching, exciting partnerships in the works, and I will be welcoming my first baby this spring. Stay tuned!
- Gesche Haas