Fashion & Apparel

Fashion & Apparel

Interview with Abi Ferrin, Fashion Designer

You started your business from the ground up, tell us about your initial struggles and what it took for you to be successful…

My quote to live by has always been, “Persistence beyond what seems reasonable”. Most of the people close to me were very worried for several years as I worked around the clock, seven days a week. As time went by, other people jumped on board and believed in the brand and purpose. Sweat equity is a great replacement for hard cold cash, sometimes even better as we had to be smart and resourceful in order to survive and grow. It’s been a trek, but it’s exciting to be on the other side and to have maintained ownership in my company in spite of all the odds.

 

Did you have any big breaks, or would you say it was just hard relentless work that got you to the top?

I was named Texas’ Next Top Designer by Stanley Korshak in 2007. Along with the title came a package valued at $25,000 to start my company, a $5,000 business grant to start a business and a loft at SouthSide on Lamar in downtown Dallas that is still my studio base to this day. For the 2011 Super Bowl I was selected by the NFL wives to be the featured designer which helped launch the brand onto more of a national stage.

Becoming well known in the Dallas fashion scene and having the opportunity to dress celebrities such as Molly Sims, Vanessa Williams and Perrey Reeves certainly hasn’t hurt either 😉

 

What marketing activities have you focused on to build you business?

Social media has been key. Having the ability to control my message without relying on a budget or a plan is critical. I know how to market, but prior to social media I would have had to go through PR firms that I couldn’t afford at the time. I now have an amazing PR firm in SSPR, and they continue to make social media and bloggers a huge priority for our media strategy.

 

Social media has been key. Having the ability to control my message without relying on a budget or a plan is critical. I know how to market, but prior to social media I would have had to go through PR firms that I couldn’t afford at the time.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Don’t look for the quick fix or an instant solution. The only way to wear these shoes is to be prepared to work thoughtfully and hard to get what you want. I could easily have given up 100 times before finally getting to a point of stability, and while it wasn’t an easy journey, it is so rewarding to have built something that I am so proud to be a part of.

 

What does your average work day look like?

Everyday is different and I thrive off of that. For example, one day I may be traveling and hosting a trunk show at alocal boutique, the next I’m meeting with Nordstrom to discuss business strategies and the following I may be drinking wine with my best friend and sketching out my next design.

 

What would you do differently if you could change something about your career or life?

Not trusting my own intuition and gut early on in my love life had a ripple effect and really took awhile to recover from. He was abusive and condescending, and I didn’t stand up for myself. Looking back I know that I had to experience it in order to have the passion I do now for the oppressed and abused, but I wouldn’t wish my past on anyone. Believe in yourself!

 

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Running a fashion company is hard. There are so many moving parts from idea to point of sale and distribution. It is a 24-7 career for my team and I. It is not unusual for us to be together at midnight working on one element or another. I always start my interns with the welcome speech that I call ‘Fashion is Not Glamorous 101’. People don’t realize that being in fashion means dealing with rolling racks, hangers, steamers, heavy boxes and piles of clothes… it’s way more then red carpets, runways and celebs. You have to have a burning passion in order to enjoy it and be successful!

Follow Abi on Twitter and “Like her on Facebook.

 

  • Tammi Edwards
    Tammi Edwards

    Author, Journalist & Art Enthusiast | Tammi Edwards is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) where she earned two Bachelor's Degrees, and later a Juris Doctor (JD). Her interest in an artistic career took root while an undergraduate at UCSB when the LaBelle Modeling Agency contracted her as a model & voiceover talent.