BUSINESS OF FASHION: FASHION DESIGNER NANETTE LEPORE ON BUSINESS BUILDING
Keynote speaker at ACG New York’s Women of Leadership Summit, Nanette Lepore says, “If you want to start your own business, your own labor is worth zero.” The quote is a bit misleading at first but Lepore further explains that she wants attendees to know that they are not going to get a big paycheck every week initially.
Lepore believes that, however, an entrepreneur can succeed provided “you love that you do” and “you do it with passion.”
When the designer first started her own business, she always remembered to think small and do only what she could handle. “I still operate my business in small chunks,” Lepore stated. “I like to learn from my mistakes so I never do it again.”
Unlike many designers, Lepore likes to manufacture in America; the production for the sportswear business is done primarily in New York. “At my price points, I can manufacture in America and still make a profit,” she said. She further explained that the smaller volumes gives her more control over the business.
Lepore makes sure to touch on possible outside investors from the private equity community. She notes how before the 2008 downturn, there is one open possibility from a CEO who did only minimal work. After this, the process of using a second potential investor become intriguing as Lepore wanted final say over who could be fired.
So what should young designers and business professionals be looking for in an attractive investor? Lepore says, “Someone who will work with us as we are for six months to a year and see who we are, and not just [someone who will] come in and bulldoze the company. I want to keep the essence of the company.”
Text Reference: WWD