037 | How To Bootstrap And Grow A Business, With Maria Pesin

Maria Pesin - Podcast Episode

Maria is a senior apparel industry executive, with an outstanding history of achievement over 25 years. She has developed brands from the ground up and taken well-known names to new heights of excellence, proven leadership ability has led her to spearhead marketing operations and implement business plans for New York apparel giants like Fleet Street and GIII apparel group, Malcolm X, building multimillion-dollar brands. Maria is a passionate writer who actively maintains a blog. She’s also the author of the book 14 essential truths – everyone in the fashion business should know, which is freely downloadable from the web. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology of New York. And she often repeats that she doesn’t work in Silicon Valley, she works in the fashion industry that is quirky, fickle, and prone to meet your like success, followed by quick plummets into the land of whatever forgotten. That’s amazing code.

 

Welcome, Maria. We’re excited to have you here and learn all about the fashion industry.

 

Okay. Wow. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be aboard. And I’m excited that you’re one of the hottest new podcasts out there. Great to be a part of it. Congratulations to you on your success.

 

Thank you so much. All right. So before we dive into the interview, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, you know, your background and your early successes or early failures in this industry.

 

Okay, well, I started in this business 40 years ago, and kind of dates me, but it is, this is the truth. 40 years, I’ve learned a lot. I often joke that I didn’t start at the bottom, I started below the bottom. It took me three years to get to the bottom. I had to take whatever jobs were available. And that’s what I did. And they were clerical jobs. I didn’t learn much but I got myself into the industry. And then I finally got an assistant buying position. But I grew up at a time when women really did not have careers, especially in my family. Even the men really didn’t have careers, they mostly worked with their hands. They were blue-collar workers. And so that’s kind of what my background was. And in those days, when there were jobs listed in the want ads in the newspaper, they were separated by men and women. So there were men wanted and women wanted. So that’s how long ago, and how pre-feminism, you know, Chuck, so I was kind of an anonymous, I can’t say the word, not on me.

Anomaly, kind of. Get the word out. Kind of an anomaly, in that I came from a family where no one went to college, I was the first one to go to college. And no one had careers, and certainly not women that women will homemakers. I always wanted a career and I always wanted to be in business. And my best friend and I decided to go into the fashion business, it seemed like a good idea at the time. And it was it turned out to be a great career. For me. Interestingly enough, my friend is now a nurse, and 40 years later, and she’s the one who got me into this. She’s not doing it anymore, and I’m still doing it. But it’s been a great career. I’ve grown tremendously from a shy, introverted girl from Brooklyn into an executive that ran businesses from zero and made them into multimillion-dollar profitable businesses, where I was responsible for not only division of the brand, but also the profit and loss of the brand. So I had responsibilities down to that. So it’s been a great career, I’ve learned a lot. About six years ago, I started a consulting business to work with start-ups and new brands and smaller businesses to help them be successful in the fashion industry. Because that’s what I know, I know that it’s kind of my bread and butter, my I have a client who I was talking to the other day, and she said to me, You have a great memory. And I said I do I don’t think of myself as having a good memory. It’s amazing how much you tell me and every single phone call we get on how much I learned from you. So that was kind of a nice thing to say. And that speaks to you know how I’ve grown in this business. And it’s been a good business to me. I’ve enjoyed it.

 

That’s amazing. Yeah, I can totally relate to the blue-collar work. I come from a similar background. So you know, I understand. Now, I talked about, you know, your early career. So you, you said you started below the bottom. But tell us, you know how you begin successfully? Like, did you make some mistakes along the way? And what did you learn, everyone makes mistakes.

 

Along the way, if you don’t make mistakes, you’re either not trying hard, or you’re full of it. You’re making it up, I once had a boss tell me, I’ve never been unsuccessful in my life. And I thought you read the full of it. Yeah, you haven’t tried hard to do anything special. Because it’s that easy for you, then you’re doing something wrong. And that’s how you learn. Sometimes you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. Definitely, oh, I first started out, I knew no one I had no contacts. So I just looked at the want ads at the back of a women’s wear daily and applied for jobs, I finally got a job doing clerical work. And I floated in clerical positions for about three years, until I finally got a position as an assistant buyer. And then I started to really learn about the business. Now I went to have it. And quite frankly, mostly everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned in the business, not in school. And you know, is just much more practical what you learned in the business. So I’ve seen bosses make big mistakes. For example, one time I was a salesperson for a new brand, it was called Sonia Ricky on this. And if you know, suddenly, Ricky L, she’s a big brand in Paris. And she had a diffusion line. This is many years ago. And the VP in charge of the division wanted to make this very exclusive wanted to have exclusivity and not sell to everyone. So they turned a lot of people away. But in six weeks, we booked like three and a half million dollars, which in the 80s was amazing. That’s probably like, you know, $15 million. Now, so we booked a lot, and then they saw a dollar sign. So they said, Okay, let’s double our inventory. So we sold it out. Now let’s double it. And then we can really sell people that we had to go after the people, we turned away, I try to get some by the line. And we inundated you was so much merchandise the line never sold well. Three years later, it was out of business. Wow. I’m one of the things that I learned besides what not to do was that the VP in charge of my division did exactly what the owner said, which was double your volume, you know, double your inventory. And I always thought he should have told him not to do that. And that his job as a manager was, to tell the truth. And you should have told him, this is a mistake. And that was a big lesson that I learned in that job. But there isn’t been a job that I’ve taken, that I haven’t learned what not to do and what to do. And on the way to the building, you know, a $20 million company you make, you know, the lines are great. In the beginning, you kind of learn as you go along, you make the line better and better. You learn how to price it. Yeah. Lots of knows, they, they show success, you know, they say there’s an era from you know, here to here. But the truth is, it’s not like this, it’s like this. Yeah, yeah, you know, all the way up?

 

Yeah. You know, that’s, that’s so true. Like, you know, everybody sorts of, we’re successful. We only see there, you know, sort of the end position, but we don’t see what are the avenues they take, what are the forks in the road they took. And, and the other point you made, which was very valid, as you know, you learn a lot more on the job rather than in a classroom setting somewhere.

 

Yeah, it’s amazing. And interesting, Lee enough, my teachers didn’t really have work experience. So they learned everything from a book. And a lot of my teachers would pronounce that correctly, like designers things and stuff. It was kind of hard to take them serious. They learned they really didn’t understand the business. I mean, some of them obviously, was very good. But there were a few that really didn’t know.

 

Yeah. All right. So you emphasize that the fashion industry is not like Silicon Valley. So what are the main differences? And why do you want to make sure that there is a distinction between these two?

 

Okay, so, right now, there’s a lot of things vying for people’s dollars, when I first started out, people were buying clothes, and maybe once in a while going out to dinner, and maybe once a year going on vacation. But now people are going on vacation, they eat out four times a week, maybe seven times a week, there are all these electronics, that they’re buying computers, telephones, and such. So there’s so much vying for the dollars, that clothing is not as big a part of people’s disposable income as it used to be. So the business isn’t quite as robust as it used to be. Whereas when I say Silicon Valley, I think of all like absence, electronics computers, Lex has, for example, you know, all these things. So it’s a very robust industry. And people are apt to spend a lot of money there. So it’s much easier to be successful in that field than it is to be in fashion. So you really have to do your homework beyond your game, you can’t be half-assed in this business, you have to really have all your ducks in a row and do the best job possible in order to be successful. So that’s why I say it’s different. You know, you could get away with mediocre 30 years ago, you can’t get away with mediocre anymore. So that to me, is the biggest difference.

 

Now, is there any innovation like any technology coming into the fashion industry and disrupting it in any way? Like, is there an overlap happening between Silicon Valley and the fashion industry?

 

Well, there are certain things that are happening certain kinds of technology, like fitting technology, where there are virtual drones, and you can get fit health, online. So there are programs like that. There’s also a lot of technology that’s being used in clothing, in terms of making it wicking, for example, so that when you wear clothes, when you work out the sweaters with the way there’s deodorant in the clothing, there’s, you know, non-wrinkling, there’s all this technology that’s going into fabric construction to make it more suitable to people’s lifestyles. So that’s a technological difference. The other thing is just how we do business is different, you know, the online business has made a big difference in the industry. And another thing that’s been important has been sustainability and ethically produced merchandise. That’s a very big trend in my business. That’s, those are the things that I say. But are you finding that true in most industries?

 

Yeah, actually, I’m working on a project related to mining, silver mining and sustainability is they you know, and this is a very old industry, like very, like an ancient industry. And they are also focusing on technology safety for the staff or the miners. and sustainability is big on the list because everybody wants to preserve the environment. And also it’s good for their corporate sort of image and brand, right?

 

yeah, absolutely. Everybody wants to be on that. It’s definitely the buzzword. Now, some people genuinely embrace it and really care about it. And some people pay lip service, because it’s the current marketing, you know, thing you should be doing. But it is definitely a direction people are taking, and it’s becoming more and more important, you know, what I think is going to happen soon. In closing, I don’t know how it’s going to happen. But I think 3d printing? Yeah.

 

Well, interestingly enough, I actually just wrapped up a couple of years ago wrapped up a project with, which involved 3d printing for custom variable products like a, it was a variable shoe product, 3d printed based on your custom design, custom size, and all that.

 

Yeah, I think that that’s going to be a big thing. Because right now we produce in Asia quite a bit, as you know, and mostly in Asia. And with all of the problems with the trade deficit and things that Trump are doing, it’s making it less viable as an area because the prices are going to go up. So I’ve been looking at South Africa as the next place. And the actual when I first started talking about it six years ago, everybody made fun of me and thought I was crazy, but it’s already happening. So I think that they don’t think I’m crazy anymore. But I do think things like 3d printing and the way of the future.

 

Yeah, that’s interesting. Alright, so now on your website, you have this code, no code, which says that the key to succeeding in the fashion industry is to develop a keen business. And so I think you just touched upon this topic, you know, focusing on a new area for manufacturing. But can you tell us, you know, a little bit more about what do you mean by this business sense? And, you know, how do you develop it?

 

Well, you develop it for consistently working in the business, I’m sorry, I have assistants and people that work around me, so their phones are running all the time, that’s okay.

Anyway, you have to have not just a sense of design, and of product, you have to have a sense of how to run a business, for example, you have this idea for a product that you want to do. And it’s let’s say it’s swimwear, with certain kinds of technology that make it unique and different. But it’s how you approach the market and how you do the marketing that gets the message out. So you have to understand the marketing part, in order to get your branding, right, because everything is about branding right now. And branding is very important. So you have to do all the things that it takes to do marketing. And if you don’t know how to do it, there’s books, tapes, CDs, podcasts, videos that you can watch, and you can learn. Just as an example of a day for me, I get up in the morning. And after I take my shower, and I get my coffee, I read 15 minutes of the business book, about marketing. As a matter of fact, this particular book happens to be about marketing. So I’m reading the book, when I drive in my car, I listened to a podcast, and I’m also taking a marketing course recently because I want to always up my game and marketing. So it’s all about learning. I learned all the time, my industry hasn’t been very focused on marketing. So they didn’t teach us really much about marketing. certain companies did it, but a lot of companies don’t. And so I’ve been kind of self-taught and learning how I go as I go along. So business sense, you may not be born with it, but you really need to study it. Because if you don’t know the business part, chances are you going to have a tougher time being successful. And if you don’t know the business part, hire somebody who does know who could teach you. And to help you develop that business sense. The most successful brands out there are the ones that get this, you know, there’s a lot of people who are who don’t make it, because they don’t have that sense. Yeah,

 

That’s for sure. And to your point, you know, entrepreneurship, and success in any professional profession is directly related to how much we learn, right, like we cannot stop learning. You know, the getting a degree from a university, even an Ivy League University is not the end of it, we continuously have to upgrade ourselves to accommodate the changing environment, right?

 

Mm-hmm. Absolutely.

 

All right. Now, you know, the fashion industry is obviously all about beauty and aesthetics. But you know, it sometimes it may not align well with the business objectives. So can you share with us any particular life experience in which the search for beauty actually undermined the business?

 

Actually, that’s would be a hard one. Because the truth is, it goes hand in hand, this is a business of aesthetics, if you don’t have the aesthetics, right, no one’s going to buy you. So you really have to marry them both. I’m not saying that everything you do has to be beautiful. Just has to be right. And so, I mean, I’ve seen ugly things be very popular. Like, I’m going to forgive me for saying this. But I think crocs on the ugliest thing I ever saw. But then there’s something about the aesthetic that appeals to a wider range of people. So even though it’s not a beautiful show, there’s something about the aesthetics that work.

 

Yeah, well, that’s a very good example. Because you know, it provides the function and people seem to like it. So, you know.

 

Like, color fall, and then they put little things in the holes to decorate it. Crazy valid. So yeah, so you really need to think of the aesthetics of whatever you do. The truth of the matter is everything anyone does in the business right now, you have to think of how they appear to the customer. Yeah, whether it’s just your marketing, or your packaging, or your podcast, how you present your podcast to the market so that people are attracted to it. So you have to think about that. You know, most everything you do,

 

For sure. Yeah, so be customer focused on, you know, not inject too many of your own news, if, you know, if you want to win the business, I think that’s the message right?

 

Now, I have a vision for your business, that you have an idea of what you want it to be about. And hopefully, customers will like your vision. But that’s the thing about vision, you can tweak it as you go along. So you put it out there and maybe it sells maybe it doesn’t, but you learn from when it’s out there, what to do more of them what to do less of

 

Awesome. And another quote from your web page, it says, never tried to satisfy the entire market, instead focus on the particular needs of a highly targeted audience. So can you unpack that for us? You know how?

 

Yeah, that’s a pet peeve of mine. People come to my clients come to me and they say, and I say, Well, you know what, what your product? Who do you sell to? Oh, I sell to everyone said, You can’t sell to everyone you have. Let me put a different way. I said you can sell to everyone. But you can’t market to everyone. You can’t develop a product for everyone. Because then you stand for nothing. There are billions of people, how are you going to market to billions of people, so you have to find a niche where you can stand out these days health industry is a very big industry. How could you go into the health industry and say, I’m in the health industry? How would you market that you have to find a niche within the health industry that you can tackle that would make you unique, otherwise, you’re going to be drowned out in the sea of messaging about health? And we have limited time and limited money. Those are the two big resources we have. And we have a finite amount of each. So you want to make sure you use those resources wisely. If you try to market to everyone, your budget would be billions of dollars. It’s just not reasonable to do that. So when you do your line, and when you do your brand, and this is true of everything, that’s fashion, you have to define it now or an hour narrow. In your case, you are a business podcast. However, you didn’t just say your business podcast, you say you bootstrap your dreams. Yeah, much more specific. And it’s very relatable, and it gets to people where they want to go. Yeah, other than saying a business? What, what does that mean? I mean, there are millions of millions of people who could speak about business, but you’re speaking about a narrow niche. Yeah. Does that make sense?

 

Yeah, for sure. This is such a good piece of advice, like I see, you know, people doing similar things in technology, and in other types of businesses. So your advice is right on that, you know, you need to carve out a niche and just market to them. And of course, you know, even if you’re not, you know, targeting a specific audience, they may actually buy your product. But that’s because of their own personal preference. Right. Right. And like I said, everybody could buy you, but you can’t make for everybody.

 

Exactly. Yeah.

 

Now, let’s turn to your book. And in your book, you say, brands should always stay true to their point of view and demographics, but they need to introduce new products to stay relevant. So is that applicable to fashion industry, of course, or

 

other industry? I think it’s true for every industry, you know, there are a few industries where listen, ketchup is ketchup, Heinz ketchup is Heinz ketchup, so they’re always going to be doing Heinz ketchup, but they always introduce some new ideas, maybe they do Heinz ketchup with a bit of a barbecue sauce. So they do something with a different case. Dunkin Donuts had probably, you know, six donuts when they started out, and now they have how many times and donuts so you have to always evolve to keep you fresh and keep you in people. Otherwise, they get bored. So yes, you have to catch up. But then you have some other things that you add to it. And then you might find that those other things that you added, end up being as strong as the catcher. And then after a while, they outsell the catcher, the ketchup starts not selling so well. And so your line evolves in that direction. But you won’t know if you’re not always testing and trying new products.

 

That’s, that’s good. All right. And you know, one other thing that I read that you said was, it’s one of your truths, which is building a clear customer profile. So you know, and I’m a big fan of this exercise. But we want to hear from you like, What do you mean? And how do you actually build a customer profile?

 

Well, what I do is I actually do an avatar, you know what an avatar is, like an image of the customer, you’re reading your listeners who don’t, it’s actually you making up an average of a specific person, I suggest that people create an avatar, a lot of stores, a lot of retailers, a lot of wholesalers create an actual person. So what I do is I tell them to look at their competitors, and see who their target audiences since they’re already in business, and you’re new, and learn about their target audience because that’s who you’re going after is that target audience. So you want to know demographically who this customer is. So maybe you name your customer, Carol Smith, and she’s a mother of two, she’s 42 years old, been married for 20 years, has a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old. She currently is has a college education. And she teaches and her husband’s and an engineer, like really specific, she lives in the United States. And she lives in Nashville, Tennessee. So you drill down so that everything is created for that customer. So you really know her you, you can feel her, you know, her pain, you know, her desires, you know he wants, and then you can make your product, really meet the needs that she has, so that she would want to spend money with you.

 

That’s great. And then, if I’m not wrong, we need to validate this avatar, and sort of related with some real customers as well, isn’t it like, if you get the other avatar wrong, then you may end up going the wrong direction altogether?

 

Well, that’s why I like to do a proof of concept. So I like to have maybe focus groups with this customer in mind and had those people at this at the, at these meetings where they can tell you whether or not this product fills their needs, whether they’re the right customer, they might look at your product and say, you know, this is too young for me, you know, I wouldn’t dress this way. So you learn by having these meetings, I do a little artist in-store visits to see. And to work with the customer, I show my product and I take orders and I sell products while I’m in the stores. I’ve been on the floor for Saks for dealers for Macy’s, you know, I spend a lot of time on the floor. And that’s how you learn. So you have to be out there and engaging with your customers all the time. And then there are digital marketing companies that will help you identify your audience as well. So you can watch with them.

 

Yeah, that’s great advice. Thanks for thanks a lot for sharing that. Now, the next thing that you say, and you have lots of good, lots of great quotes, so I’m just using them to frame my question there. You said that sales do not sprout magically under the peach tree in your backyard. Develop a sales and marketing plan. And you also said that you have to develop that plan even before starting your business. So tell us a little bit about that. And how do you go about doing this?

 

Well, if you’re going to have a line of clothing, you have to know how you’re going to sell it. So let’s say you decide you want to sell it wholesale to stores, you want to sell to big stores to little stores, do you want to sell online only do you want to sell both, you want to do a membership site like stitch, which is Stitch Fix, which is a very hot membership site right now when they send a package each month of how you know a merchandise that you can keep or send back if you don’t like it. But there’s a lot of different ways to sell. And knowing how you’re going to sell is important. Because if you’re going to sell a membership, and you’re going to sell a whole collection of clothing at the beginning of each month, like stitch will have shoes, handbag, accessories, clothing in one box, well, you have to design a line and you have to know how to do the production and the pricing based on that model. Because if you go direct to the customer, you’re cutting out the middleman, then you have more room in your margins, you may sell fewer pieces, but it’s more profitable. So these kinds of things will teach you how to design your line and how to price your line and what fabrics to go into and, and how the fit should be by knowing in advance how you going to sell it and to who your end customers. So you definitely want to plan that in advance. The other thing is that when I say doesn’t grow, you know, on trees, so many times sales designers, I should say and entrepreneurs, they’re so busy getting the product, right? Yeah, which is really great, but they have no clue how they’re going to sell it. And they put no effort into sales. And you can’t do that you have to realize that sales are one of the most important jobs that you have. And you might hate sales. I mean, I work with people who hate sales, but then hire people and delegate the things that you don’t want to do. But you have to have a strategy, jeez, and consistent efforts in the sales area. Otherwise, you’ll get nowhere. One of the things we do in the fashion business is trade shows, people come from stores come from all around, they go to a trade show. Hopefully, they see your line and they want to buy it and write an order. But the truth of the matter is that those things don’t just happen because you’re at the show, you have to do a lot of prep work. You have to call the store, send emails, mail things out, get them excited. So they look for you at the trade show. So you always have to do pre-selling before you go to market. And for those people I think who are afraid of sales, I’m going to tell you a secret of mine. I believe that what I do is very important. I make people money, I save people money, I help them streamline the business, I help them not lose their shirts. And I feel when somebody hires made if they’re lucky. I know it’s gonna sound egotistical, but they’re lucky they found me because I care so much about them. And I’m going to do everything I can to make them successful. And that’s what you should think when you’re selling your product, you’re doing a service because you’re giving something to people that they’re going to benefit from. So don’t be afraid of success. It’s almost an obligation that you have to bring what you do out there to help stores be successful with your product to help customers have clothing that they enjoy that make them feel good about themselves that give them high self-esteem. So if you looked at Tales from that point of view, it’s really not sales. It’s really a service.

 

Yeah. And this applies to all industry across the board and doesn’t matter what belief so yeah, you know, focusing on marketing and sales is very, very important, especially if you’re low on resources, you’re bootstrapping, you know, your focus on revenue is should be paramount.

 

Absolutely.

 

Alright, so another thing that you said about the media is that you’re warning people do not get press too early. So that is sort of unconventional thought. So tell us a little bit about that.

 

Well, your messaging is really important. And you have to have a very clear messaging that’s engaging and inspiring. So if you go to press before you have good photography, for you have good messaging, you could hurt your brand. I’ve seen too many people put their product out there, and the photography is terrible, and they get no sales and it’s very disheartening, you’re better off waiting, doing it right. And having your messaging be right so that you get good interaction and good engagement.

 

And you’ve built so many great brands and you know, drove them to success. What are some of the key learnings or you know, some of the key things that people need to keep in mind to build a well-known brand?

 

Okay, so this is the biggest secret. I don’t know if it’s a secret, but it’s really big. Your stores or the stores that you sell to, and I, I’m talking about a wholesale business, because that’s what I did. They have to be successful with your product, it has to sell for them, otherwise, they’re not going to buy any more of you. And they’re not going to expand your orders. So the more successful you are for them, and the more successful they are with your product, is how you grow your business. And there’s nothing more important than that. That is like number one. You have to make people be successful with your product.

 

Yeah. Awesome. And now a couple of other questions about operations truth. So you mentioned the thing call operations truth in your book. What does that tell us a little bit about that?

 

Well, the truth is that you have to run a tight ship. If you’re chaotic and disorganized, it will reflect in your profitability, your merchandise will be late. So stores will last for a discount, you’ll ship bad quality, so the stores will want to return it or the customer will want to return. If you don’t have your operations tight and well managed, then you can lose your money there, you can have the best product, the best messaging. But if your production is not done, right, if your business is not run properly, if you don’t have systems and in place and processes to make sure that everybody knows what to do, and everybody proceeds on the same path. That’s where you can lose your shirt. And so you have to there’s no part of the business that you can do a mediocre job on. Yeah, yeah, to have it. All right.

 

Yeah, there are a number of truths. I won’t go through them one by one. But yeah, I mean, get Maria’s book. And there’s a lot of information in there, which is very useful. Now continuing and continuing on with the team of branding. What do you think about personal branding? How do you build a personal brand? And how are you doing it? for yourself?

 

Well, I’m doing it for myself by blogging and emailing and posting on social media so that the way I’ve done it is by teaching people what I know. So the more information that I give them, the more that they will see me as the expert that I am. So I do it by giving information. But personal branding can mean so many things, different people. I’ll give you an example, I have a young man, that has been a client of mine for a year and a half. And he makes great clothes, clothes are great. But the biggest, most interesting thing I think about the brand is him because his whole image is great. He’s this young, Southern man, tall, good looking very young. He’s like 22 years old. And when you’re my age, that’s very young. 17 and might not sound so young, but he’s and he’s just charming. And he’s passionate about his product. So image, both in terms of what you know, but how you present yourself. You know, there are people who present themselves really poorly. And that’s their image, you know, some slovenly comedian, who you know, says dirty jokes all day, you know, that’s his look. That’s the persona that he creates. So you have to create a persona that goes with what you’re doing. Not everybody wants to be the face of their brand. But if you do want to be the face of your brand, make sure you cultivate the look and feel and messaging that you would do for clothing or for a new app, or for any business that you’re doing. Awesome.

 

So continuing on with this team. Tell us a little bit about business storytelling, because I think you are you talk about that as well, right?

 

Yes. People want to have an emotional connection to who they do business with. That’s a very important thing. I bring up the story of my daughter. She’s 27 now but when she was a teenager, in high school, she wanted to buy TOMS shoes. Firstly, I thought were very ugly. I didn’t know why she wanted to buy them. But Tom’s story was that they would give a pair of shoes away to someone who didn’t have shoes that they saw that read that story resonated with her so much that she wanted to buy shoes, she might not have thought were attractive, had that not be part of the story. And people want to relate, you know, give her here Spanx. Are you familiar with that line? I think so. Yeah. Yeah, it’s shapewear for women. So undergarments to kind of hold you in so that you don’t have any bulges. And I love that story. Because this is a woman who wanted the shapewear, but she couldn’t find it. And she looked everywhere. And she ended up buying pantyhose and cutting the feet off and wearing them. And that’s how she found Spanx. So she thought if I would want this, somebody else would want it. And she went to new markets. And she showed them how it worked. And they bought like, I don’t know, big order. And Spanx was born. That’s a phenomenal story people can relate to especially women who want to, you know, be like her, you know, she’s inspiring. She’s a billionaire because she came up with an idea of something that she felt that she wanted in her life. And she inspired women with that story. So having a backstory to your brand, helps with your messaging, and helps you with that, and going forward, and getting people to engage with you and see you beyond these shapewear, but the person behind the shapewear.

 

Awesome. That’s great. Maria, thank you so much for being on our show and sharing all your wisdom. And you know, you’ve shared some really good practical advice, which not only applies to the fashion industry, or high tech industry, but industries across the spectrum. So thank you so much. Now, before I let you go, can you tell us a little bit about your company, and you know how absolutely love to do that?

 

Yeah, so um, so as I said, I’ve been in business for six years. And what I do is I consult with brands who want to start their business, or grow their business. And I also work with people outside of the United States who want to come to the United States to do business, I really studied their line, I give them my feedback on what I think they need to do in order to get to the place that they need to get to, and I help them execute. So we come up with a marketing and sales strategy, which I help them execute, to create the sales that they need. Sometimes we have to revamp their line, sometimes the line is just right, and we just have to tweak the messaging. Or maybe the fit isn’t there, you know, there’s always something, if you’re not getting to the next level, we can get to the next level. And then some of my clients are just so overwhelmed by what they need to do. They don’t even know where to start. And so I help them in a very precise progression to get their business open and started and going. So I work with as a consultant, but I also have something that I’ve just started to do recently, and that’s a subscription site where people can become a member. So they’re part of a community of people like themselves, who they can talk to, I do webinars each month, I also send newsletters give resources to pattern making for lawyers, accountants and such that people can get to So unfortunately, it’s not open, but it’s going to be a it’s closed right now. But I’m going to be opening it within the next month so people can get on my waiting list to become a part of it. And it’s a very practical, cost-efficient way for people who don’t have the wherewithal to consult with me at this time.

 

All right, great. Thank you, Maria, so much for being on.

 

It was really enjoyable. You have a great smile, by the way.

 

Well, thank you so much. So kind of you. Thanks a lot. I’m sure everyone got lots of value out of this. And if anybody wants to jump into the fashion industry, please do contact Maria.

 

Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day. You too. Thanks.

 

 

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