My Legs and Wings
It was the year 1992. I found myself not only getting my very first paid internship, but my very first job. I landed a position at one of the world's conglomerate businesses in the retail clothing industry, The Limited®. What 18-year old girl wouldn't be excited about that?!
An abundant amount of knowledge was gained working for The Limited®. I was able to apply those skills with confidence as I moved forward working for Victoria's Secret® and the White House® (before Black Market was added). Yes, I got my legs working for those retail companies, and I will always be grateful, but no-assembly-required businesses are pretty easy to work for. Which I soon learned when being fitted with my wings.
I always wanted to be a part of United Colors of Benetton®. As a young Philadelphian, I would see the multi-cultural, life-size posters displayed so nicely on the storefront. I just had to have a Benetton® watch, which I got (nice parents). Time went on, and once again I found myself walking into a Benetton® store amazed at their controversial, misunderstood yet thriving business culture. This time I was a young teenager, sans parents, in France. Who knew that five years later I would be working for the company, in a management position?!
I had the honor of working for a husband and wife team (entrepreneurs), and it was they who taught me the art of the business of retail. (Presently, they are the owners of Lori+LuLu in South Carolina and North Carolina.) Tough skin, not being faint of heart, and smarts (lots of smarts) had to be a part of your DNA to own a franchise like Benetton®. Imagine a basket of 5,000 oranges and 1 Golden Delicious apple. You almost didn't see the apple because the fruits are so close in hue. Although Benetton™ was (is) a specialty clothing store, it was located in a high-end mall, located in an affluent neighborhood, surrounded by higher-end retailers, with a lot less square footage - might I add, in the south during the 90s. But the owners were so brilliant, they never threw in the towel (although the stress was evident), and they were willing to share their experience with me.
While the other turnkey retailers were receiving shipments of items, purchased by the company's buyers, those two made several trips to D.C. with their own funds, handpicking the right apparel for their customer base. There were some misses of course, but plenty of hits too. Although the clothes were made in Italy, the price points had to remain friendly. Therefore, while other retailers were having massive sales, monthly (300%+ markups make allowances for those sales), the entrepreneurs were teaching me and the rest of the tiny team how to strategically and sincerely serve shoppers. The wisdom shared on how to evolve in entrepreneurship, and how to organically grow a business was priceless. Did I mention that the pay was mostly commission? Loved that challenge. Always came ready to earn.
It wasn't until I mentally and emotionally matured and began handcrafting fragrances for women, that I realized the effect that those two had on me. They inspired me and admittedly influenced a lot of my entrepreneurial go-getitness. Thanks, Leckers.
So, here I am today, launching a sister brand, still being committed to the woman committed to her wholeness. I guess you can say everything is full-circle and filled with love (360Love). Within that circle, I've welcomed a few women entrepreneurs to join me. They listened/read my proposal and did not hesitate to collaborate. Talk about love. I am super excited to introduce you to my 360Love Friends and Love Contributors (professional women in the fashion industry).
Thanks for reading.
Stay Lovely ~xo
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