Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

Jun 03

The 15 Most Influential Style Icons of All Time

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized



Who are the most influential style icons of all time?  Or at least modern times. (I think we can eliminate people like Marie Antoinette and Cleopatra).  It seems that different people have different opinions.  Though there does seems to be a common thread.  For example: Audrey Hepburn does top most lists.  On they have an article on the 15 most influential style icons of all time.  They have Hepburn as number 1.  They state the following:

“Audrey Hepburn was the picture of pared-down elegance both on and off screen. Who can forget the belted menswear button-down worn with a long skirt and flat sandals by Princess Ann in Roman Holiday? Or Jo Stockton’s Capri pants and ballet flats in Funny Face (revived years later by Gap for a TV ad). Or, of course, Holly Golightly’s oversize sunglasses and little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. At a time when curves ruled (Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor et al.), Hepburn was the physical antithesis—gamine features, a slender boyish physique and a graceful gait born of years of ballet training. Her style choices were always about comfortable, casual elegance, not sex appeal.”

Click on the link below to read the rest of the article.

Jun 01

How An Item Can Drive Your Fashion Business.

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Uncategorized


There are many cases in history where an iconic item can help launch and build a brand. There is the classic Chanel bag introduced in 1955.  A bag the company has made since it was introduced in 1955.  That is 60 years!  They have run many incarnations of the bag and it never dies.


It is more than 100 years since Burberry’s invented the trench coat and it is still flying off the shelves.  It has been knocked off by many a company and yet it still represents a significant part of Burberry’s business. Customers want the original.



Aviator sunglasses, or “pilot’s glasses”, were originally developed in 1936 by Ray-Ban for pilots to protect their eyes while flying, thus the name aviator. Ray-Ban began selling the glasses to the public a year after they were developed. They still are the hip sunglasses of choice.


As reported by, Valentino’s overall sales have doubled since the studded pump shoe’s introduction five years ago, and revenue in 2014 was up 36 percent—half of which can be attributed to accessories. Maria Grazia Chiuri, the brand’s co-creative director alongside Pierpaolo Piccioli, explained in the interview, “We never think to do something only for one season. We want to speak a language that speaks about style, and that becomes timeless. Our inspiration is to create something that you want to have with you for your life, forever.”



So what does this teach us fashion entrepreneurs?  While you might not invent a style that will sell for 50 years you can create an item that is unique to your company that you can run for several years.  If you have a strong selling style run it again.  An item like this can also represent what your brand stands for.  Try different interpretations of it.  You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel season after season.  In fact many successful brands build their business off of core styles that they run season after season.



May 29

The Importance of Focus and Building Your Fashion Brand

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized


It’s very exciting to start your own fashion company. Your dream is to be the next Michael Kors or Donna Karan.   You envision being a lifestyle brand and making everything from sunglasses to dresses. Planning your first line thoughts of doing a little bit of everything: pants, dresses, shirts, knits, and maybe a few handbags sounds like a great way to launch your first collection. You also see yourself selling to everyone from age 21 to 50 and from different walks of life. Just when you are ready to begin on this path I hope someone with the voice of reason smacks you on the head and says NO!! This is not the way to do it. Because it isn’t and yet so many new entrepreneurs think this way. Take it from me focusing on a particular product is the best way to launch. Decide the classification you want to be in. Is it sportswear, or dresses, or accessories? Whatever you choose that should be your direction. And do the best darn collection in that category. Make a statement.

After you select your category you then need to decide on who your customer is. Then create a singular vision for your line.   Your collection needs to have a very clear point of view.   Then when someone sees your line they know what you stand for. As branding great, Al Ries said, “The best approach to take in our over-communicated society is the oversimplified message. You have to sharpen your message to cut into the mind.”

Your marketing should also reflect the collection.  You learn where target customer goes.  So that the PR you do reaches her.  Be repetitive in your marketing. Choose a few things to do then do them consistently, often, and well. This doesn’t mean you cannot sell to everyone.   But you cannot create for everyone and market to everyone.   You need to market specifically. Then, of course, you can sell everyone.

As your business grows you and you build a solid customer base you can then add on product extensions. But, starting with a focus will actually grow your business more quickly.  Brand focus is a critical component in building your brand. Strong brands have one big (major) point. Weak brands are a collection of small (minor) points tied together. I read a great saying recently, “Build a business that’s a sword, not a broom.”

May 28

Where Does A Fashion Designer Go For Inspiration?

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized


Where does a fashion designer go for inspiration when designing a new collection?  There are many places for them to look.  Some of the tried and true methods are as follows:

Magazines: Take a look at the magazine rack of your local bookstore, grocery store, or drugstore for a wealth of fashion magazine choices. Some of the more popular ones (in the US, anyway) are Bazaar, Vogue, Glamour, and Nylon.  There are also magazines that are classification specific.  A great store to shop at in NY is Shop Around The World.  There website is: is the online home of Vogue magazine and has up-to-the-minute coverage of designers, parties, and anything else going on in the world of fashion.  You can see complete coverage of all the designer runway shows right after the show is run.  No longer do you need to wait till the collections are in the stores.  The Trend section is also a great tool for a designer.
Style Blogs: There are a ton of style blogs out there. A few excellent ones to check out include Refinery29, The Cut (New York Magazine’s fashion blog), The Sartorialist, and Fashionista. For even more, check out Signature9’s list of the 99 Most Influential Style Blogs.

The Street: Check out fashion in the city or town in which you live. There are likely plenty of fashion-forward residents in or around your home town.

Newspapers:  Many newspapers have fashion sections.  Some even have special editions like The New Times.  Women Wear Daily and Footwear news are important industry newspapers.

Culture:  This includes books, movies, museums, and travel.  You never know where inspiration can come from.  I once figured out my spring color pallet from watching the NYC Ballet.  And many times a popular movie will greatly influence the seasons trends.






May 26

Life Mastery by Stephan Pylarinos

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized


I am reading Life Mastery by Stephan Pylarinos for the second time.  I am not sure how I found this guy but he is a young man who in his teens started on a journey to change his life.  It started with his goal of having more success with women and mushroomed into improving all areas of his life.  Stephan is very goal oriented.  He even has the guts to put his yearly goals online and gives an update on how he is doing each month.  Talk about being accountable!

In his book he discusses the process he has gone through and continues going through to reach his goals.  For example he wants to have 8% body fat and compete in fitness competitions.  He has financial goals that he continually achieves and then increases.  He wanted to meet an amazing women which he has.  Then his book gives you step by step actions you can take to get to your goals.

“Every month, I write a detailed monthly report about the progress that I’m making towards the goals and resolutions that I publicly stated on my blog earlier in the year,” says Pylarinos.

I like Stephan’s take on goal setting and as he calls it Life Mastery.  He recommends making your goals and constantly monitoring your progress.  While this doesn’t sound new his approach is unique.  I also think he has a likability that comes through in his book.  The book is  easy to read and his ideas are easy to implement his.  All in all I find Life Mastery by Stephan Pylarinos very motivating and recommend reading it.

His site is called and the book can be found at Amazon.


May 21

3 Things to Know Before Starting Your Own Successful Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

Wow, big decision!  Starting your own fashion business.  You have dreamed of this almost your whole life.  Or, maybe you didn’t but you got an idea for something that you think the market needs.  Whoever you are you made the choice to do it.  If you haven’t had a fashion business before, starting one can seem daunting.  But, if you are prepared to do the work it can be a fabulous business.  Just know that the industry is not as glamorous as it seems from movies, tv shows, and magazines.  It is hard and it is demanding and sometimes you find yourself doing very unglamorous things.  Like rolling large trunks of samples through the street to bring them to buyers or steaming dresses to make sure they look good in the showroom.  There are magic moments though, when a magazine editor chooses one of your pieces for an article, or you see someone on the street wearing your stuff, or a store you shipped product to sells it out in the first week.  Those are the times we live for.

So what three things you should know before you start?

How well does your product compete?  You have an idea for your product and you of course think it is amazing.  How do you know that it is?  Research, research, research!!  I have a client who had a cool idea for an apparel line.  He felt it was something unique and something customers would like.  After shopping the stores and on-line retailers he found that what he wanted to do was not as unique as he thought and decided not to do it.  Money and time saved.  Another of one of my clients who researched for her product found there was definitely a market but the prices needed to be much lower.  You can see the value in research.


What is your business plan?  Business plans are very valuable.  They force you to answer questions that help you develop the blueprint for your company.  With a blue print you can focus your energy and keep your company on track.  You create benchmarks you can use to track your performance and make midcourse corrections. A roadmap and timetable for achieving your goals and objectives.  You can also use it to get funding.  Which brings me to the next thing.




How are you going to fund your business?  Now we get down to the nitty gritty.  Where do you find the money to run your company?  This is why your business plan is important.  It will help you figure out how much money you need to start the business and to run the business till it earns enough to run without cash infusion.  Running out of money in the middle of developing your business with no idea of how to get more is one of the major reasons why new companies do not make it.







May 13

Is This a Good Time To Start a Fashion Business?

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized


Is this a good time to start a fashion business?  While I can’t answer that for sure, I know that I have seen lots of changes over the last decade that makes me think it might be.

When I first came into the fashion industry an individual with little funds could start a business and be successful. That was in the early 80’s when companies could do little wrong. Customers had money to spend and spend it they did. There were also many US factories and mills that would make small quantities, for a collection, at affordable prices.

With the end of the 80’s came the end of the boom. Money became tight. Factories and mills went to Asia and minimums on orders grew. While there were many stores to sell in the 80’s, the 90’s and 2000s saw stores going bankrupt, out of business, or merging into mega chains. Stores like H & M and Target started offering fun fashions at cheap prices. The landscape of the industry started to change. Now in order to start your own business you needed serious money. Anything less than $1 million and you really couldn’t go into business.

The last several years we have started to see another change. This time it’s for the good. At least that is what I think. With the growth of the Internet and shopping cart web development sites such as Shopify, one could now sell direct to the consumer. There is also a resurgence of resources in the US of factories taking small quantities for cuttings. Mills are being started up in the states. And sample rooms are being opened in US cities. If you don’t have a lot of money you can get crowd funding from sites like Kickstarter.

This breathes new life into the industry. Designers with a unique point of view are coming into the market with new ideas. Yay!! The industry needs this. Fashion has gotten stale. The same old players are dominating the market. All the stores look alike. I for one am happy to see the changes.




May 11

Mother Knows Best: 9 Inspiring Quotes From Successful Moms

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

I love these inspiring quotes that were in an article written by Marco Marrone for DocStoc on May 7th, 2015.  It is as follows:

1. Barbara Corcoran, Real Estate Mogul and Investor
“The joy is in the getting there. The beginning years of starting your business, the camaraderie when you’re in the pit together, are the best years of your life.”

Barbara Corcoran is probably best known as the first female on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” She famously turned a $1,000 loan from her boyfriend into a billion-dollar empire, and after nearly three decades in the industry, she sold her real-estate business for $66 million in 2001. Since that time, she has continued as a syndicated real-estate columnist and contributor, author and savvy investor (which is how she turned her $66 million into more than $1 billion).

2. Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
“The distance between number one and number two is always a constant. If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself, and the organization gets pulled up with you.”

Indra Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and has been chairman and CEO since 2007. She’s directed the company’s global strategy for more than a decade, taking the lead in its corporate restructuring and spearheading several high-profile acquisitions. Nooyi is one of just 12 female CEOs in the Fortune 500 and was ranked the most powerful woman in the world twice by the magazine.

3. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
“Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder. Ladders are limiting. Jungle gyms offer more creative exploration … The ability to forge a unique path with occasional dips, detours and even dead ends presents a better chance for fulfillment.”

Sheryl Sandberg manages Facebook’s sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications. Previously, Sandberg not only built and managed Google’s successful online sales and operations program, but also served as an economist for the World Bank and chief of staff at the U.S. Treasury Department.

4. Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube
“Work smart. Get things done. No nonsense. Move fast.”

When Google was created in Susan Wojcicki’s garage, it marked a pivotal moment in the history of the world. Wojcicki grew within Google to become senior vice president of Ads and Commerce, leading Google’s advertising and analytics products, including AdWords, AdSense, DoubleClick and Google Analytics.In February 2014, Wojcicki became the head of YouTube.

5. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of, ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”

Marissa Mayer is the current president and CEO of Yahoo Inc., a position she has held since July 2012. Previously, she was a long-time executive, usability leader and key spokesperson for Google. In 2014, Mayer was ranked sixth on the list of America’s 40 Under 40 in Fortune magazine,as well as the 16th most powerful businesswoman in the world.

6. Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Mondelēz International
“Our emerging workforce is not interested in command-and-control leadership. They don’t want to do things because I said so; they want to do things because they want to do them.”

Irene Rosenfeld has been involved in the food-and-beverage industry for about 30 years. In 2004, Rosenfeld was appointed chairperson and CEO of Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, where she focused on promoting healthy products. In June 2006, Rosenfeld was appointed CEO of Kraft Foods.

7. Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO of Sam’s Club
“You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect.”

Rosalind Brewer is president and CEO of Sam’s Club, a members-only warehouse store with revenues of $56 billion for fiscal year 2013. Brewer joined Walmart in 2006 as regional vice president, overseeing operations in Georgia. She later became division president of the Southeast and then president of Walmart East.

In 2013, Brewer was named one of the Most Powerful Black Women and one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes. In addition, Working Mother named her one of the Most Powerful Working Moms of 2013.

8. Ursula M. Burns, CEO of Xerox
“Keep your eye on what’s important, and everything else will fall into place.”

Ursula M. Burns is chairman and CEO of Xerox, the world’s leading enterprise for business processing and document management. In addition to the Xerox board, she is a board director of the American Express Company, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Ford Foundation. Burns also provides leadership counsel to community, educational and non-profit organizations, including FIRST, National Academy Foundation, MIT and the U.S. Olympic Committee, among others.

9. Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of The Huffington Post
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”

In 2005, Arianna Huffington launched The Huffington Post, co-founding the platform with Kenneth Lerer and becoming its editor-in-chief. In 2011, Huffington sold the site to AOL for more than $300 million, and she subsequently became president and editor-in-chief of the company’s Huffington Post Media Group. Huffington is also a nationally syndicated columnist, radio host and author of 14 books.

Do you have any great quotes from your mom? Leave us some of her insights in the comments below.

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May 01

Controlling Cash Flow For Small Fashion Businesses -Part 3

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized


Profit does not equal cash flow.  Reading your profit and loss statement (P&L) will not give you a handle on your cash flow.   Knowing whether you earned a profit (or created a loss) is not the same as knowing what happened to your cash,  Profit, as defined by the rules of accounting, is simply revenue minus expenses. Invoicing a customer for products or services you sold to them creates revenue. Actually collecting the money on that invoice is what creates cash.

That is why bad debt can really hurt you.  Small start up companies are so excited to get into business they forget about credit when they sell to stores.  Many do not have credit agencies on retainer so they cannot check credit ratings.  A good idea is to take credit cards from your accounts and then charge the credit card when you are ready to ship.  Small stores are utilizing this method more and more.  Since many credit companies are not extending credit to small stores they find it easier to pay this way.  The stores get points on their credit cards for the purchase which is a plus.

As your company grows you can hire a Factor.  Factoring is a transaction in which a business sells its accounts receivable, or invoices, to a third party commercial financial company, also known as a “factor.” This is done so that the business can receive cash more quickly than it would by waiting 30 to 60 days for a customer payment.  Your company than pays a percentage of the invoice till the customer pays.

There is a direct link between low profits or losses and cash flow problems. Remember – most loss-making businesses eventually run out of cash.  While this sounds like a no brainer keeping track of your profitability is so important.  You need to continually manage this so that there are no surprises at the end of the year.

Look for part 4 in the series.

Apr 16

Fashion Marketing and Place (Methods of Distribution)

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

According to The Economic Times: “Place in the marketing mix refers to the channel, or the route, through which goods move from the source to the final user. Place could be the intermediaries, distributors, wholesalers and retailers.”  To determine which distribution method is used, the company must understand the needs of the consumer and determine which avenue provides the best ability to put the product or service in front of the potential buyer. Below we take a look at the main channels we commonly see in the marketplace for sales to customer:

Retail Stores – This is a tried and true method.  Selling to stores or having your own store is a great way to get your merchandise out there.  People love to shop and use it as a form of entertainment.  So even though retail stores are not growing as they had in the past it is still a major source for sales.  Having people see, touch, and try on all at once is a big advantage.


On Line/Mobile Devices – We all know these are the fastest growing channels of distribution.  Customers love the ease of shopping from home or frankly any where they are.  It is a very modern way of selling.


Fairs – Many new designers like to sell here.  It is inexpensive to rent a booth and if the fair is well attended you can get great exposure and sell product.


Direct Sales/In Home Parties – This is a form of selling that has been done for many years.  With companies like Avon, MaryKay, and Tupperware it is the only way.  While not many fashion companies do this, I believe if done right you can be very successful.


Catalogs – This is a very expensive way to sell your product.  However since less and less companies are doing it you can really stand out.


Whether retail or business-to-consumer, choosing the right distribution method to complement your product can be a boon to your bottom line.