Category Archives for "Business"

Feb 15

6 Mistakes Great Leaders Never Make

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Vibe Consulting

Everyone makes mistakes.  Even the greatest leaders ever make them.  But, great leaders don’t hide their mistakes or blame them on someone else.  Nor do they run from them.  However, great leaders are careful not to make these mistakes.

  1. Hide from problems –  Great leaders face issues head on.  They are solution oriented and know that by procrastinating they only exacerbate problems.  They also don’t let problems throw them because they know that it is part of the job.
  2. Do not create conflicts within their teams –  Have you ever seen a manager who takes pleasure in creating competition between employees?  I’m not talking about contests for most sales of the month, but the kind of competition that causes intrigue and backstabbing within a group.  They also show favoritism which can create rivalry that distracts people from the mission.  Good managers foster good relationships between team members.
  3. Do not operate secretively – A secretive boss is one who delights in power over others.  They also create an atmosphere of distrust and insecurity among their staff.  By keeping people in the know great leaders develop loyalty in their team and also get their staff to champion the goals of the company.
  4. Give positive feedback for a job well done and constructive feedback when mistakes are made – I recently had a client who’s staff worked incredibly hard for the company and gave their all.  Rather than complimenting them on a job well done he was always complaining about what they did wrong.  The staff was miserable and ultimately lost their motivation.  People work hard for leaders who appreciate and acknowledge them.  And if they do make mistakes they appreciate learning from them rather than feeling judged.
  5. Give credit to their team – Success is never from one persons efforts.  It always is a group effort.  Great leader share commendations with their staff.
  6. They don’t pass the buck –  A good leader doesn’t take all the credit for the success of their team but they also do not blame others for their failures.
Jan 22

Pop Into a Pop-Up Shop

By Maria Pesin | Business , Sales

A pop-up shop is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a store that “pops up” for a short period of time before closing down. In this industry, we know how much consumers like limited time offers because it feels rewarding once they get items that can’t be found everywhere. That’s what has made pop-ups so popular. It gives people the chance to have an exclusive shopping experience.


A pop-up shop can be a cheap strategy for brands. It’s a great way for a brand to make sales without committing to a long retail space lease that would take more money to start up and continue running.


“The trend has become more prevalent in the last year or so,” said Karen Bellantoni, a vice chairwoman of RKF, a retail-focused national brokerage firm.


It’s being done by large luxury brands, like Nike and Prada, as well as specialty shops with a specific niche such as Diet Coke or movies about to premiere. Even Ebay and Amazon have dabbled in the concept in order to bring their online services to a solid building for a unique shopping option.


Pop-up shops can serve a few purposes. They can help you clear out old or excess merchandise while you gear up for a new line. It’s also a way to test out products and see how it works in the key markets and demographics before putting it out officially.


The biggest benefit is exposure. It’s cheap exposure that lets shoppers see your brand, know what you’re about and get excited about your future products.


Pop-up shops can, well, pop up anywhere but they thrive best in big cities like New York, Los Angeles and London, where the shopping scene is all about the “next big thing” and hidden treasures.


How do you start a pop-up shop, you may ask? It’s not much different than getting a regular storefront, except there’s much more freedom in choice. Some pop-ups take the form of tents in parks, vendor carts and booths, or even a store that is immersive and interactive based off of your brand concepts.


And believe it or not, there is so much retail space available for a limited amount of time, even by paying day-to-day.


Promotion is key to every brand, but especially with a pop-up store. If you’re only having the store for one month, you need to get the word out that it’s there and it’s not there to stay. Always emphasize the urgency, the exclusiveness and the one-of-a-kind shopping experience.


Pop-up shops may have started out as a trend, but they aren’t going anywhere. Gain new customers with a limited time experience, and keep those customers long after your shop closes its doors.




Jan 18

10 Myths About The Fashion Industry

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

I have been in the fashion industry more years then I want to admit (I also don’t want to tell you how old I am).  Through the years people have asked me many questions about the business since they hear all kinds of things.  Some crazy things like when a guy from a small town asked me if everyone in New York needs to carry a gun (seriously!?!).  Or minor things like does everyone go out every night.  Well, who has the energy for that.  The following 10 are common misconceptions.

  1. The fashion industry is glamorous.  You should ask me that when I am carrying heavy bags of samples through the city streets to show a buyer (and I was the president of the company).  No, it isn’t glamorous which is what I tell every new assistant I interview.
  2. You can’t get into the business if you don’t know someone.  So not true, especially in my case.  I not only knew no one in the fashion business but pretty much any business.
  3. You have to be very creative to be a fashion designer.  Most designers get ideas through researching stores, magazines, and the runway.  In fact a lot of designers copy other designs and just add some changes
  4. You need to be able to sketch to be a designer.  That may have been true once but now with computers you can get design programs to develop a sketch.
  5. The industry is cut throat.  There is the occasional bad apple.  However, I have had the good fortune of working with some very lovely people who are happy to help each other reach success.  Some of them are friends of mine to this day.
  6. We dress in designer clothes everyday.  Some do, but most can’t afford it.  Some aren’t even stylish at all.  We don’t all look like Rachel Zoe day to day.
  7. We have huge expense accounts and travel all around the world.  Budgets are tight and you will find yourself flying coach to Arkansas more then you might be going to Paris.  And trust me you are working 12 hour days when your in Paris so it’s not a much fun as you may think.
  8. Everyone is skinny.  As one who is definitely not skinny I can personally attest to the falseness of that.
  9. It takes millions of dollars to start a business.  While it is important to have some money to invest, the advent of on line buying has made it possible for people with small budgets to get started.
  10. We spend all day shopping.  Personally I hate shopping so if that was the gig, I’d be out.


Jan 10

Make Over Your Fashion Business in Four Steps

By Maria Pesin | Business , Productivity


In the fashion world, we all love a makeover. Sometimes, our business deserves the same treatment. Making over your business could be an option if the current state of your business doesn’t fit your original “vision.” Maybe you have a new vision that you want to make reality. Or the most obvious reason: you’re not making money. There is always room for change, and there is no time like the present. Making over your business can be a confusing process at first glance, but breaking it down into steps can simplify it to make it attainable.


The first step you need to do is to analyze your business. Find out where you stand and what issues there are. Examine your profitability, production, quality, etc. Dissect every aspect and find the root of your issues.


What are your strengths and weaknesses? A good approach to this step is to try the SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The strengths and weaknesses allow you to look at how you have done in the past and present, while examining the opportunities and threats look towards what the industry could hold in the future. How have industry changes affected your business? Making sure that you roll with the punches of the industry in order to adapt.


The second step is coming up with strategies to help the determined issues. This often involves developing a new business plan. Some options include revamping your sales team with training, remerchandising, rebranding, new marketing strategies, website design or possible partnerships with other businesses. Decide on the strategy that can lead to possible improvement.


The third step is to put the plan into action and execute the strategies you chose. Decide how you can put the plan in motion. Make sure you determine the resources at hand and how you can utilize them to their fullest potential.


The fourth and final step to making over your business is to analyze the results from your strategy change. Consistently monitor the results and tweak as you go along. After a couple months, look at your “before” and “after” to see how your strategy affected your business.


Feedback is key from the beginning of the first step all the way through to the fourth step. Listening to your associates and your buyers is how you can see the holes in your business as well as what is working that doesn’t need to be changed. It can draw your attention to a part of your business that you may not have noticed. It’s also important to look at what your buyers are saying after implementing your “makeover” strategy. Do they notice a difference? Whether it be good or bad, feedback is the best way to see what your buyers want, what they like and what they expect.


Remember, an evolution of your brand is more effective than a revolution.

Dec 13

The Importance of Staying True To Your Brand

By Maria Pesin | Business , Vibe Consulting

As a consultant in the fashion industry I meet many emerging designers.  The first question I ask when I speak to them is “who is your customer?”  They either tell me they’re unsure or they say everyone.  The problem with those answers is they have trouble developing a brand because they don’t have a unique point of view. Today branding is everything.  “Brands convey a uniform quality, credibility and experience. Brands are valuable. Many companies put the value of their brand on their balance sheet,” according to Scott Goodson the founder of StrawberryFrog.

I think at this point we can all agree that branding is important for a fashion company.  But, what happens if a company veers off the track?  They see other brands having successes and they want to try what they are doing. Maybe they had a season that wasn’t that successful so in their panic they move away from what made them have good sales to begin with.

The key is not to ping pong all over the place.  Brands can evolve wth the trends and the knowledge of what is or isn’t selling.  But by staying true to the core DNA of the business you create A more loyal, highly engaged audience.  If you don’t then you confuse your key customer base causing them to buy else where

Look at companies like Gap and J. Crew.  Their biggest problem is that they lost their brand identity driving their loyal customers to shop elsewhere  Companies that innovate and evolve like Eileen Fisher but still stay true to who they are continue to increase market share.  Whereas companies who go through revolutionary change loose customers without gaining new ones to replace them .  The lesson here is to remember to stay true to your brand and true to your visual identIty

Dec 11

Do Companies Really Mean It When They Say They Are Committed to Excellent Service

By Maria Pesin | Business , Sales

I really like the success guru Darren Hardy, author of the Compound Effect.  Or at least I did.  I bought a program of his  that I though seemed really good.  I only listened to the first part of 12 and knew it wasn’t for me.  Since he guarantees his products I filled out his contact form asking for my money back. I had to do it twice because I haven’t heard back.  (Still haven’t) Nor is there a telephone number to call, which is a pet peeve of mine.

This is just one story in a list of similar stories where I feel like I am annoying the customer service rep rather then having a service rep who wants to help. The following is a small list of customer service experiences:

  1. Called Sprint 3 different times to fix a billing issue and was put on hold for up to 100 minutes.
  2. My son was hit by a car and it took 3 weeks to get the police to write up the report.
  3. Trying to get my sons car appraised for weeks and was told we’ll call you when we get to it.
  4. Tried to cancel my gym membership at Retro because I had a knee replacement and can’t work out or walk, yet they won’t cancel unless I walk in and cancel (which of course I cannot.)

I did have one really great experience,  I had to order very expensive food for my elderly cat.  Unfortunately my cat died before the food arrived.  When I called the company Chewy to return the food they told me to keep the food and donate it to whoever I wanted. Wow that was impressive.

This has all happened in the last 2 weeks.  What is going on with companies?  Is business so good that companies can so disregard the brand experience that they alienate customers.  I now love Chewy and would recommend them to everyone.  The rest, not!

What is your experience?  I’d like to hear from you.  Do you have good experiences or has the concept of good customer service gone with the dinosaur?

Nov 09

Kate Spade Bought Out By Coach

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion


It’s time to start making our holiday wish list and every woman has put a designer purse at the top of that list. One of our favorite purse brands that we hope to see under the tree has now been sold to an iconic company.


Companies buy each other out in the fashion industry all of the time. Just a few months ago, Michael Kors bought out Jimmy Choo. And another company has been added to the 2017 “bought out” list.


Kate Spade, a fashion and accessory company that began in 1993, was bought out buy its major competitor, Coach, which began over 50 years earlier in 1941.


In a $2.4 billion dollar deal, Coach bought out Kate Spade in July with a transaction of $18.50 for every stock of Coach. The goal of this purchase was to appeal to more millennial shoppers.


Kate Spade has struggled in the past few years due to competition and the constant discounting of products.

Coach anticipated reaching $50 million in savings through their inventory management and supply chains. This goal seemed to be out of reach in August when its shares fell to their lowest point in four and a half years after pulling out Kate Spade in nearly half of its department stores. Revenue is projected to be less than predicted at $5.9 billion. The gross margin is expected to continually fall in the 2018 fiscal year, standing at 66.5 percent in August, falling from 67.8 percent.


“In an unpredictable environment, we are evolving to drive our long-term success by reinventing ourselves,” Coach Chief Executive Officer Victor Luis said in a statement.


Luis continues to hold faith in Kate Spade outlet stores. He plans on opening 25 in the upcoming fiscal year. He also hopes expanding to the men’s market will help the company increase profit



Oct 29

BJ Wilson, Can She Rescue Your Retail Business?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

BJ Wilson and Company, a professional wardrobe-consulting firm, started up in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1983. The company also offers services in personal styling, special event styling, personal shopping, travel packing and gift buying.

Believe it or not, BJ Wilson, the owner, founder and image consultant for the company, didn’t always want to go into the fashion industry. Before building her business, Wilson was the only woman in an architectural firm, working as an assistant. She became the person her colleagues went to when they didn’t know what gifts to purchase for their wives or girlfriends. This gift-buying service spiraled into an interest in consulting.

We dress ourselves for a majority of our lives, and we develop our own style. We know what we like, and what we don’t like. So why do people turn to a professional wardrobe consultant instead of sticking to what we know?

“People recognize that they need the help,” Wilson said. “They aren’t knowledgeable, they don’t know what to buy. A consultant that’s professional can educate their customers.”

Every business owner has bumps in the road, and those bumps often come one after the other at the very start. Even though she has an entire page of customers raving about her business, Wilson faced a challenge that most companies struggle with in the building process. She struggled to find employees that were loyal and knowledgeable that she could rely on to help her thrive.

Success stories like BJ are what can inspire the rest of us. A few words of advice from someone experienced in the fashion industry can be just what we need to take that next step in our career.

Wilson believes that being trained in some form of retail background, for at least one year, is what many fashion industry newcomers lack.

“Work retail, on the floor,” Wilson said. “That’s what can kind of give you direction.”

Wilson also opened up “Knowledge is Sales,” a fashion retail training resource.

BJ Wilson and Company offers online classes and group seminars to people that are looking for help in specific style areas including how to dress in the workplace and dress codes.

For those wondering what is “in” right now, Wilson has a variety of favorite current fashion trends, including feathers, fringe, the color red and metallics.

Find out more by visiting

Oct 12

Five Qualities a Successful Fashion Entrepreneur Has

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

Sometimes I think of Entrepreneurs as being a breed apart from most people. I talk to many and they say things like, “I feel like I was meant to do this” or “I will have major regrets if I don’t”. Or “I dreamt of this my whole like”. The following qualities are what I have observed that successful entrepreneurs have in common.


  1. Driven

Being a driven entrepreneur means never settling and never being satisfied. You have to always want more for your business and your own personal success. Be hungry for the next best thing. An entrepreneur should always have their eyes on a bigger and better prize.


  1. Adaptable

Life will always throw curveballs at you, always put roadblocks in your way and always throw a wrench in your well thought-out plan. Never let a downfall dissuade you. You have to adapt to unforeseen changes and to the trends in your industry. Learn how to roll with the punches and make the best of a situation. Just because your business doesn’t go according to your plan doesn’t mean the new plan is bad. It’s just a new plan that can lead you to the same finish line: success.


  1. Passionate

We’ve all heard the saying “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s corny and played-out, but true. For instance, there is a lot of money in the makeup industry. But if you own nothing but Chap Stick, then don’t throw yourself into the industry just for the money. If you are going to pursue something, and you’re going to jump into it full-force, you have to be passionate about what you’re investing so much time and money in. If you believe in something enough, you can have the power to make others believe in it too.


  1. Goal-Oriented

There are ideas and then there are goals. Ideas are thoughts that pop into your head that sound intriguing. Goals are benchmarks in your career that you want to achieve. Don’t just talk about ideas forever. You have to set your goals and do everything possible to reach them. Being goal-oriented allows you to set plans in motion that can build and lead to success.


  1. Risk-taking

Nothing is guaranteed in life, that’s what makes it interesting, and it applies to entrepreneurs as well. Risks can lead to rewards. Sure, we all wish that our success could be 100% guaranteed when we make a nail-biting decision, but you never know what could come of it. Emailing that intimidating investor or raising your hand in a meeting to question an authoritative figure might lead to something new and exciting.


Aug 21

3 Steps To Improving Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Vibe Consulting

No matter how good your fashion business is there is always room for improvement.  I myself am always looking for ways to refine my business.  Whether it is streamlining my processes or refining my marketing I always endeavor to evolve into having the best business I can.  Truly by doing this, you can increase profitability dramatically.  So the following are the steps I suggest.

  1. Analyze – The first steps in any plan to improve is to look at where you are in your business now.  Look at sales, customer service, production, and operations.  Are you happy with all these areas?  Should you increase sales?  Do you have systems in place so that everyone is clear about how things run?  Is your fit good, can you notch up the quality a bit?  Michael Gerber, author of E-Myth wrote, “Most entrepreneurs fail because you are working IN your business rather than ON your business.”  This is your opportunity to work on your business.  By studying your entire business area by area, you can then move to the next step.
  2. Plan –  Now that you have identified the areas for improvement the next step is to plan strategies for the improvement of each.  If increasing sales is a goal you might hire more sales reps.  You might decide to update your computer system.  Or maybe take a trip to China to find new factories is important for you to increase profit margins.  Having a well-thought-out plan that is written out is key to the process.
  3. Execute – Even with the best intentions how many times do you come up with ideas but don’t follow through?  Without a solid idea of how to execute nothing gets done.  This might involve delegating certain tasks or outsource the job.  Sometimes it is even as simple as putting the different projects on your calendar.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”, Winston Churchill.

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