Keeping Small Businesses Competitive through Sharing Best Practices of Global Leaders

Posts tagged ‘Fashion’

Claibourn Hamilton, Design & Art Direction for

Design & Art Direction ~ NEW YORK

L’Oreal USA | M A C Cosmetics | Le Metier de Beaute Luxury Cosmetics | LVMH Fragrance Brands, Givenchy + Kenzo | New Avon


BSO: Since our interview years ago, please share with us ways in which you’ve 1) challenged yourself and 2) grown, personally AND professionally.
Since our interview several years ago:
1) Professionally, my performance came to an all-time high as a Senior Designer at Givenchy Beauty in 2016-2017. I managed the retail promotional design needs for the brand’s North American region. The role required me to juggle multiple creative tasks with an even higher level of detail. Since juggling & multi-tasking has always been a challenge for me, I set up accountability measures to ensure success from day to day.
2) My personal growth was enhanced when I enrolled in Momentum Education’s series of personal development courses in 2018. Working in teams, as well as group exercises,  I learned how to resolve breakdowns in every aspect of life. This sort of life-coaching taught me how to be more authentic, aware and vulnerable with myself and others.
BSO: With what you’ve learned about yourself and all that you’ve achieved, what are 3 pieces of advice you’d give your younger self?
With all I have experienced and learned in my adult life, three pieces of advice I would give my younger self would be:
– Be yourself…own your magic
– Speak up…express yourself
– Be pragmatic when setting personal and professional goals
BSO: That never ending ‘balance’ question (wellness, career and family). What’s your typical day look like ? Or share with us a sample of 2 days.
My work life is quite demanding, so I have to be intentional to achieve that ‘balance’ in professional & personal life. Being a workaholic, has required me to implement a hard start & stop time in my work day. This also includes walking out of doors everyday during lunch to revive my senses. I also I set up at least two days per week for a morning or evening yoga practice at home, using the Asana Rebel app. All of this has helped me be aware of my weaknesses so that I may reserve my resources to build upon my strengths.
BSO: To function at our highest level and to continue tapping into our creativity, Weekends should be restorative, physically and mentally. What does yours look like ?


Excursions to Beacon, in upstate NY with my Husband. This is our time to reconnect with one another, and with nature. Taking long walks, or going on a hike is usually involved. Having the luxury of escaping NYC from time to time would help to enhance our minds, bodies and souls. If we can’t make it Beacon, then we usually find ourselves in Central Park bike riding, or simply at the beach on Fire Island during warmer Seasons.

BSO: Please share with us what we can look forward to in terms of projects you are working on or your next exciting venture. 


I’ve worked as a Graphic Designer, supporting the 2D creative needs of visual merchandising for beauty & fashion; this has become my creative niche. However, I have never learned the auto-cad, or 3D skill set associated with the development of visual merchandising display units and store design; that is, until now….I recently received a certification in Visual Merchandising Design this past Summer from Pratt Institute. Since I regularly liaise with visual merchandising teams, it was inevitable  I would make this pivot. Currently, I am a design consultant at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics ; I recently migrated to the 3D visual merchandising team. This new phase in my career will give me the opportunity to harness my expanded creative skill-set so that I can create new design concepts.

Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss, Co-Founders of Rent The Runway


Jennifer (Jenny) Fleiss, President, is an entrepreneur at heart.  She started her career at Morgan Stanley in the Strategic Planning Group crafting long-term company strategy.  She then moved on to Lehman Brothers’ Asset Management Group where she was responsible for analyzing business growth opportunities through acquisitions, international expansion, and new product strategies.  A natural leader, Jenny founded an essay-editing and coaching service for college applicants, and built the company into an online tutoring service.

In 2007, Jenny began at Harvard Business School where she met fellow co-founder and friend, Jennifer (Jenn) Hyman.  As sectionmates, the two women would meet frequently to discuss entrepreneurial ideas, one of which was Rent the Runway.  Designed to solve the common “closet full of clothes but nothing to wear” problem, Jenn and Jenny launched Rent the Runway in November 2009.

Now a year into business, Rent the Runway has quickly grown to acquire 600,000 members and has signed on 120 top designer brands.  With an inventory of over 15,000 dresses and 4,000 accessories, and entry into new categories such as handbags and undergarment essentials (available for sale), Rent the Runway has become the one-stop shop for life’s special occasions.

Jenny received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 2005 graduating Cum Laude, and her Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 2009.


Jennifer Hyman has been the Chief Executive Officer of Rent the Runway since the company’s inception in November 2009.  She is responsible for all areas of the business including technology, fashion, sales, marketing, operations, customer service, and team management, while also serving as the company spokesperson.

Jennifer co-founded Rent the Runway with her Harvard Business School classmate Jennifer Fleiss.  After receiving approximately $15 million from Bain Capital Ventures and Highland Capital, they have quickly built the company to include a 900,000 membership base with 45 employees.  Rent the Runway is a members-only online fashion community that builds customer loyalty for designer brands by enabling women to rent dresses and accessories for all the special occasions in their lives.  As the “Netflix for fashion,” Rent the Runway encourages women to experiment with new designer brands and trends.

Rent the Runway was named as one of Time Magazine’s “50 Best Websites of 2010,” Fast Company’s “10 Most Innovative Fashion Companies of the Year” and Newsweek’s “21 Best Ways to Save in 2011.”  Additionally, Jennifer and her co-founder were named as Inc. Magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30,” Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology,” and Fashion Group International’s “Rising Stars.”

Prior to Rent the Runway, Jennifer was the Director of Business Development at IMG where she focused on the creation of new media businesses for IMG’s Fashion Division. She also ran an online advertising sales team at and was an in-house entrepreneur at Starwood Hotels, creating Starwood’s first wedding business which was recognized on the Oprah Winfrey Show for its innovation.

Jennifer received her BA from Harvard University and MBA from Harvard Business School.  She currently resides in New York City where she enjoys the entrepreneurial lifestyle, neighborhood restaurants, and socializing with her friends and family.



1. What prompted both of you to create Rent the Runway?

JF: The idea originally started when my co-founder Jennifer Hyman was home during Thanksgiving break and her sister had a “closet full of clothes but nothing to wear moment.”  We started RTR so that women everywhere can have the rotating closet they’ve always dreamed of and access to designer brands that otherwise would have been unattainable.

Scenario: you meet a business exec who is looking to fund a cause that already has had enormous positive implications for the community locally and abroad. He wishes to offer $50,000 to a cause that is innovative in its thinking. He has 10 minutes available to speak with you.  What do you share with him about your work?

JH- We are committed to building a business that introduces the next generation of women to designer brands.  We have found that 90 percent of women who use RTR rent a brand they never owned before, and 80 percent report purchasing something from the brand they rented from.  RTR is a true gateway to retail and we are changing the way the female customer shops and manages her wardrobe.

2. For most successful entrepreneurs, there is no typical day so give us a sample of your schedules from start to finish.

JF: I am an avid runner so I try to go to the gym before going into the office.  Once I get to the office there is normally a team meeting.  My mornings consist of brainstorming sessions and discussions about continually improving our processes.  My afternoons are normally filled with answering emails and more meetings.  We are currently expanding our team so I’m currently meeting with a lot of potential candidates for various roles across the business.

3. What are your tricks for time management?

JF: I manage my time with lists.  I have a to do list for each day, and an agenda for every meeting I attend.  I also update my calendar constantly on my laptop and have it synced with my blackberry.


4. Best advice received when you started your career?

JH: The best advice I received was to pursue work that fulfilled me.  I had to ask myself what do I enjoy doing?  I get the most happiness leading a team, coming up with a strategy and being creative. That’s why I know I’d be just as happy being a soccer coach as I am running a fashion company.

5. Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for building awareness of your work changed for the short-term and long-term?

JF: When we started we were in the middle of a recession and consumers were changing their spending habits.   They were very conscious of cost-per-wear.  Even though we’re slowing coming out of the recession we find that women are still conservative in their spending habits.

6. What’s been your proudest achievement as such immensely accomplished Entrepreneurs?

JH: We’re about to reach one million members so that will be a very proud moment for the Rent the Runway team as everyone has worked incredibly hard to reach this milestone.

7. What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?

JF: I think every entrepreneur naturally feels as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but I find it’s really about appreciating where you are in the moment and making time for those who are important to you.

8. Your top 3 book recommendations for our readers (and why?)

JF:Delivering Happiness” which is the story of Zappos success and “Getting to Plan B” by Randy Komisar who provides great insight into how having a bias towards action is a huge part of starting a company – something we live by at Rent the Runway.

9. What’s your advice to someone interested in starting their own business?

JH: Jenny and I had a rule from the very beginning of Rent the Runway to never write a business plan, because we think that’s a waste of time. Starting a business is a series of iterative tests. Each test eliminates some of the risks of starting a business.

Andrea Hansen, CEO Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry

Andrea Hansen’s BIO

Andrea Hansen


1. Oprah Winfrey has been inspiring us each month with her unique approach to life and to creating our very best lives so, as a tribute to her, A La Oprah, what did you know for sure when you decided to be a solo business practitioner?

Andrea: While I am not an independent contractor, I knew from early on that I would have a position of leadership in the jewelry world. I started working in fine jewelry when I was 15 and became passionate about the product, the industry and what an important jewelry purchase means to the client and the recipient. What I knew for sure was that I wanted to be in a business that combines incredible artistry, a miracle of nature and the ability to create beautiful memories and mark special moments.

2. Take us through a typical day with your schedule from start to finish.

Andrea: My mornings are quite crazy as all four of us – my husband, myself and two kids- need to get out of the house by 7:30. I am usually at the office by 8:30 and usually by then I already checked in on my business in Asia and the middle east. At the office I first try to spend some time with my production VP and my CFO early on, before everyone else arrives. The rest of my day is spent with the team working on our many fronts and new business development. I rarely take lunch, but often walk up a few blocks to Ivanka’s office and then to our retail boutique on Madison and 61st street. Those few blocks give me just the right amount of time to clear my head or work out some ideas or find a solution to whatever is up that day. I travel more than one week per month, so when I am in town, I am disciplined to work an intense day but leave the office around 6pm so I can be at home to do homework with my kids and have dinner together with my family.

3. What are a few of your “can’t live without” applications on your personal computer/smart phone?

Andrea: My social media deck, which combines all our social media efforts in one destination. My synchronized calendar with my husband and my team, and of course email access 24/7. Some people think it’s a curse, but as an executive working mother, to me it means a greater amount of flexibility and access to my kids whenever they need me.

4. What are your tricks for time management?

Andrea: I divide all actions and needs in three columns:

  • Short time frame AND generates immediate results to the company (in my case, direct impact on sales)
  • Not so urgent and has medium term impact on business
  • Important and necessary but results are long term – those things you need to get to at some point but others take precedence.

Once you train yourself to think of all tasks in those terms, it becomes clear and quite automatic which tasks require how much of your time and attention.

5. Best advice received when you started your business?

Andrea: Listen more than you speak.

6. If given an extra hour each day to seek new ideas and brainstorm, what are some sources you turn to?

Andrea: Networking with like minded individuals.

7. Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for your companies changed for the short-term and long-term?

Andrea: Short term we are all doing more with less. Re-thinking the way we used to do business and being creative to achieve better results with less investment. In the long term we hope to strengthen sales and continue to grow but not forgetting the hard lessons learned over the past couple of years: be aggressive in presenting your brand but plan for a “rainy day”.

8. What’s been your proudest achievement as an entrepreneur?

Andrea: That my colleagues and my industry competitors think of me as successful, honorable and someone who is passionate and truthful.

9. What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?

Andrea: My husband and I are proud of each other’s achievements and support each other. On weekends we head to our home in the Berkshire Mountains with our kids. There we have no internet or cel phone service, and despite whatever is going on in our professional lives, we make time for each other.

10. Two books you would recommend highly to our readers (and why?)

Andrea: These two books are some of the best I have ever read. I think business leaders must have two qualities above all – creativity and the ability to inspire people to love what they do and become excellent at it.

11. If you received a surprise bonus equal to half of your monthly salary, what (if anything) would you spend it on?

Andrea: There’s not much I crave but I have been thinking for a long time about buying a really nice classic vintage watch. I might do that.

12. What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?

Andrea: I am proud to be involved with the United Nations Foundation Girl Up! Campaign. This global initiative seeks to improve the lives of 600M adolescent girls in under developed nations through education, health care and violence prevention. Girls are the future of our society and need to be given every chance to succeed. Learn more at or

13. Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?

Andrea: Hans Stern, the founder of H.Stern for whom I worked for 24 years, who made me the professional I am and the woman I became.


To explore the Ivanka Trump Collection, click on the link below:

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Polina Raygorodskaya, Founder and President of Polina Fashion LLC


Polina Raygorodskaya

Polina Raygorodskaya is the founder and president of Polina Fashion LLC, a boutique fashion, beauty and luxury Public Relations Company. Previously, as a highly-acclaimed model, Polina has graced the runway of some of fashion’s finest designers. Polina earned a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration at Babson College. Polina’s entrepreneurial endeavors have been recognized by national media outlets including Business Week, the Fox Business Channel and Legal Zoom. In 2007 Business Week named Polina as one of the “Best 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25”. Recently Polina Raygorodskaya Co-Founded Boutique Week,, a national bi-annual week of sales at participating boutiques currently in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. Anyone in those cities can sign up for free on the website to receive an Access Code and get discounts during April 17th-24th 2011 at participating boutiques.Boutique Week:
Polina Fashion:


1. What prompted you to be a solo business practitioner?

Polina: I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and I am very driven by ideas and making them come to life. I would rather make less money working for myself and being able to be part of something bigger bringing my ideas to life than to work for someone else even if it were to mean making more money.


2. For most successful entrepreneurs, there is no typical day so give us a sample of your schedule from start to finish.

Polina: There are no typical days in fact working for yourself especially on a start up you often find yourself working from the moment you get up to the moment you get to sleep seven days a week. In the end it feels very rewarding when you see results coming out of all the hard work.

3. What are your “can’t live without” apps on your IPhone/BlackBerry/Smartphone?


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Polina: Make a list of tasks you want to accomplish for the day and give yourself an allotted period of time for each task. If you set deadlines you are more likely to be more efficient. Research shows that if people are not given deadlines they spend a lot more time on tasks than people that have a deadline would spend on the same task.

5. Best advice received when you started your business?

Polina: Go for it. There is never going to be a perfect time. Take calculated risks but don’t be blind to what can come. And steer clear of analysis paralysis (that is the tendency to over analyze and get stuck without moving forward.

6. Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for your companies changed for the short-term and long-term?

Polina: We continue to maintain the same strategy throughout.

7. What’s been your proudest achievement as an entrepreneur?

Polina: Being named one of Business Week’s Top Entrepreneurs Under 25

8. What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?

Polina: Now I try to limit the amount of work I do during vacations and weekends so that I am able to enjoy my life without being taken-over by work.

9. Your top 3 book recommendations for our readers (and why?)


10. If you had an exceptional month and earned double of your average month, what (if anything) would you spend it on?

Polina: Travel. I love to travel.

11. What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?

Polina: Currently my company Boutique Week donates a portion of its proceeds to Dress for Success which is a charity that helps under-privileged women get coaching and clothing to go out into the workforce.

12. Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?

Polina: I meet many influential people on a regular basis and love to surround myself with other entrepreneurs. I know it sounds like a cliché but I live by the saying “Birds of a feather flock together” and try to surround myself with people that inspire me and that I can learn from in all facets of life.

Overall I think the most inspiring people to make me who I am today are my parents who have always supported me in every way and are always there to give me advice both personally and in business.

To learn more about Polina Fashion, please click on the link below:

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Scott Morrison, Founder of 3×1 Denim


1. 3×1 Denim isn’t your first venture into the fashion world. Can you tell us about your progression from Paper Denim & Cloth Jeans to the present day?

Scott: I’ve always loved the denim business–from the minute I walked into that first factory and laundry–and I’ve always found the process itself to be an inspiration.  The idea of inviting people in was the logical next step for me conceptually and from a brand building standpoint.

Earnest Sewn was very much a story about American heritage, both product wise and visually in the store.  Although I love that story on a personal level, it’s no longer that compelling to me as more and more retailers have attached themselves to heritage and ‘Amerciana’ (the idea of using reclaimed wood, found objects and mounted taxidermy in shop or restaurant design).

While I’m no longer affiliated with either of those brands, both meant a great deal to me personally and professionally. As I’ve gotten a bit older and progressed as a designer, the process started to change and this concept felt right.  I wanted to invite customers into the process, the same process that I’ve found so inspiring all these years.  Also, I thought it was time to do something no one was doing. Something stripped down and raw.

There was also an untold story in denim, which is simply how do you make the best jean possible?  It was clear to me that there were a few opportunities to do just that, but we needed to build the platform.  At 3×1 we currently offer more than 135 different denims from Japan, Italy, Turkey and domestically, from Cone Mills.  Many of those denims are some of the rarest and most exceptional in the world (not to mention the most expensive).

The quality of a 3×1 jean is just different than something mass-produced in a typical garment factory setting. The way we have set up our equipment, the way we cut by hand with shears, down to the way we sew and finish a jean. It’s simply better. And the fact that the entire process, from design to that final fitting, all happens in one space gives us a truly unique opportunity to ensure that every 3×1 customer is getting the finest product imaginable.


2. In 2011, the doors opened to your SoHo 3×1 flagship store/production facility. What’s 2012 have in store for Scott Morrison?

Scott: We’re launching our wholesale business in 2012.  We’re also looking to open a second store/shop, so 2012 will indeed be an exciting year for us!


3. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Scott: I wake usually around 6:30 a.m., make breakfast and read emails and a couple of blogs.  I walk to 3×1 everyday, which for me, begins around 8:45 a.m.  With our factory, design studio, and retail store all in one space it can be both extremely productive and at other times, very distracting.  In a given day, I’ll be involved in everything from wholesale sales appointments to bespoke retail appointments, staff meetings, production meetings and the planning of production, down to the monitoring of retail sales and staff performance.  If I’m lucky I grab a meal at my desk during lunch and try to head home before 8 p.m.  It’s exhausting but I am enjoying every minute.


4. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or Desktop applications?

Scott: iPhone 4S is my can’t live without smartphone. On the desktop side, I couldn’t do much without my iMac and a handful of applications like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Aperture, Lightspeed, and Microsoft Excel.  Add a few Moleskine notebooks and Muji’s .38 black jelly pen, and I’m all set.


5. What are your tricks for time management?

Scott: I haven’t discovered a trick yet–but I’d love to!

I try to prioritize my day as much as possible, but I’m very used to things coming out of left field, and I like to maintain an open door policy for staff, so a lot of my day is spent putting out fires and refocusing both mine and the company priorities around our ongoing and immediate needs.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of your business for short term and long term growth?

Scott: We focus on two things (keep it simple):  1) trying to bring customers into the store, and 2) trying to ensure that once they do, their experience is so special that they need to come back. Once a customer comes into the store, they will come back. As soon as they purchase a pair of our jeans, they will want another and will want to tell their friends about it.  Press, referrals and street traffic in our increasingly busy neighborhood are key to our success now.  Long-term growth will require we open other locations in the right cities and countries.


7. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Scott: Look people in the eye, know your product from the inside out, and always try to be honest with yourself.  It’s easy to get wrapped up sometimes in what everyone else is doing, or saying, or wanting.  And I’ve always tried to focus on making the highest quality products with great integrity. Even if sometimes you give up opportunities to make more money or sell more widgets.


8. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Scott: I think the fact that I’ve been able to introduce several different concepts into the denim arena that have been well received. That, and having seen a few of those people I’ve worked with for years start to break out on their own and thrive in a new space they’re creating for themselves.


9. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Scott: It’s something I constantly work on.  Some days and weeks I do a better than others, but I’m fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a bit of the city and a bit of the country, time with my beautiful fiancée and our dogs.


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Scott: I’ve always preferred to keep my charitable endeavors anonymous, but I think about empowering people on a daily basis in every aspect of my life: work, friendships, and charity.


11. Who has influenced your career the most?

Scott: My parents, obviously for the way they raised me, but on the professional side, my first real mentor in the apparel industry was a man by the name of Charles ‘Chuck’ Fancher. He was very instrumental in helping me get my foot through the door and passing along some values and ideas I still use today.  When it comes to the denim industry and getting my first real opportunity to launch a brand, I owe much of the success I’ve had to Dick Gilbert, who financed my first denim concept, Paper Denim & Cloth.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Scott: A couple things I always think of:

  • Build your concept/brand/vision around a story.  By ‘story’ I mean ‘point of view.’  You need to have one, and it needs to be unique in some way if you’re going to be successful, no matter what business you’re in.
  • Make it a priority to find something you love to do, and once you do, try to find a make a living doing it.  If you can’t do that for a living, then try to find something you love in what you do everyday at work.
  • Resist the temptation to delegate (at first)… as an entrepreneur, you’re going to be the driving force behind your company’s success and you’ve got to lead by example, out front.

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