Some women are known for their style, others for their business acumen. And for some, fashion and business merge as they have for Bari Weizman ’08SB, ’12SB the president and publisher of Hadar Magazine.
“I loved how simple life was then, before the pressures of being professionally successful and providing for a family kicked in,” says Weizman, reflecting on her time at Stern. “You had the structure of academics, but beyond my responsibility to do well in school, I was only responsible for enjoying college life. And I did: I made great friends, learned a lot, and loved living in New York City.”
Weizman was close with Professor Lisa Rosh, who taught leadership and organizational behavior. “I often apply the information we learned in her courses when making decisions or thinking about my career,” says Weizman, who interned at MTV during her senior year and graduated with a BA in marketing.
With a vision to found her own business one day, Weizman knew that she would need hands-on experience and capital before starting a successful venture. “I felt that the best place to gain the most experience in a short amount of time would be a startup or small business, where I could wear many different hats,” she explains. “But when I graduated, the economy collapsed and jobs were scarce, so I focused on the job I had at Telco Experts, LLC, a telecommunications company.”
Weizman advanced in the ranks at Telco to become director of provisioning. In 2011, she returned to YU to earn her Master’s in accounting at Syms, which she completed last January. Through it all, she kept the dream of starting her own business in mind, and it was during a random Shabbat afternoon hanging out with her sisters that she had the idea to found her own magazine for Jewish women.
“I have a good head for business but not for writing so I reached out to my friend Shevi Genuth, who I knew was looking to get into publishing and also deeply valued the concept of modest, stylish fashion for Jewish women,” explains Weizman. “Shevi had worked with me for a time at the telecommuting company, and I knew we had similar business ethics and worked well together. She came on board right away.”
Weizman serves as the president and publisher of Hadar magazine, while Shevi is the managing director. The magazine currently releases four issues per year, which can be purchased at select stores in the tri-state area and online (www.hadarmagazine.com), which Weizman says has allowed them to get some national and international sales. The magazine aims to mimic the look and feel of Vogue, but with a Jewish slant. “The content is unique to Jewish life, and the inspiration comes from our own everyday lives,” explains Weizman.
The eventual goal is to publish the magazine once a month and expand to different Jewish communities across the country. And, after that, who knows? “Shevi and I envision expanding our brand to include a Jewish women’s publishing firm with numerous periodicals,” says Weizman. “It may seem that print is going out of business in the secular world, but I don’t think it ever will in the Jewish community. You can’t use your Kindle or iPad on Shabbat.”
For Weizman, one of the biggest challenges is to remember that while passion and creative ideas are essential for a company to succeed, so is business acumen.
“Passion is necessary and is a big part of what drives the business, but at the same time it also makes it challenging to prioritize and really stay focused on growing the business so that you can implement all of those great ideas,” says Weizman. “When you start a new business, you are pulled in 101 directions and you are so eager to make sure each part of the business is perfect. It’s important not to waste time on things that should be addressed at a different stage, no matter how excited you are about it initially.”
Weizman, a working mom of two, credits the help she receives from her hands-on husband, in-laws, and her own family with giving her the ability to balance her many interests.
“I am extremely blessed to have such an amazing family that is willing to help me reach my goals,” she states emphatically. “I would not be able to do it without them.”
Weizman is married to her high school sweetheart, Ilan, and they live in Monsey with their two daughters, Gabrielle, 2, and Noa, 2 months.
Editor’s Note: Alumni are invited to get 15% off the latest issue of Hadar Magazine by ordering online and using the promo code YUAlumni. The code expires March 1, 2014. Hadar Magazine is also on the lookout for talented writers and female business owners to feature in the magazine. If you belong to either category or know someone who does, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.