The business of fashion is one of money, success, fame and glamour, that much is true. However, it can be a challenge to make it big, let alone make it at all. And let’s not forget that fashion is fleeting, that one grave error is all it takes to send all of one’s work into the dustbin of history.
This week is devoted to business owners from the world of fashion and related industries. If you ever wanted to have an idea of what it takes to make it in fashion, no matter if you’re a designer, a retailer, a blogger et al, then this week is for you.
My first interview is with Stacy Lomman of STACY LOMMAN : NEW YORK. For the past three seasons, Lomman has introduced us to her world via the use of Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website dedicated to funding creative projects such as hers. Her work has been profiled in LIFE and The Huffington Post among others, and she is a nominee for the 2012 Fashion Group International Rising Star Award. Make the jump to see my interview with Stacy Lomman.
Name: Stacy Lomman
Name of business: STACY LOMMAN : NEW YORK
Date of founding: July 2010
Your elevator pitch: I make a product that is timeless, but at the same time unique. Right now, in this economy, people are looking for both of these things — they want things that stand apart and things that other people don’t have — but they want those items to be high quality and to last a long time.
You were a freelance fashion designer for 15 years, as well as the design director for Joan Vass from 2005 to 2008. What events took place for you to make the jump from freelancer to launching for your signature collection?
Lomman: My goal after attending design school (and my whole reason for coming to NYC) was to have my own line. But, after graduation, I took a job in the industry so that I could pay my rent, etc., and things just moved very quickly from that point. I kept working and gaining experience, moving into different categories (outerwear, career wovens, knits, sweaters…), making more money and working my way up the ladder, as they say. However, I was never fully satisfied designing within all the parameters that come with working in a company.
Then, I noticed the industry was changing dramatically, and the emphasis on creativity was no longer important or appreciated (at least at the department store level where I spent the majority of my career). Price became the focus and styling was generally copied. I thought the timing was right for me to finally follow my passion and to get out there on my own.
You’ve used Kickstarter to help fund your collections for the past three seasons. 1) Since Kickstarter delays funding for two weeks, what did you do to fund your collections in the meantime? 2) How do you stay afloat in between campaigns? 3) Will there come a time where a new source of funding will need to come into play?
Lomman: 1) Usually, I borrow money to purchase fabric to get started with each collection. The rest of the expenses come at the end of the show (paying models, photographer, venue, sponsor prizes, etc.), so I can afford to wait for the Kickstarter funds.
2) I still do some freelance and part-time work while I’m doing my collections… that’s how I pay the rent!
3) Yes, I’m at the point where I need to find corporate sponsors or an angel investor, but that’s easier said than done especially in this economy.What sort of paperwork/red tape have you gone through to establish your fashion house?
Lomman: There’s not much to do in terms of actual paperwork. Anybody can file papers. Fashion is the type of business that takes a long time to establish. It takes a while to build a reputation and to gain awareness.
What was the best/worse/weirdest/funniest aspect/moment during the time you’ve been a business owner?
Lomman: The best thing would be my mention & sketch in WWD after showing my first collection! The worst is most definitely the financial struggle and the lack of sleep!
Any advice for someone wanting to become an owner of their own business?
Lomman: Be prepared to work 24/7; it’s not like having a 9-5 job at all. But, if you love what you do, that should be okay. And, most of the time, a new business is not going to be lucrative for several years, so you need to be prepared for that.
Stacy Lomman has a personal blog where you can keep up on her life and of any upcoming projects. Head over to taffetadarlings.blogspot.com and save it to your bookmarks. If you’re also interested in purchasing one of her pieces, check out shop.stacylomman.com to view what’s on offer.
Photo credit: Unknown (upper image) and Randy Brooke (lower image).
Video credit: Steve Lars.