Tag Archives: manufacturing

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ARE YOU CURIOUS ABOUT FASHION DESIGN IN THE SUSTAINABLE ERA?

My ethical fashion summer course will get you started, and we will have amazing guest speakers!!

Introduction to ETHICAL FASHION
Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
May 28, June 4, 11, 18 from 6pm-9pm

My guest speakers this semester include:

- Geraldine Mae Cueva, fashion e-commerce expert at Bonobos.com.

- Anh-Thu Nguyen, a human rights lawyer by training and head of the We See Beauty Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to incubate and accelerate women-led, worker-owned cooperatives to drive large scale change.

- Gabriel Gripo, Slow Fashion designer and owner GGrippo art+design store in Brooklyn. A hub for emerging sustainable brands.

- Annie Millican, founder of Awamaki Lab, an ethical fashion brand which aims to address social and economic community empowerment through culturally sensitive and entrepreneurial programs in Peru.

This course gives designers, product developers, buyers, and others the tools to creatively develop products that are beautiful, commercial, and sustainable. The focus is on bringing sustainability and ethics into the design process and making responsible decisions about sourcing and manufacturing. The course also provides an introduction to fair trade, the support of endangered crafts, the impact of textiles on the environment, and a summary of the ethical and sustainable practices of some current fashion designers and developers.

Instructor: Carmen Artigas, designer and sustainable fashion consultant

Register Now:
https://epay.fitnyc.edu/C20737_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=4093&SINGLESTORE=true

Oleg Oprisco fashion

Photo Oleg Oprisco

 

Carmen Artigas teaches in the Sustainable Design Entrepreneurs certificate program.
You can follow her on facebook.com/ethicalfashionNY and twitter.com/artigascarmen.

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Natori: A Continuation of an Appealing Apparel Story

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

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.

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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)

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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.