I launched my brand under a simple premise, working on what I truly loved. I never started out wanting to do anything other than create clothes for a modern woman - the woman I aspired to be. The woman that needs to balance work and family, professional and personal and spends her days going from desk to dinner, who needs a versatile wardrobe that works for her life. It has always been important for me to create designs that make women feel beautiful, confident and smart.
It wasn't an easy journey - designing your life and creating your destiny never is. I launched with a very small staff in 2005 and there were times, many times when I didn't know how we were going to pay the staff on a week to week basis. Not letting fear paralyze me, rather letting my passion drive me, was what got me through those times. I really believed in my collection and had such a clear vision of what we were doing and how I wanted my customer to feel, that failure simply was not an option. And if closing the business down was in the cards, I would have accepted it only after I tried everything possible to prevent that act. Taking risks got me further along, never set me back, because I took risks in which I truly believed. That commitment to myself and my staff, coupled with a creative environment and replacing OK with WHY for a response to NO, has gotten me to the stage I am at today - lots of bumps and lessons along the way but we are not growing unless we are learning.
You learn to balance the successes and the setbacks. You have to always follow your gut and know what you believe is right. If it feels right, IT IS! That's been my guiding principle. I know what I like and what works for my customer and if it's not right, I don't do it. Easier said than done, yes, but it is the only way I know how to run a business.
Here are 4 principles that helped guide me through my entrepreneurial journey:
1. Teamwork- Build a team to bolster your weaknesses. Surround yourself with good people that know a lot about the areas that you do not. This creates a balanced team that can work together seamlessly. It keeps me growing and learning off of the people that I spend the most of my time with.
2. DO worry about the details- It is all you have in the beginning and as you grow it is what sets you apart from the competition. I care about every single detail of my company. If I miss something, I make it a point to never let it happen again. From the thread we use to the color/fabric of the napkins we use in the showroom, to the website font. It's my job to ensure that that brand is represented well in all areas.
3. LOVE your work. Choose a career in the field that you genuinely have a passion for - you will figure out how to monetize it. When you truly love what you do, it never seems like work because it is not - it is your life. And you will fight for your life!
4. NEVER take no for an answer. No is the easy way out. It is much easier for people in business to tell you no than yes - my answer to them is ALWAYS - Why? Until I believe and understand why "no" is "no" I do not accept it. There's always an alternative solution, you just have to look for it. If I accepted the word "no", I would never have started a business.
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