Last Thursday evening, Sept. 20, was the culmination of Design Entrepreneurs NYC (DENYC) an intensive “mini-MBA” program providing 35 emerging NYC fashion designers with the business knowledge and skills they need to successfully grow their labels. The 35 designers were selected through a highly competitive application process and were put through a boot camp of workshops and lectures covering topics ranging from marketing to financial planning to operations.
A one of the instructors, a group comprised of FIT faculty and industry experts, including Jeanette Nostra of G-III Apparel, Gary Wassner of Hilldun Corp., and Andy Ward of GIDC, I taught some of these intensive classes. Over the summer, we worked closely with the designers to develop and formalize their business plans. It was hard work for many of them since fashion is more right brain focused than most other professions. They struggled but every single one wrote, or updated, their business plan. While they were running their company. And while many were preparing for Fashion Week, trunk shows, etc.
On Thursday, the closing event gave 15 of the graduating designers the opportunity to present their plans to a panel of industry executives representing companies including G-III, French Connection, LVMH, Macy’s, and Sears. The designers who didn’t present were given the opportunity to showcase their fashions at designated tables around the event space. The evening and program proved to be a huge success. And the designers are now enabled to take their companies to the next level.
Jeannette Nostra, President of G-III apparel group, as a sponsor, instructor, panelist and judge, was one of the most intimately involved with the program. Her experience:
“The true value of the program was most evident to me during the final presentations. Every designer who attended the program, whether they were selected to present as a finalist of not, was thrilled with how much they had learned, the contacts they made with other participants and industry executives they were able to meet with. All the designers felt the DENYC program was of great value to them and that is the most rewarding part!”
To me, the energy and determination of the designers was inspiring. I can’t wait to say “I knew them when…”
If you are interested in participating in the 2013 class of Design Entrepreneurs NYC, please note that the application process will launch in early 2013. For updates, please visit http://designentrepreneursnyc.com/.
For those of you interested in participating in the business of design, NYC Fashion Fellows is now taking applications. NYC Fashion Fellows