- Diane Von Furstenberg (DvF): After an unsuccessful turn in her business, she was able to relaunch her company with her iconic wrap dresses. Today her global luxury brand is available in over 70 countries and 45 stores worldwide. She is the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and was awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. von Furstenberg attributes much of her success to the fact that her company is 97 percent women. Read more about her story here.
- Tory Burch: Without traditional business school or design school training, she started her fashion business in her apartment and later grew to 73 stores worldwide, and is scheduled to open 12 stores in 2012. She is known for her signature logo and bohemian chic styles, and received an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey. One of her keys to success is “Work hard, think long-term, and be patient.” Read more about her story here.
- Tracey Reese: Started sewing clothes as a little girl with her mother and eventually moved to New York to attend Parson’s School of design. She worked at several top design houses before starting her own fashion label. She also creates the lines Plenty & Frock! at more affordable price ranges. She recently created a custom-made dress for First Lady Michelle Obama for her 2012 DNC Convention speech. Read more about her story here.
There are several other notable fashion designers that have grown successful businesses: Rachel Roy, The Olsen Twins, the ladies of Cushnie et Ochs, and Stella McCartney just to name a few. Every path to success is different and maybe you aspire to own your own successful business one day. Yes, some of these designers may have already been famous before starting their lines, and yes, some of these designers may have had tons of money and support to begin their business. But I’ve learned from these women that it takes focus, perseverance, and hard work, along with experience and knowledge of your industry to maintain success. Learn from their stories and what they did right and what they did wrong to help you on your journey. No matter what your dreams are don’t give up.
Check out some work and after-work looks below featuring the three highlighted designers, although some pieces may be in the high price range, you may be surprised by the more affordable shoe options: