Whenever we have something that we are good at - something we care about - that experience and passion fundamentally changes the nature of our first impression. When we are outside our areas of expertise, our reactions remain shallow, they are hard to explain and easily disrupted. They aren't grounded in real understanding.
This fragment from Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller Blink made me think about my own passion for eco fashion. The past seven years I have met and interviewed over 100 eco fashion entrepreneurs. Most of them had only just started their venture, but already had an aura of success. Success is a biased word, but in this case I mean that they managed to build a sustainable enterprise. Or: that they - although they only just started - would manage to build a sustainable enterprise and that I somehow knew this. I don't know how I knew it, but I just felt it intuitively.
Of course I can rationalize that Beyond Skin already had a celebrity following five years ago which helped the founder to get a lot of media exposure for her brand. Or I can say that Howies remained very authentic, even after their buy-out by Timberland. Or that the Veja guys had a clever business instinct that pulled them through the start-up phase. Or that Ada Zanditon's designs just blew everyone away. There are many reasons for success, but a smart mix of exposure, design aesthetic, business skills and preferably authenticity is the best way forward.
There is a big difference between saying you're an ethical fashion brand and truly building a sustainable company. By now I think we have many great examples that we can learn from. When I meet a new entrepreneur, I always go over the smart mix to understand where he or she is. But my first impression - the initial blink - counts the most. Will we see him or her again at next year's trade fair?
RED IS HOT
written by image consultant london, January 12, 2011
written by fair trade scarves, April 01, 2011
written by Homecoming dresses, April 20, 2011
written by Francis Oliverio, November 09, 2011
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