Style Spotlight: Alex Schinasi and Lee Rotenberg

Style Spotlight: Alex Schinasi and Lee Rotenberg

Lessons from ladies who have lived and learned: Alex Schinasi (@alexschinasi) and Lee Rotenberg (@lee_rotenberg) give us the run-down on their latest project and their first company that started it all.

Why did you start your company? What is your company’s mission?

Alex and I first founded Ivy (, the leading software and community for home remodeling professionals. In 2018, we were acquired by Houzz, which was an incredible milestone for us. We recently transitioned to advisors at Houzz so we could embark on our next entrepreneurial journey, which is Olive (@joinolive). Olive is a knowledge exchange for parents to access instant and reliable parenting knowledge from vetted professionals and parents that is hyper contextualized to an individual's circumstances.

Do you have advice you can share with other girl bosses starting their own businesses?

Speed is everything. Speed is a startup’s advantage so don't wait to launch. A lot of founders want it to be "perfect" before they go live but that will ultimately be at the cost of perfection. Why? Well the sooner you get your product in front of people, the sooner you can improve it. This can be a hard thing for perfectionists to wrap their heads around - launching before an idea is perfect - but it's how to make it perfect. My #1 piece of advice is to move faster - however fast you're moving now, try to take it up a notch. Pick up the pace of your decisions, your timeline, your goals!

Alex Schinasi and Lee Rotenberg wearing our Cement Sutton Sneaker and Purple Heart Sutton Slip On in New York City

Alex Schinasi and Lee Rotenberg wearing our Cement Sutton Sneaker and Purple Heart Sutton Slip On in New York City

How have you had to adjust your business strategies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

We've always managed distribution teams, so there hasn't been much of a learning curve in the new era of work from home - but we have had to set clearer examples of making sure people take breaks and don't let work seep too much into home life. We're strong believers in balance so it's important we create an environment that encourages a split between work & home life, even as those lines become more blurred in the wake of Covid.

How have you been finding peace and escape during COVID-19? Any favorite spots in NYC?

Good food in a cozy atmosphere has been my refuge during Covid. I've been splitting my time between Williamsburg and Montauk. When in Williamsburg, my go-to spots are the Lighthouse BK (they have great food and even greater cocktails!), obsessed with Llama Inn (must order the chicken skewers!), and I'll always kick start my day by grabbing coffee and a pastry at Bakeri on Wythe St.

What do you enjoy about the Sutton’s? How do they function within your busy work/personal life?  

As mentioned earlier,  "speed" is often the secret ingredient to a startup's success - that notion applies to one's wardrobe too. I love the Sutton's because they are so easy to pair with my closet. The Sutton's make rushing to and from meetings easy. I hate being late so there are plenty of times I'm in a full on sprint in these shoes, and honestly, I'd think I was wearing running sneakers - they're that comfy and practical. 

Moreover, they're stylish but understated. I don't like it when my clothes do the talking, as I want my words to make the impression with my business peers. The Sutton's perfectly complement my style without being a distracting focal point. I'm a casual person. The Sutton's embody my style and attitude while still making me look thoughtfully put together.