“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.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews