The cofounder and CEO of ZipFit Denim unfolds her passion for Italy, building furniture, and her Egyptian heritage.
- October 10, 2016
Artistic Medium: Painting
About 10 years ago, I tried to replicate Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night. You have to be in a creative mind-set to actually paint. I have another painting that I have been working on for three years.
I love building. It’s fun to put things together. I learned about wall construction to build the fitting rooms for our pop-up shop, and that was the foundation for a lot of the building skills I learned. It’s very structural and mathematical in process. Now I have a man at Home Depot. I made our dining room table and coffee table at home. I don’t have a fear of failure. When I’m building something, it’s just like building a company, I think. You figure it out along the way, and it’s not going to be totally perfect.
“I don’t have a fear of failure. . . . You figure it out along the way.”
Italy is my favorite country. I lived abroad in Siena, in Tuscany, for about a year and learned to speak Italian. My husband, Michael Tilatti, ’16, is half Italian. We met at a Booth mixer at a Chicago Bulls game and spoke to each other in Italian for two hours that night.
Foods: Middle Eastern and Mexican
I am gluten free, which eliminates a lot of breads, making Middle Eastern and Mexican easy to eat. It’s been about four years since my doctors told me to go gluten free, so I did and feel significantly better.
Animal: My Cat, Euler
He’s named after Leonhard Euler, the famous mathematician. I opened my calculus book and started reading names out loud to see what name he responded to. He weighs 18 pounds. I taught him how to play fetch with a hair tie.
Designer: Byron Lars
I love his dresses. They are unique and professional.
I’m half Egyptian. My father immigrated to Chicago when he was 30. He was a nuclear engineer and didn’t speak English, so he interviewed in German. Egypt is a part of who I am and makes me a little different. No one can tell when they look at me. I get asked, “Are you Italian?” I don’t ever get asked, “Are you Egyptian?”