So, you want to get into the business of fashion? Read this Q&A with Gizelle of GCG CLOTHING!
GAL PAL: What made you want to start a fashion business?
GIZELLE: I can honestly say that I am one of those people who have always known what they wanted to be when they grew up. For as long as I could remember, being apart of the fashion industry was always the goal I gave myself to accomplish. At a young age I was always being creative and exercising my fashion skills.
Whether it was sketching dresses during a 4th grade history lecture or cutting up my old t-shirts to make clothing for my Barbie dolls. Though my creativity drove my love for fashion, I had always had an entrepreneurial spirit within me.
For instance I recall in 3rd grade, I made homemade temporary tattoos and “sold” them for stickers and gel pens to my classmates. I fell in love with the interaction between me and my “customers” from something I created. From then on, I knew I wanted to be my own boss and build my own company.
In my junior year of high school, I did research on different fashion-focused colleges, and found my dream school! Right after high school, I packed my bags and moved to Los Angeles to attend The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). [I] majored in Product Development after speaking with my advisor she suggested that if I wanted to eventually have my own business that this major would be the best one! After I graduated from FIDM in March 2014, I launched GCGCLOTHING in June 2014. With GCGCLOTHING, I made it my mission to help spread positivity and promote ambitious lifestyles by offering pre-styled fashion for affordable prices.
To this day, I am still in love with the interaction between me and my customers, and continue to be fueled by my potential of enriching peoples lives through my love of fashion.
GAL PAL: What is the biggest thing to think about before quitting your job to start your own business?
“I’d say don’t make that extreme leap, until you believe 100% you will be able to fund your business…”
GIZELLE: Quitting your job to start your own business is a huge decision that effects many aspects of your life. Personally, I think one of the biggest things to think about is if your business will bring in enough cash flow for you to be able to finance it the way your business deserves to, all while being able to put food on the table.
Entrepreneurs should also think about the unforeseen circumstances that [are] inevitable in owning a business. Unforeseen circumstances may include an increase in shipping costs or even rent rates for a bigger space if your current space isn’t large [or] able to hold [the] inventory of your growing business.
You always want to make sure that you have enough capital to continue to grow your business. If you have to grab a part-time job to help fund you business, then that may be the best. I’d say don’t make that extreme leap, until you believe 100% you will be able to fund your business because growing is key. It would be more difficult for someone to grow and build a business without enough cash flow.
GAL PAL: How were you able to get the financial backing for GCGCLOTHING?
GIZELLE: Currently, I work part-time to help financially back GCGCLOTHING. I am very fortunate that my part-time job allows me to work remotely from home because it gives me great flexibility to work on my business. Ideally, I would like to put all my focus on GCGCLOTHING, but at the stage of my business I know that the extra money from my part-time position helps in the growth by allowing me to replenish inventory, invest in marketing materials, and other necessary supplies.
I am a strong believer in the quote “Do what you have to do now, so you can do what you want to do later.” I repeat this quote to myself whenever I am running on 2 hours of sleep. To me, this simple phrase means work hard and do what you have to do now, so in the future you can enjoy the rewards of your success you worked so hard for.
GAL PAL: What would you say is the best business model as far as start-up costs?
GIZELLE: To be honest, the best business model as a start up is to take advantage of what is free of cost! There are so many free resources, website platforms, and equipment out there that young entrepreneurs should take advantage of.
If you are looking for free marketing alternatives, social media is your best friend! I have found so many influential fashion bloggers on Instagram who are more than willing to collaborate with me and promote GCGCLOTHING on their blog and other social media platforms.
If you are in search for models, offer the photos and the exposure as an equal trade for their modeling services. There are so many models out there who are starting out and just want to build their portfolios. I am so grateful that I have friends who are willing to model my clothing for free, or in exchange for food!
Get creative! As a young entrepreneur, figuring out these inexpensive [or] free alternatives gave me the opportunity to explore free methods that, in the end, mean so much more to my company than anything I could have ever paid for.
GAL PAL: What advice would you give to the entrepreneurial college girl who wants to own her own business?
First, I would congratulate her on taking control of her own destiny!
Then I would say to always listen to your gut and run with your idea! Don’t let anyone’s negative words influence you or stop you from doing what you know could be a success. Too many people in today’s society do not see their own potential, so they feel the need to make others feel that way too. Shut them out, and surround yourself with people who support you unconditionally! Having positive energy and other ambitious people in your life will help you in your business more than you know!