This week, bag-goddess and designer extraordinaire Rebecca Minkoff graciously took time out of her hectic schedule to chat with readers about how she got where she is today--which is to say, how she started a multi-million dollar bag and clothing line (with a soon-to-open brick and mortar store) from nothing. If your schedule was too hectic to tune in, don't sweat it--Minkoff's words of wisdom were too valuable to disappear into chat room ether so we're putting the best nuggets down here:
On breaking into the fashion industry: Be willing to start and do anything. If you can get an internship, get one. I would say just start and get your foot in the door. I have had two people start working here who stated in other positions and worked their way to what they wanted by being vocal and go-getters.
On raising the money to start her own company: Every dollar I made went back in. I started with $10,000 from saving up my whole life. By the time I began to grow at a rate that was beyond dollar in, dollar out, I was in business with my brother. Luckily he had great credit and could secure a credit line. If you don't have good credit, I would say find someone who does! The thing that we learned was to not go out and get a huge chunk of money. I have seen many people blow through it because it's there. We saved and thought about every single penny and to my brother's credit we are lucky in that we own 100% of the company today.
On doing a collaboration with a mass retailer like Target? Nope! As a contemporary line, it's too close to go down in price. Luxury can do it as the gap is wider. But I have seen it now work well when a contemporary designer does this.
On what buyers want: They want innovation, newness and color! Even if what ends up selling at retail is mostly black, when my buyers come in, they want happy and color. So we give them that every time!
On securing press: The best way is to send the editors of your favorite magazines images of your product. The publications all have phone numbers. When I first stated I called the editors and told them about my product. Before I knew it they were calling me.