“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.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)