Throughout my journey of starting and building my brand, I lost count of how many times I’d been on the receiving end of rejection. I started sourcing fabrics and negotiating with factories on my own, all throughout the Garment District. It wasn’t easy negotiating on my own for a brand-new company that nobody had heard of, but when there’s a will there’s a way. I found ways to have models and photographers work with me and we made photo shoots happen, whether it was from just searching for working models online or through word-of-mouth. To find my current sample-maker and small production factory, I had to knock on numerous doors – one of which was slammed in my face after negotiations for prices heated up. Finally, after a friend told me about a fabric store downtown that had a small production factory in the basement, we went to visit, and it had great prices and great quality. The point is that you should keep networking, keep knocking on doors, and never give up.
Once, I was sitting outside of FIT waiting for my class to start. A girl with a camera approached me and asked to take a photo of me for her street style blog. She was a stylist, and offered me work assisting her at a photoshoot. I helped her at the photo shoot for free, and ended up meeting the main photographer, who soon became a close friend. Shortly after, he started his own fashion magazine and invited me to do my fashion show at the publication’s first event. From agreeing to work for a stylist for free, I did two fashion shows with him and, this past month, did another show for his magazine at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. This shows that sometimes, it pays off to work for free.
This is just the beginning. We’re talking to investors now and a couple of our garments were just featured in the Macy’s Fashion Show that aired on the E! network on September 23, 2015, thanks to a connection with Nineteenth Amendment. The Shahroozi label is just getting warmed up. The biggest hurdle, I’ve realized, is myself. Success in this industry – and in building many other types of brand – is geared towards the hungriest person who takes the most action to get their brand out there. I learned that when being an entrepreneur, do not follow the money. Follow your passion, and everything else will work itself out.
Intern, work for different designers and fashion brands. Go to a fashion school, and if you can’t go full-time, take night classes while you pay your bills with another job. Know that it does not come easy; it will take a lot of sacrifice. It is not even 24/7, it is 25/8. Ego and achieving your goals do not come together. Be humble, do it with a smile, be happy while you work. Even if you have to say “would you like fries with that?”
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