October 6, 2010
I was so thrilled and lucky to be honored this week on Monday evening by the Women’s Venture Fun as Celebrity Entrepreneur of the Year. I have been getting such great feedback on my speech that I decided to share it with you, as well as some photos, below. Let me know what you think and as always thank you for all of your love and support.
I remember entering my last of college to get my 2 year degree from FIT I realized I wasn’t ready to enter the work force and wanted to get a B.S. degree in business. My father told me he wasn’t going to waste any more money on me as I would just end up getting married and having kids. I remember so vividly first the anger than the determination to prove him wrong. I was going to make something of myself and I was going to become successful.
There was no doubt in my mind and in the back of my mind even then i knew i wanted to have my own business one day. I took a student loan worked 3O hours a week and took 21 credits.Nothing was going to stop me! At that time my ultimate goal was owning my own clothing store so i thought it would be best first to be a buyer for Macy‘s department store. To achieve this I worked as a sales manager part time which helped me enter the buying program.
Always think 3 steps ahead about where you want to be and then work on the steps to get there.I did become a buyer but only then later to switch to the wholesale business working forcompanies such as Calvin Klein and French Connection. I literally fell into an opportunity to enter the closeout business with a company I was working for and been helping them. On the side to move all their private label merchandise i.e. Express Ann Taylor, The Limited etc. I had mixed emotions when this presented itself to me. I knew I wanted to be in control of my own working hours and have no limits on the income I could make and not report to anybody but myself. I also knew eventually I wanted to be married and have a child and
Having your own business gives you flexibility with your family and that was so important to me. I felt I had no choice but to seize the opportunity. I felt i had nothing to lose and passionately wanted this to work.
I spoke to my dad about the opportunity telling him there was no risk as I would pre-sell the merchandise before purchasing and the stores all had triple A credit rating. And how I was going into partnership with a man who would back me financially. My father said and I will never forget this “you need no partners in life” how much do you need? He gave me $70,000 from his retirement fund and I paid him back in 6 weeks plus interest.
This was a whole new business and as anyone know cash flow is what hurts most businesses. So I had the audacity to tell all my accounts they had to pay me in net 10 days R0G and I would purchase the good with 30 day terms. So I actually had a float of extra cash for 20 days unheard of in most businesses. There were times I was buying 300,OOO dollars and more at one time I knew these stores would want my product and I knew I could only do business this way. I was adamant sorry you cannot get 60 day terms and 2percent off. Its net 10 days only otherwise you can’t have the merchandise. By sticking to my guns I got my terms which is unheard of in the garment business.
There were times I had to reinvent myself by going after different types of stores and merchandise to stay in business. But I did it with determination and hard work. With no connections and not an Ivy League education I believed in myself and I knew how to think out of the box which is so important.
You can’t be afraid to pick up the phone, emailing is the way of business now but don’t underestimate the power of a phone. Call or face to face meeting you have to have courage. We are in an ever changing and very challenging economy.
People can expect to change their career or direction of their business at least once. The internet and social media are now such a huge part today of generating business. You really need to love what you to be successful. You need to be passionate about it if you are its contagious. I am 50 something and reinventing my career. I now have an internet company with my husband truefaithjewelry.com. I also have a jewelry line on HSN, Tru-Renewal skin care line and now working on Ramona Pinot Grigio.
Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. I never have and if I was I would never be where I am today!