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Oh Tom, You Genius!

Posted on 26 November 2013

As a creative entrepreneur, I'm always looking for inspiration from success stories around me. I came across a recent report of master brander and creative genius, Tom Ford, where he spoke at the 2013 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards. Tom dished out a generous serving of advice for aspiring fashion moguls and young designers.

In a highly competitive and fickle industry, I admire those that have the tenacity to keep going and the strength to never give up.  Two of the tips below really stood out for me; “If you’re designing your own label, then know yourself.” I guess that is what all my yoga retreats have been about! And here's another gem, “We have to have genius creative thoughts precisely four times a year and on exact dates."  It's good to know he has a sense of humour about the sometimes relentless industry.


Alas, all is not gloom!  Here are his very positive and inspiring tips for building a brand with your name on it:


1. “Trust your instincts when it comes to design.”

2. “Never sell a controlling interest in your name. Ever. Ever.”

3. "Decide for you if fashion is an art or an artistic business. This will affect how you set up your company."

4. “If your president or chief executive officer thinks they know the difference between dark burgundy and aubergine, fire them.”

5. “If you’re designing your own label, then know yourself.”

6. “We have to have genius creative thoughts precisely four times a year and on exact dates."

7. “You have a voice that can influence contemporary culture as much or more than anything else.”

8. “Know your ideal client — the dream person you design for, your fantasy muse, so to speak.”

9. “If your brand is to have a strong identity, it must come from you and not from a committee.”

10. “Have a five-year plan, a 10-year plan, even a 20-year plan. And possibly an exit strategy.”

11. “Remember that our customers do not need our clothes.”

12. “Try to remain positive. I struggle with this one too.”

13. “Find a great business partner and don’t let them go. This is absolutely key.”

14. “Be thankful to all those who help you on the way up. You won’t get there without them. Cherish them, and don’t forget them.”X


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