Witty Women | BOF x TopShop

Challenges and Rewards of Building a Fashion Business 

June 7, 2017

Women today are constantly undermined and underestimated.

But the women who are proving that we’re not just a pretty “doll” to glance at, we’re intelligent, hard-working and diligent are the women who have put blood, sweat and tears into their passions.

On Wednesday, June 7th I had the opportunity to hear these women speak about the business of fashion.

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A panel conducted by Business of Fashion editor Lauren Sherman, the crowd immediately fell in love with the women on stage through their spunky, heartfelt enthusiasm.

Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies was a crowd favorite. Her say-it-how-it is answers like, “I was just not good for working with other people” and “if you have a million followers what’s the point if they don’t buy your shit” connected with the millennial crowd looking for someone relatable.

While each founder, co-founder and celebrity (aka Eva Chen) spoke through their experience each individual emphasized the importance of having a brand with a story or a known image. Eva Chen said it best, “if you can cover a name and tell what brand it is like Mansur Gavriel or Glossier” you’re essentially doing something right.

So whether that is “the beauty of imperfection” like brand, Everbody.World or artisans in another country like Brother Vellies or an original pose, #EvaChenPose you have to find something that reflects your brand but sets you apart.

So, other than authenticity what are key qualities brands can incorporate to build an image?

Eva Chen says, “reach out to influencers, have a conversational tone and curate unique content.”

Jennifer Rubio also states, “don’t under estimate the power of paid tools.” Interestingly enough, it’s not mentioned often in the industry but it plays a key role for a lot of brands who don’t produce their following organically.

And I know I’ve mentioned Eva’s name a lot already but she did say something that night that really caught my attention. “You can’t go into fashion without business.”

Sitting there, I recalled a moment in my life where a director had laughed at me when I informed him I wanted to go to business school to achieve my then goal of building a fashion empire. He said to me, “that doesn’t make sense, you should go to fashion school!” I laughed too because I knew that creativity is a gift but business is something to be learned. You can’t build a fashion empire solely on creativity.

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And we can’t depart from the best part of the event, advice from them all.

Aurora James, Founder of Brother Vellies “Don’t listen to any of the advice anyone gives you. If you totally destroy your business it’s all on you.”

Caroline Crespo, Co-Founder of Everybody.World “Fake it until you make it.”

Iris Alonzo, Co-Founder of Everybody.World “If you have a vision go for it. Put it out there and do it. Everything is a work in progress, embrace imperfections.”

Eva Chen, Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram “Move forward. You will fail but failure is not a bad thing. Failure will teach you things about yourself. No such thing as failure.”

Jennifer Rubio, Co-Founder of Away “No such thing as linear success. There’s no one path.”

 

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