How Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis started Great Jones cookware.

First-time entrepreneurs Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis have been friends since childhood.


First-time entrepreneurs Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis have been friends since childhood.

Our series “How I became a …” digs into the stories of accomplished and influential people, finding out how they got to where they are in their careers.

When Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis were beginning to build out their kitchens post-grad, they realized that the process was exhausting, time-consuming, and ridiculously expensive. Did they really need six different saucepans, four sizes of cookie sheets, and three stock pots? Using Tishgart’s background as a James Beard award-winning food editor at New York Magazine and Moelis’ background working at startups like Zola and Warby Parker, they decided to create a new way to outfit their kitchens. The first-time entrepreneurs created Great Jones, and the rest is history.

USA TODAY caught up with the startup founders and childhood friends to talk about everything from Justin Bieber and celebrity sightings at the dog park to trusting in the pull of an entrepreneurial spirit and being mindful in every aspect of building a team.

Question: How did you get your start?

Maddy Moelis: I went to business school in undergrad and studied marketing and consumer behavior, and when I graduated I started working at Warby Parker in the very early days. I have since worked at a few other startups, most notably Zola, the wedding registry company, as well. At both Warby and Zola, there was a ton of learning, and people that I met and experiences that I went through helped formulate our opinions on how we built our own direct-to-consumer, e-commerce startup. My previous job experiences were super formative to get me to this point.


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