The joke around WeConnectFashion was that I was like "the Great Oz." In its hey day, WeConnectFashion ranked in the top 30-80K most trafficked sites in the world for close to two decades with only a skeleton crew, and an amazing team of international freelancers and interns. Truly incredible for a B2B fashion industry site. Never touted as a woman-owned business. Nor did I step out to promote myself individually. Too shy. Yep, mistakes were made.
My start, Olympia Gibson jewelry. Clueless. And, a blast!
I started my journey in the fashion industry as the co-founder of Olympia Gibson jewelry, est in 1981, (get it, Oley, Olympia shortened). My partner and I knew nothing about the fashion industry. Nothing. What's a trade magazine, or trade show, never mind a sales rep. We were both graduates of RISD with fine arts degrees, who had graduated to become painters who waitressed. And then, painters who made crazy ass jewelry because it was so much fun.
We had luck. The owner of the best store in town took a chance on Olympia Gibson jewelry. Then we were picked up by a fine jewelry, fine art sales rep in NYC who was smart enough to see that over-the-top costume jewelry was an incoming trend. Our first big clients were Saks 5th Avenue, NYC, and Harvey Nichols, London.
I mention this ancient history because the basis of the WCF business had everything to do with the needs of a clueless fashion brand. From contact lists, sourcing, how-to advice, sales leads, market research, trends, I would have thought I had gone to heaven if there was a WeConnectFashion for me to access back then.
Corporate. More entrepreneurship. The collective underpinnings for WCF.
The five year experience at Olympia Gibson proved to be a training ground for a lot of opportunity.
I was hired as lead designer where I traveled the world developing and importing product. Then, opened a European trend forecasting service whose clients were many of the high-end brands I met during Olympia Gibson days.
The trend service lead to a position as Corporate Fashion Director overseeing two major brands – providing direction to management, marketing & public relations, international sales, training, design, as well as to their respective Creative teams.
There's more, but you get the gist. All these experiences had reward, making me a well-rounded and seasoned fashion professional. I also became acquainted with corporate culture which can be static and nasty. As hard as it sometimes is to be a business owner, it's my modus operandi. Hence, 25 years as WeConnectFashion's CEO.
Throughout all, I remain curious, finding beauty in the mundane to extraordinary - be it our natural universe, elegantly designed anything, oddities, a written passage that resonates so profoundly it begs to be read repeatedly, flavors that make your taste buds explode, colliding sharps and flats whirling in chaotic yet wondrous accord, off-the-wall ideas, a lone voice singing, parkour, rigorous pattern & color play....
Keeping inspired and staying curious. Always. A bow to WeConnectFashion. Now, on to another adventure.