And while many aspiring fashionistas and designers have decided to set their eyes on the pages of Vogue, WWD and other notable Beauty & Fashion magazines – it takes more than creativity to become an industry leader. Fashion designers help create the billions of dresses, suits, shoes, and other clothing and accessories purchased every year by consumers.* Entrepreneurs within the fashion industry pursue coveted apprenticeships and later, work for some of the most renowned labels. A daring few make the decision to set out on their own.
As a designer, the acute ability to keep on top of the fickle pulse of discriminating trendsetters is not an easy task. Fashion’s elite learn to capitalize on and influence the opinions of popular society. A reflection of vision, planning and unyielding discipline is often seen in the hemlines of the most coveted collections. A well-known industry motto amongst the brightest stars, “You must pay your dues.” So, what is one to do next with an impressive culmination of industry experience after paying those dues? Amid a recession, Rolando Santana set out to prove that ultimately belief in yourself against all odds is the logical and stylish next step.
Company: RSNYDesign, LLC
Founder, Age: Rolando Santana, 37
Location: New York, NY
Startup Year: 2009
Startup Costs: 300k
How I Got Started: After a successful career designing for well-known dress companies I decided it was time to put my talent into full-speed and work for myself. I designed my first collection in the middle of the recession. Most people thought I was crazy but I believed in myself and went against all of the odds. I designed and planned a small, yet cohesive collection that caught the attention of countless retailers and consumers.
Best Success Story: I don’t think of myself as a success story by any means. Even with great experience in the fashion industry I am still learning every day. I am happy about the positive response and sell through for my Spring 2010 collection. I sold to more than 65 stores right out of the box. Fall 2010 bookings were very strong, and as of today my collection sells in 95 high-end specialty stores around the country.
Biggest Startup Challenge: More than anything, capital [funding]. In order to grow the business at a faster pace, additional capital is absolutely necessary.
#1 Tip for Newbies: I am not sure I am the right person to give tips … but if you believe in what you do – follow your dream. Be vigilant with your investment and do as much as you can without acquiring overhead expenses. Becoming an entrepreneur is a huge responsibility that takes careful planning and discipline. Having your name on the door, or on a label, is a great satisfaction that also requires great commitment.
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