I recently watched an interview by Garance Dore with Belgian fashion designer, Dries Van Noten. He had some great things to say about how he runs his fashion house that I thought could apply to businesses across the board. Here are my 10 takeaways…
1. WORK ETHIC
“There’s no real formula.”
You want to have an element of surprise say, by finding a different angle on a thing.
Partnering/having feedback helps. That’s why it’s important to choose the people around you.
After everything you make, you can feel a little like “your own child”. Your creation(s) become like your children. That’s why having another pair of eyes to double-check what speaks to your vision the most helps eliminate what doesn’t fit.
3. VISION-BIZ ON A SHOESTRING
It’s possible to start small. Use your experience so far. Then, as you grow, pick where to spend your dollars. Will it be on marketing and publicity as in a magazine spread or a Big Visual?
A fashion show (or perhaps a video) for big, visual impact may be more cost effective. (You can tell your story in 10 minutes VS. a full page advertisement that costs a whole lot more.)
Be remembered for something, “like a great shirt in a beautiful fabric that you’ll wear for 20 years.”
A classic–something that’s timeless is memorable. Also taking what’s old and making it new again by showing it in a different light is also memorable. Use what you have and add to it.
5. REBELLION (Defining yourself by what you DON’T do)
Some people say you have to be in a big city. But, with the presence of the Internet, you don’t have to be in a big (fashion) capital or a big city to have a voice. Dries is based in Antwerp, Belgium–not Paris or New York. You can be successful anywhere.
So, if you don’t have a lot of money to do your art of make your business, bloom where you are planted, then travel to the big city. Work/live wherever you want–and why not?!
6. MOBILE WORLD
With so many people increasingly getting their information on their mobile device, you need to be thinking: What’s the first thing people see when they come to the site? Is it unforgettable? Does it translate visually with the viewer on their computer AND their phone?
Leave the small prints/photos at home and use a visual that makes an impact on your mobile device.
Learn from your peers and others–even those of different generations.
See how others view you–It’s all part of the Big Picture. Get feedback, learn and improve. . The internet is useful in helping you find out what does and doesn’t speak to people.
8. IDEAL CUSTOMER
What does she/he look like? Even if you’re not designing your clothing line or your product for a certain “person”, you can ask yourself some questions, like…“Does she drink tea or a martini?” “When he travels, what kind of souvenir does he pick up?”
This can create a different starting point. And, when you’re working with a team, that is important as other members can bring in additional elements to flesh out a concept or idea even more.
9. LAUNCHING (A fashion show)
“Backstage is more like a battle than a backstage.”
Launching anything is a lot of work–getting everything ready, etc. But even if it feels like “Hell” at the moment, afterward the fun comes when you can look back, play observer and see how it all turned out.
10. STAYING GROUNDED
Take breaks from your work. What can you do where you don’t feel like you have to control the outcome all the time? This is necessary to stay fresh, to rejuvenate yourself in order to come back and see things with new eyes.
What grounds you? Maybe, like Dries, it’s gardening. Or perhaps it’s taking a walk or playing with your child or pet.
What do YOU think? How do YOU do it? Can you relate or implement some of these ideas in your business? Let me know in the comments below.
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