What “I’ll try” really means in business and personal relationships

By , June 28, 2014 10:16 am

Short answer: the other person isn’t really committed.

Communications 101: Communication is the foundation of all relationships  — business and personal.  When communications function well in a relationship, the relationship succeeds. When they don’t, the relationship struggles.  It’s that simple. And “I’ll try” is a bright red flag.  Whether it’s a business or personal relationship, “I’ll try”  is a signal that should not be ignored…it signifies something is amiss in the communications, and thus the relationship. When you receive the “I’ll try” message, you need to proceed carefully.

Gene Guberman (gguberman@verizon.net) specializes in dealing with communications within relationships. Here is his take on the situation: The way someone communicates reveals something the person is unaware of. In poker it’s known as a person’s “tell” that unveils they are “bluffing”. Interpersonal communication is loaded with varieties of information untrained people don’t perceive and speakers don’t know they are unwittingly sharing about themselves. Conflict is omnipresent between individuals. Managing conflict between people and building successful relationships requires understanding the hidden aspects of communications – our own and those of significant others.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

My blog for this week….a little different

By , June 21, 2014 9:26 am

My guest blogger this week is William Clark who will discuss some of his choices for this fall’s fashion lineup accompanied by a historical reference of fashion falls gone by.  And this being a small business blog, the last designer is just that.

William is the founder of JETTSTYLE, his consulting business where he has worked with Reese Witherspoon, Pauletta Washington, Benny Medina, and Renee Zellwegger. He brings to JETTSTYLE a wealth of experience in every facet of fashion.  No less impressive is the fact that he was selected to assist in the styling of a major shoot for a recent edition of Italian Vogue.  His background includes working with Carrie Donovan at Vogue, Bill Cunningham at the New York Times, Jean Paul Gautier, Thierry Mugler, Comme des Garcons, Giorgio Armani while, at the same time, overseeing direction of the Emporio Line visually for the US, and Bottega Veneta.  His red carpet clients in addition to those mentioned above, include Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Hilary Swank, Gwen Stefani, Mary J Blige and Salma Hayek.

It’s official: we’re diving into summer —  let’s talk about my favorite  ready to wear collections of the season.

We are first taken on a African safari with Sarah Burton of the house of Alexander McQueen who was obviously influenced by Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent’s African Queen collection from the 70′s . She used vibrant graphic prints and intricate  textures in abundance.  Her use of textiles was so beautifully executed by making feathers and beads to appear to be checkered tweed. The crocodile and gold harnesses worn over graphic printed kilts then gave it a medieval twist.

omi

Alexander McQueen, NOW

VS

ysl 2002

YSL, THEN

Miuccia Prada over at the house of Miu Miu looked to the 60′s & 70′s through a naughty school girl’s rose’ colored glasses for inspiration. Her use of muted pastels such as pistachio, powder blue and neapolitan in beautiful childlike prints of parrots, foxes and angel fish could have easily been seen on supermodel Veruschka in the 70′s or today on the houses Oscar winning muse Lupita Nyong’o. Muiccia’s artisan approach to usage of textures like crochet, tortoiseshell, suede and python was perfection.

Miu Miu

Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2014, NOW

VS

Veruschka, THEN

Veruschka, THEN

While back home stateside Prabal Gurung presented a hyper colored and floral splashed collection out of the 50′s with a ultra modern twist. These vibrant colors lined dramatic evening coats in metallics giving them edge. Between binding the waists of dresses and pants with clear pvc belts and the ultra sexy shoes there was a slightly erotic vibe to his collection and I liked it ;)

Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung

Next on to design duo Badgley Mischka. We’ve been invited to a party thrown by the Great Gatsby  on one of his opulent yachts. The color palette is muted pastels and the theme of coarse is nautical. There are chic touches of the 20′s & 30′s in pleated chiffon palazzo pants, fringed bugle beaded dresses, bucket hats and the girls wore marcel waves in they’re hair.

Our last destination (a small business fashion house) is Ancient Egypt where  there is new Queen on the throne and she is The Serpent Queen from the House of Rubin Singer. For s/s 2014 this rising star couturier is giving elements of the ancient  and regal culture with a ultra  modern approach. He uses embellishments in his embroidery such as bugle beads, chains and swarovski crystals. He sculpts and drapes the female form in combinations like silk brocade, chiffon, python, and metallic leather embossed with hieroglyphics from the tomb of Queen Nefertiti. His Serpent Queen is a dangerous temptress that knows she can seduce with her dark beauty.

01

Rubin Singer’s Serpent Queen, NOW

VS

Elizabeth Taylor

Liz Taylor, Another Queen THEN

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Design Entrepreneurs NYC Mini-MBA program — year 3 and gaining momentum!

By , June 14, 2014 9:57 am
DrJoyceBrown DENYC14

Dr. Joyce Brown, President of FIT, welcoming the new designers! Jeannette Nostra, on the Board of GIII & Morris Goldfarb, President, Chairman & CEO of GIII in the background.

The DENYC just had its kick off weekends with intense all-day sessions (you can set your beach calendar to this — it’s always the first two best weekends of perfect weather of the summer — and these dedicated 32 designers are indoors without windows the whole time) — and guess what?
They love it!

ChrisHelm DENYC14

Christine Helm, Coordinator, Enterprise Center, FIT

Each year the faculty adjust the program to customize it to the class and each year the incoming class is further along in their business at the start than the year before. I co-teach growth strategies (with some marketing thrown in).

This year’s group is great. Every designer has a clearly defined niche and their styles are so appealing! I’ll be mentoring bexnyc.com and lalaandsasi.com.

I’m particularly excited about the first fashion tech designer to participate in DENYC!  A handbag that charges your cell phone!  Wait til you see the rest!   On second thought, don’t wait http://www.designentrepreneursnyc.com/participants.html

Look for pop-up shops featuring the alumni especially as the holidays approach.

Check out the program, it’s current students and alumni, http://blog.fitnyc.edu/denyc/

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

You’re a lifestyle company. Who are your champions?

By , June 7, 2014 11:16 am

Silver Lining is one champion. I met Carissa Reiniger, CEO and President, about three years ago. She has dedicated Silver Lining to helping lifestyle businesses grow.  Simple.  It’s a one year, mostly on line, program designed to grow your business. It’s not a business plan but rather an action plan that relies on some of the same things in a business plan.  There’s nothing wrong with business plans…they are great for determining what direction you want to take your company in.  Business plans are primarily used to raise capital however.  The philosophy at Silver Lining is that action plans are a better way for lifestyle businesses to grow. Their action plan is called SLAP: Silver Lining Action Plan.  It’s a simple (because once you fill in the blanks, the plan program does all the calculations for you).  Even if you’re self motivated, sometimes taking care of your own business gets pushed to the side by you – like the shoemaker with barefoot kids.   If  you can relate to this, then maybe you should check Silver Lining out.  www.Silverlininglimited.com

CARISSA REINIGER

Carissa in action at WIX Lounge recently.

GALE BREWER

Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President who stopped by cheer SLAP in the City on. http://www.galebrewer.com/

———-

Also, check out this event with NY Fashion Tech Lab Workshop

Human Resources “A Smoother Road to Growth”
How to Avoid the Top Ten Most Common Employment Mistakes Made by Startups
w/ Mintz Levin
Monday, June 9, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)
New York, NY

———-

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Lifestyle companies…are we the 99%?

By , May 24, 2014 9:39 am
Lifestyle companies are, as partially defined by Wikipedia, businesses that are established and run by their founders with the primary aim of sustaining the founder and, secondarily, those who work for the founder.  Wikipedia says that the lifestyle owner wants to sustain a specific level of income that will give the owner a basis on which to live a particular lifestyle.  I think the definition is broader than that though.  A New York Times article offers other definitions: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/is-the-term-lifestyle-business-an-insult/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0.  And here’s another question: at what point is a lifestyle company called a privately held company (one that does not have shareholders, or does an IPO)?   Mary Sullivan, a blogger, offers still another point of view on the subject:  http://www.allbusiness.com/business-planning-structures/starting-a-business/3878259-1.html
I also believe that lifestyle companies make up a large percentage of the tax base…after all, lifestyle companies don’t have lobbyists or have the kind of money it takes to wield enough power to get tax breaks for themselves.
As I’ve written about Natori, lifestyle, or privately held, companies have the advantage of being able to dictate exactly what the owners want to do with it.  This includes sustaining a high level of quality, ethics, etc. For fashion designers and others, this is important – it’s directly related to the owner’s vision.  I’ve seen lifestyle owners customize their products for clients – still another advantage.  Lifestyle companies also offer the owner the potential for a lot of individual freedom and flexibility in their lives.  Most companies who I come in contact with at the entrepreneur and other courses  I’m involved with (Fast Trac at Levin Institute, Licensing and Design Entrepreneurs NYC Mini-MBA program at FIT) and mentoring (Lang School of Entrepreneurship at Columbia University and Philadelphia Fashion Incubator), are lifestyle companies.
So while lifestyle companies are portrayed as “unglamourous” in the press and in certain communities, like Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley and the Route 128 corridor, they can often be a wise business decision and a road to success for the entrepreneur.  Here are some other opinions along the same lines.
What’s your opinion?
#lifestylecompany #startups #entrepreneurs #lifestylebusiness

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Natori: A Continuation of an Appealing Apparel Story

By , May 17, 2014 9:58 am

Continuing from the last entry on Ken Natori’s visit to my licensing class (CEO 035), here are more traits that distinguish Natori.

One is customer service.  I emphasize this in all my entrepreneur classes and to my clients. Customer service is the most cost-effective, and probably least expensive way to differentiate your company from your competition.  It is so important, and like marketing, often an afterthought to everything else a busy entrepreneur or business is focused on.  But here’s the big secret: Customers remember customer-service!  Often customer service tips the scales in favor of the company providing it. Whether it’s a sole proprietor or a Fortune 500 company.

Natori has multiple licensees but when a customer calls customer service, they do not know which product has been licensed – nor should they.  This is due to keeping a unified brand within the fashion house. Customer service at Natori is trained to answer all questions about all products, irrelevant of the source (licensed or in-house).  This makes for a seamless experience for the customer – how it should be.

Another distinguishing characteristic at Natori, is that Josie, the founder, came out of a Wall Street background, as does Ken.  The result is that they understand first and foremost that fashion is a business.  And they treat the company as a business.  Ken emphasized this point when he spoke to my licensing class, in order to separate Natori from  typical fashion houses which are often known for high drama.  The culture at Natori, while still high fashion, is much more sedate and drama-free. Sounds like a nice place to work.

Which leads me to my closing point:  Natori is currently looking for a junior person to work in their licensing department.  Know anyone?  Are you that person?  If so, Ken wants to hear from you:  ken.natori@natori.com

Ken Natori


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Natori: An Appealing Apparel Story

By , May 10, 2014 9:18 am

On Monday, May 5, Ken Natori guest spoke at my Licensing class (CEO 035).  He generously spent an hour and a half talking about his company, founded by his mother, Josie Natori, and answering questions on all aspects of licensing posed by the class.

Natori2
First – what is the Natori brand:

Natori uses its brand equity to build East-meets-West lifestyle brands including ready-to-wear, accessories, bedding, towels, fragrance, home fragrance, swim, eyewear, and more

Their three-pronged brand strategy includes:
•       Josie Natori / Natori http://www.natori.com/  (luxury, heritage)
•       Josie http://www.natori.com/JosieByNatori  (contemporary)
•       N Natori http://www.natori.com/NByNatori  (accessible to all women)

photo3
Natori is one of the few companies that has retained its ownership in a world of mergers, buyouts, etc. This has allowed them, among other things, to maintain their own vision and control over their products and licensing procedures.

There were two things Ken brought up that really left a strong impression on me and the class.  The first was related to his business ethics. When asked about who his licensees are and how he selects them, Ken brought up a simple, but powerful, equation: Partner over Product. This means the people he does business with are the most important element of licensing. By choosing the right partner, Natori is establishing a long term relationship with each licensee. This philosophy is similar to putting together a management team:  licensing is like a marriage.  You are in it for the long-term. Licensing is an ongoing dynamic relationship that, if done well, and Natori does it well, goes on for years. Translation: a win-win relationship that grows business (for both the licensee and licensor) while maintaining the brand.

Because of Natori’s relationship with their licensees (win-win and long term), the licensees have an in-depth understanding of both the company and the brand. This fosters on-target contributions for new product ideas as well as new vertical opportunities.

The other thing Ken brought up that left an equally strong impression was also related to business ethics.  Natori built and owns its own manufacturing plant overseas. Not only does this make business sense and allow the company to keep control over the quality of the manufacture of many of their products, but equally, and some would say more importantly, Natori controls the circumstances and pay of their overseas employees. This methodology completely sidesteps the human rights issues (aka sweatshops) commonly found in overseas garment manufacturing. As a result, Natori’s stance makes them a green company by virtue of their humane treatment of their employees.

My next post will cover more elements that distinguish Natori from its competitors.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Bidding for Services Online

By , April 5, 2014 9:23 am

Well, I finally have a teensy bit of confirmation (one case history) about my theory that all those cheap websites offering marketing solutions aren’t always worth it.  An entrepreneur I know went to a bidding site for logos.  He went three times.  The first two times he got back garbage – or results that were unusable and totally unsalvageable.  The third time was a charm – he was happy with the logo he received and is going to register it as his trademark.  The whole process cost him some time (close to three months in total) and some money (he didn’t share how much with me).  With no guarantees that each time he threw the line back in the water (or the credit card back on the website), that what he would reel in would be of any value to him.

And this is a savvy entrepreneur.  He had some background in marketing and was capable of judging the quality of the work he bought.

So, should you bid for marketing services online?  Well, ultimately that’s a decision up to you.


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Are you a successful business?

By , March 22, 2014 9:15 am

Three of the most important things startups need to focus on / demonstrate if they are raising money, want to grow or just plain want to be successful:
 
1.       Gaining customers (or if no proof of concept then a list of qualified customers)

2.       Showing they know how to grow their business

3.       Demonstrating profitability and ROI

These points may sound easy to achieve and you may be saying to yourself, ho hum, I don’t need to read further.
 
Point number 3 – Demonstrating profitability and ROI. A lot of startups get lost here.  They don’t realize that you have to invest/spend money in order to make money – Lie #4 – I have to show a profit before I can market.  Investors (and actually the company owners should feel this way too) are looking to see if you’re profitable or when you are predicting profitability (break even and beyond).  And tossing some money out willy-nilly at marketing efforts will never bring ROI into your company…you have to be strategic in how you market.

Here’s some definitions and formulas for calculating ROI and profitability:
http://www.dbmarketing.com/articles/Art129.htm


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Are you a successful business?

By , March 15, 2014 8:33 am

Three of the most important things startups need to focus on / demonstrate if they are raising money, want to grow or just plain want to be successful:

1. Gaining customers (or if no proof of concept then a list of qualified customers)

2. Showing they know how to grow their business

3. Demonstrating profitability and ROI

These points may sound easy to achieve and you may be saying to yourself, ho hum, I don’t need to read further.

Point number 2 – showing you know how to grow your business is key to not only getting funding but to keeping your business healthy. This is something that many startups and small businesses don’t focus on. They say cash is king and “they” are right. Sometimes companies become very successful very quickly and can’t handle it. Prepared for growth. By managing your cash flow you can set goals to grow your business, manage cash on a monthly basis and get a clear picture of what’s going on in your business. Make sure you understand all the financing options available to you – traditional as well as alternative and invoice factoring.

Don’t put your entire business at risk because of something that’s easy to plan for and track.

Here’s some interesting related points:

http://www.alleywatch.com/2014/02/5-red-flags-of-startups/?utm_source=AlleyWatch+Daily+Pulse&utm_campaign=c1ae92d926-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e01c347085-c1ae92d926-62886025


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy