Rebecca Minkoff – Reinvent The Rules and Face Your Fears.Ramon Ray
Rebecca Minkoff, fashion designer and entrepreneur, shared her story, tips for success and answered questions in the Likeable Business club, on Clubhouse. Hosted by Dave Kerpen and Randi Zuckerberg, Rebecca shared insights from her upcoming book, Fearless: The New Rules for Unlocking Creativity, Courage, and Success
Here’s a quick summary of the discussion.
Like many emerging business owners, Rebecca’s start with entrepreneurship started with her being fired from a job. This led to an eclectic journey of bad boyfriend choices, couch surfing, and having to regroup and re-assess her life and career and figure things out.
Humble beginnings of success
Rebecca’s “gosh I’ve made it moment” came early in her career when she had a handful of initial orders, was living in Soho (New York City), and had money to buy Ramen noodles.
It’s ironic that many of us entrepreneurs don’t attribute our “big moment” to a metric of having a lot of money or what others might count “fame or fortune”. Instead our “gosh I’ve made it moment” is often humble beginnings that we cherish and remember.
Rebecca’s beginnings were modest and humble. She wasn’t deemed one of the “cool kids”, but had to break through many barriers to be who she is today.
Relentless Customer Focus
Rebecca’s fashion brand has received many accolades and recognitions from fashion media. However, it’s her relentless focus on her customers and reliance on social media which really grew her brand.
Reinvent the Rules
Often times entrepreneurs have to reinvent the rules.
We can’t wait for others to choose us and invite us to the table of success or start of a conversation.
Rebecca credits her brother with much of her success and says they worked together to build the business.
She had the skill and knack for fashion and he had the skill of business. She encouraged him to learn more about fashion and he encouraged her to learn more about business.
Family Business Harmony
Rebecca and her brother stayed in their respective lanes. One common thread I hear about family business success.
They hired a business mediator early on, to help them navigate their business challenges.
It’s so important to remember why you’re in business. Business is HARD work and if you forget WHY you’re doing what you’re doing you might want to give up.
Rebecca’s passionate about female founders and puts much of her energy and investments into the Female Founder Collective. This non-profit organization provides tips, resources, and education.
Many business owners start with a passion for their business but lack the necessary education.
Naming Your Business
Rebecca was very purposeful in naming her company after herself. She figures that if she was gonna work hard and make it word then she might as well put her name on it.
Rebecca’s brother has helped her invest in technology for their brand. This includes self-checkout, wearables, NFT fashion, inventoryless apparel, and more.
Rebecca and her brother are willing to experiment using technology and not afraid to test and try out things.
My Biggest Mistake
Not trusting her gut is one big mistake Rebecca talked about. Rebecca went on maternity leave and had hired someone to run the company. Rebecca knew that some of the decisions made were not quite right and Rebecca at first let those decisions stay. However, she eventually had to correct those decisions.
The Myth of Overnight Success
No business is an overnight success. Rebecca says that this is a myth that so many don’t realize.
We’re in a push-button society wanting quick results.
It took 5 years for Rebecca Minkoff to gain traction. NOT success but just a glimmer of momentum.
Take the long view.
Love what you do.
She explained that oftentimes we business owners have to sacrifice holidays, and be very committed to what we’re doing.
We must have highly achievable, short-term goals.
Every business owner has made mistakes. Hopefully, we make fewer mistakes and learn from others.
A $10 million mistake was doing a very pricy fashion show and having fancy gowns and etc. However, the show was not geared toward what Rebecca’s customers wanted. They were just doing what other fashion brands did.
We all have fear, but Rebecca said that she doesn’t let fear stop her.
Brian Hill is executive director of Phoenix fashion week and asked Rebecca’s advice for up-and-coming fashion designers who want to be the next Rebecca Minkoff.
- Be focused on your product and understand the white space around it. Wave 6 says that white space is “the gap between what products or services your customer has invested in, and the other products or services that your company or business has to offer.”
- Understand what’s the unique point of view or angle your product or service can fill.
- Who is in your tribe? Who are your early adopters? There so many people who want to help you, you just need to reach out.
10 to 20x to promote what you’re doing. If you think you need 100 emails to sell a product, you probably need 1,000.
Rebecca invests in herself by reading, exercising, and being free to job without her phone, for example.
Leadership and Team Building
Be very clear on what your team is doing well and what your team is not doing well.
Give your team credit for success and don’t take the credit for yourself.
There’s a lot of ways that you can connect with your community.
Rebecca’s spent time in forums focused on purses and can speak and engage with 30,000 of her most ardent customers, fans, and possible customers.
No One Can Take Your Talent
At one point in Rebecca’s business, she was facing severe funding issues. She needed money to advanced her next line of clothes. At that time she showed more money to the bank than she was bringing in.
Rebecca knew she was in trouble and knew the bank could take her business.
However, she said that no matter what the bank could do, they could never take her husband, her kids or her talent.
She could always rebuild again if she had to.