“If you want to start your own business, your own labor is worth zero,” Nanette Lepore told attendees at ACG New York’s Women of Leadership Summit.
Lepore, the keynote afternoon speaker, wanted attendees to know that they’re initially not going to get some big paycheck every week.
Given that reality, Lepore said, an entrepreneur can succeed provided “you love what you do” and “you do it with a passion.”
In starting her business, the designer noted that she “always think[s] small. I don’t want to get paralyzed. I do what I can handle. I still operate my business in small chunks.” That kind of control and oversight, she said, gives her an advantage: “I like to learn from my mistakes so I never do it again.”
Production for the sportswear business is done in America, particularly in New York. “I like to manufacture in America. At my price points, I can manufacture in America and still make a profit,” she said. Lepore also explained that the smaller volume that’s done here gives her more control over the business, whether it’s better fabrications because they can’t be shipped to China, better fit in general or just producing what is needed as it’s needed.
At the event held at the Time Life Conference Center here on Thursday, Lepore also spoke about possible outside investors from the private equity community. She noted how before the 2008 downturn there was one possibility that never closed because it involved bringing in a new chief executive officer who only wanted to work two days a week. That led to a rethinking of the process with a second potential investor because Lepore wanted final say over who can be fired, noting that she wanted to protect her employees, many of whom have been with the company for years.
As for the criteria for an attractive investor, Lepore said: “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.”
She noted that an investor could help the company expand, perhaps globally, and move into the jeans and T-shirt space. Lepore said she is meeting next week with individuals from Dubai regarding expansion there. She also said additional investment might allow the company to expand its footwear and handbag businesses, help with a license on accessories and with factory connections and sourcing in the jeans and T-shirts categories.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia