Norma Kamali is one of my industry idols. Not only because she makes a great swimsuit, but because she runs a successful, independent business pretty much on her own.
A business that includes a flagship store, a diffusion line sold at department stores like Bloomingdale's, a bustling online retail site, a massive deal with Wal-Mart, and special projects with eBay as well as several other mini ventures.
That's why she's the ideal keynote speaker for FashInvest's first annual conference, taking place December 15 at FIT. Neil Cole, CEO of Iconix Brand Group, which owns everything from Madonna's Material Girl collection for Macy's to Candie's to London Fog, is the other keynote speaker.
FashInvest is a New York-based organization formed by a group of venture capitalists, private equity managers, and fashion company executives who want to help emerging designers and other fashion entrepreneurs find funding. Unlike Fashionstake, another fashion/business startup I've written about, there's really no crowdsourcing involved. It's all about finding the right investors for your specific brand.
Along with speeches from Kamali and Cole, the conference will allow 12 to 15 entrepreneurs to present their business plans to an audience of financiers and operating executives. Each will be given just eight minutes to complete his or her pitch. If you're interested in being one of those entrepreneurs, you can apply at Fashinvest.com. The deadline is Monday, November 8 at midnight ET.
If you're not quite at the pitching point yet, it might be worth stopping by to watch Kamali's speech. There's no doubting she'll inspire you.