Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let Your Fingers Do The Walking

When I was a kid I remember watching the commercial for the yellow pages that advised viewers to "Let your fingers do the walking." It was a television moment that has stayed with me throughout my career. Looking to establish my own company was unchartered territory. After all, I'd never even worked for anyone in the fashion industry. So it was a moment of reinvention (Hello Madonna!). Dutifully, I began to make a list of things I needed and let my fingers do the walking. I found clothing label manufacturers, shoe companies, sample makers, fabric stores, etc. The Yellow Pages held a treasure trove of potential contacts. But when I started searching for a financial backer to assist me with taking the company to the next level, there was no listing for Angel With Lots of Money. Up until that moment, it had been my go-to guide for problemsolving. One day about 5 years ago, I was commiserating with my diva friend Josette when she suggested a new kind of yellow pages. "Divo," she said, "why don't you put an ad on craigslist? It certainly can't hurt." Nothing beats a failure but a try, so I wrote my ad and posted it on craigslist the next day. The response was not overwhelming, to say the least, but I did manage to get three bites. One person sent an anonymous message which strongly suggested that I go back to school, take some business classes, and get my head out of the clouds because I obviously had no clue. Ouch! I actually met with the next prospect and he suggested that I just copy designs that were already in the marketplace and sell them. Clearly, he did not share my passion to bring something innovative into the retail landscape. Buh-bye! I was a little worn out when I met with the next dude. He was fresh faced and a little young. He was from Pakistan and had no money. But he had a connection to someone with lots of money who was also interested in building a fashion brand here in the U.S. Serosh (that's his name) and I shared a similar vision for our futures. Jackpot! So even when this financial backer backed out, Serosh and I have continued to try and rub two pennies together to see if we can make Sorta Kinda Enterprises a bonafide success story. But we have to remember to let our fingers do the walking.
Peace & Fashion!

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