Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. Today we chat with Kristi Vosbeck who launched her own high fashion brand, KRISTI VOSBECK, in 2010. Kristi talks about how she got started and shares her advice for entering the world of entrepreneurship.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
I graduated from Parsons in 2008 and launched KRISTI VOSBECK in September on Fashion’s Night out in 2010 on Madison avenue. This September will be our five year anniversary!
2. What prompted you to start your clothing line?
After I graduated from Parsons, I had three interviews with Michael Kors but didn’t end up getting the job.
I did some freelance work but ultimately decided what I wanted most was to see my own designs come to life. I made the decision to begin working on creating my own label.
3. How do you stay focused and level-headed in the fashion industry?
With any job, I think it’s so important to try to stay balanced. I enjoy doing yoga and making time for exercise when I can and really trying to be sure to maintain relationships outside of work. Remembering that every problem has a solution and to take one day at a time is always helpful.
4. What major lessons have you learned since owning your own business?
I have learned to trust my instincts. While it is great to gather information from others and listen to advice, there is another level that researching yourself that can lead you to the answer. Sometimes things may not go as planned but there is always another way to reach your destination. At the end of the day, no one will care more about your business than you, and it is important to take it all in stride.
5. Describe a typical work day.
I usually start my day at home going over emails while I have my morning coffee. I might try to get a workout in before heading into the studio if the day isn’t jam packed. During the days I’m working on a new collection, I will begin by choosing my fabrics, then sketching out the potential style variations, draping, then start on the pattern and cut the fabric. I do everything but sew the final garment. Many times I will have to run out and source different fabrics, buy trim and zippers and visit textile houses to shop the market throughout this process.
6. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
I love to see a design come to life. There is no better feeling than to see what began as a sketch or concept walk down the runway or the final images from the new look book in print. I love to see pictures of clients wearing their dresses at their special events! I am constantly inspired by new fabrics and texture. Many of my designs are influenced by spending time in nature and through my travels.
7. What is your most successful form of marketing? (In terms of getting the word out about your collection.)
These days social media and word of mouth are really what has helped get the brand noticed and out there. Dressing celebrities is also a great way to get your collection noticed and trunk shows can create a buzz too! Please check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
8. Do you have any business goals? Where do you see the business in 5 years?
I would love to see the brand branch out and be sold in more independent boutiques. In five years, I would love to expand overseas and sell internationally and be dressing A-listers on the red carpet!
9. As a designer we’re dying to know, who are some of your mentors in the industry?
Some great resources for me have been Melissa Hall, Sandra Bennett, Janny Khaow, Marie Forleo, Kathleen Fasanella, Susan Scafidi and Mary Gehlhar, as well as my contemporaries from Design Entrepreneurs New York City and the Fashion Law Institute.
I look up to designers who have put in the hard work and made names for themselves. Christian Siriano is someone who inspires me to keep going and work hard to establish my brand.
10. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
My advice would be to sit down and start with your timeline. What do you want to establish and when do you want to launch. Then work backwards. Start small! Come up with your concept and ideas and talk to your friends and family about it. It’s a great way to get feedback and can save you a lot of time before you even begin.
Behind the Boss: Kristi’s vision board
“I am really inspired by nature and so I included pictures from my recent trip to Southold Long Island and a few dresses from the past collections (Spring 2015 and Fall 2014/2015) that show how I like to use that inspiration and incorporate it into my designs.”