“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.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
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“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)