Many businesses in the fashion industry started as a side gig on a shoestring budget. In our weekly Mingle Mastermind Group webinar, our 8 industry professionals and special guest Eileen Rhein, share their stories of how they took an idea and turned it into a successful business model. They shared cautionary tales and what they learned the hard way… so you don’t have to!
Here are some of the best tips and tricks that our seasoned industry panelists gave to help you turn your side gig into your main hustle!
Fashion & Lifestyle Influencer and Founder of lightravelsfaster.com, Eileen Rhein, knows all about turning your interests into a profitable business. Eileen was originally unsure whether blogging was something she wanted to do. However, after attending a networking party and speaking to people, she jumped right into it. Eileen learned to create her own website, took all her own photos and videos and started her C-corp all on her own! She’s a fan of Google University and used the internet to find a step by step guide to legally starting her business. Some advice she wants people to take away from her experience is “Don’t be afraid by thinking I don’t know how to do that.” She says she is always improving her SEO skills and learning to pitch to people in different industries. “Fake it until you make it, learn on the go and just know you aren’t going to know everything at the beginning and that’s okay.”
Owner of The Riviere Agency, Lori Riviere, started her event planning business as a side gig in Miami. She attended events and couldn’t help but share her opinions on how to improve the event. Luck would have it that she gave her thoughts to the person running the event and they gave Lori a chance to put on their next event and the rest is history. Lori advised to “get in where you can.” She hustled for her clients to get their clothing shown somewhere and called LBJ. Despite her thoughts that no one would even answer, she ended up speaking to the VP of the company. Which led to her first real NYFW show! Having her own business has taught her to learn some accounting skills so that she can keep track of all the money her business has. “The first person that should be out selling you, is you.” She recommends doing promotion for your brand, yourself before hiring an agency. No one cares more about your business than you and it will help you save some money.
Dale Noelle, founder and CEO of True Model Management suggests running your company “lean.” This allows you to keep things in house and be prepared for what gets thrown your way like the current pandemic. She also advises you to pick your brand name wisely. True Model Management has a lot of different meanings to her and the fashion industry. Not only does the name relate to textiles, but she wants models to be their true and authentic selves.
From having a comedy group to plus size modeling and helping the environment, Catherine Schuller of Catherine Schuller Enterprises has a lot of side gigs. She said “I balance all my side gigs into one, large main hustle.” All of her experiences allowed her to realize it was important to have a voice, regardless of what industry you’re in.
CEO of DCG Media Group, Dee Rivera, taught herself everything she knows. She said “I have an MBA in life and Google is my best friend.” She suggests that everyone learn how to do things by using Google and their life experiences to teach them. She also recommends keeping friendships and business separate and holding the people you’re collaborating with accountable.
Fashion Mingle CEO, Melissa Shea, gives this advice: “If you’re in a situation where you feel uncomfortable about asking someone to sign an agreement, it’s about clarity of the project and who is responsible for what.”
Claire Perez, Owner of The New York Make Up Academy, likes to learn a little bit of everything. She suggests everyone learn how to make and edit their own website, take accounting/bookkeeping courses and use programs like Mailchimp to keep your customers informed. She recently started a podcast and thought it required a professional studio and equipment but ended up just finding an app that does it all! “So many things exist that allow you to connect with people and they always have cheaper alternatives.”
Shirin Movahed who has over 14 years experience in law, says “when you come up with that great idea for your platform, the first thing you need to do is run and register [for a trademark].” Dee recommends you hire a lawyer to go over this with you because you don’t want to make a small mistake and it will save you money in the long run.
Many of the panelists agreed that you should always think of things that could go wrong. To protect you from the “what ifs,” Lori Rivere, encourages you to get business insurance. Everyone also stressed the importance of having contracts in place. Dale Noelle said contracts can also be used to look back on what was talked about and agreed to.
“What Fashion Mingle is trying to do during this time of the Coronavirus, is give everyone opportunities for connections with people in the fashion industry so you can continue to grow your career and grow your business. This is a great time to start taking care of those problems that you haven’t dealt with.” -Melissa Shea
Join us every Friday at 1pm EST for a new Mingle Mastermind session. Register here