Modern Fashion: Angelina Mahany of Angie’s Showroom On The 5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand Today
Always do your research. Make sure you want to do it; the fashion industry might be not for everyone. Maybe even take a consultation with a professional to ask all the questions in advance
Many in the fashion industry have been making huge pivots in their business models. Many have turned away from the fast fashion trend. Many have been focusing on fashion that also makes a social impact. Many have turned to sustainable and ethical sourcing. Many have turned to hi tech manufacturing. Many have turned to subscription models. What are the other trends that we will see in the fashion industry? What does it take to lead a successful fashion brand today?
In our series called, “5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand Today” we are talking to successful leaders of fashion brands who can talk about the Future of Fashion and the 5 things it takes to lead a successful fashion brand in our “new normal.”
As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Angelina Mahany.
Angelina Mahany is the CEO and Founder of Angie’s Showroom and the creator of Angie’s Luxury Bags, a sustainable resell e-commerce platform. She is also a Marketing Professional, a Business Owner, and a Fashion Designer based in Ormond Beach, Florida.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?
Sure. I was born in Moscow, Russia. I started to dance when I was 5 and continued my education at a professional ballet school at the age of 9. I was thinking I would become a ballerina. But life decided differently, and I went into business school. I graduated from the top 5 universities in Moscow and got a degree in Business Management, and then I moved to France to get my Masters in Marketing. However, art and dance would be always a part of me and my personality, which kind of led to my future business. That’s pretty much my childhood.
Can you tell us the story about what led you to this particular career path?
It’s a difficult question. To be honest, I always wanted to work in the Fashion industry, but I never had a chance to get a job there. So, basically, I found a job in a good company with a good salary and I would take it. I worked in car manufacturers, telecommunication, IT services, and financial services companies but always dreamed about fashion. My last job was in Cyprus in a startup company. I guess this particular job changed my vision to switch from a corporate world, and actually start thinking about my own business. Then I moved to the United States, and here it’s when it’s all happened. My first business was a reselling of luxury handbags and accessories.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Honestly, I can’t think of any at the moment. But I think my life is interesting in general. I lived in 4 counties, I traveled a lot, I worked in huge corporations and also a startup. Back in the day, I would never think that I would become a business owner, and I would have 2 projects on my own or launch my brand. So, I believe that’s my interesting story.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
I do believe that certain character traits are important to becoming a successful entrepreneur. I would name a couple that I think were important to me.
- Hard-working. I think if you are not motivated and you are not ready to work hard for a couple of years or maybe more, then owning a business is probably not for you. You might be alone at first, and you will need to work long hours to accomplish all the tasks and start growing your business. Everything will depend on you at first. That’s an important characteristic.
- Ability to learn. Be willing to learn, to listen to experts or coaches. Do not trust everything you hear but verify, and adjust to your business if needed. Always and always keep learning. Education is the key. We live in a very fast-changing world, and every day there is something new, we need to adapt quickly and education helps us keep our minds working.
- Being risky. Do not be afraid to risk. Not all people have this quality. As a business owner, I have to make difficult decisions all the time. And I am not going to lie it is very difficult. But I have to take risks otherwise I won’t succeed or not know if it worked or not. Of course, many times I failed, as an example, I did open a brick-and-mortar store in a big Mall in my first year of business. And it was a huge mistake, I invested everything I had as well. But I learned a lot from this experience and I know now what I want to do and if I want to have a brick and mortar in the future or what I would do differently next time.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I am still a small business, and my company is small, but I believe that to stand out in any business first you have to have a great idea behind it that will be broadcasted to your audience and customers. They will always see the spark and follow you. My idea was to bring something unique and beautiful to the U.S. market, and I was struggling to find comfortable and beautiful lingerie in here. Then I remembered about my friends’ present for my bachelorette party, it was a 3-piece handmade lingerie set made of 100% silk. And that was it, the idea was born. I am trying to change the perception of women or men about lingerie, and I want them to see what it can be, and there is always more out there than Victoria’s Secret, for example.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Never a failure, always a lesson.” — As a business owner, I am always learning as I go. I have to try things; I have to find ways to increase profits etc. I am looking for new possibilities, and let me just say it’s not always the best idea. A lot of times during my entrepreneurship I lost money, I lost employees, I lost faith in my business. However, if you look at it as a life lesson, and what you learned from those actions and mistakes, you understand that it was a good experience, and now you know. Otherwise, you would still do it, and still try it. This happened to me when I opened my brick-and-mortar store. It was too hard from the beginning. It was expensive, and I was not ready. Everything was wrong, the location, the employees, the product was not the right one for this location. I learned a lot: how to open a physical location, how to advertise, how to operate the store, how to hire employees, how to pay salaries, how to do inventory, and even how to close a business. So, after this experience I do believe that nothing is a failure, it’s all a lesson.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?
I see a big switch in sustainability when I look at big brands. Everyone is talking about the planet now, which they, of course, should. I just wonder why only now? Brands are starting to change their production methods. They recycle materials and use organic materials in their production as well. I love the idea, and I also want to be a part of it. We are still struggling to grow the product line and offer our clients sustainable lingerie or nightwear. That is my dream and I promise I will work on it.
Can you share how your brand is helping to bring goodness to the world?
We use reduced packaging and sometimes recycled packaging. I still need to stay on the luxury side, so some things are not yet replaced. Also, we mostly work on pre-orders, meaning that we have almost 0 waste or at least we try to keep it close to 0. We make a set and sell them while the supply (lace or silk) lasts.
Can you share with our readers about the ethical standards you use when you choose where to source materials?
We source a very small amount first, we make a sample, make a photoshoot, text it with our customers, and then send it to production. We keep a very small inventory; the rest is pre-orders. The same way we work with our wholesale customers. We work on pre-orders with them too.
Lingerie is a bit tricky because the idea from the beginning was to bring something unique, and high quality for affordable pricing. We keep our prices medium to high, but our materials, handmade work, and quality are much higher. So, at first, everything was about laces, satin silk, and silk. It’s a bit tricky to switch to new materials straight away due to the nature of our products. The materials are very specific to work with. It needs to be tested, touched, and worn to see if it works. So, I think we will start with home wear first.
Fast fashion has an advantage, that it is affordable for most people, but it also has the drawback that it does not last very long and is therefore not very sustainable. What are your thoughts about this? How does your company address this question?
I like to support small businesses, especially handmade ones. I don’t say I don’t use mass-market brands or I don’t like them, it’s obviously easier and faster to shop, and yes, a lot of times it’s cheaper. That’s the problem I think that most people can’t afford handmade or small business sustainable items due to price. Even though they would like to try or switch. But I am trying to shop small businesses, it’s most of the time unique, not a lot of people would wear it, and if it’s sustainable it’s even cooler. I don’t think it’s true that Fast fashion is not sustainable, as I mentioned before there is a huge switch in the sustainability of big brands: Michael Kors, Abercrombie&Fitch, H&M, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger just to name a few.
As for my company, we try to move towards more and more sustainable production, but as I already said not everything is easy at the moment especially for such a small business. It takes time, investments, and even equipment.
Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand”. Please share a story or example for each.
I think there are so many things.
- Always do your research. Make sure you want to do it; the fashion industry might be not for everyone. Maybe even take a consultation with a professional to ask all the questions in advance.
- Stand out — your products should be different from everything you see but still that people will buy. That’s your core identity, and people will love you for that.
- Being consistent. You have to work on new collections when one is already out. Keep everything in order and consistent.
- Find a partner. Life is much easier if you are not alone and if you trust someone.
- Promote. Always look for ways to promote your brand by testing, trying, looking for new opportunities. Networking is also good.
Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?
I believe it can. Everything changes so quickly, I still can’t believe that we have had Covid for 3 years, and how it affected our lives and still affect them. Same for business and industries, everything always moving and changing. Otherwise, you die as a person or as a business. It is a cycle to stay competitive, you have to move and quickly. There is a trend for 3D fashion, and that sounds interesting. I would like to see brands moving towards less production. Produce less, not sure if it’s possible. But each year the number is growing and growing. Yes, they start to use recycled materials and organic materials, but they still produce too much…
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would probably not start but continue the movement of sustainability and recycling. And I would work towards decreasing production amounts and waste. All this is to inspire women from all walks of life.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Company URL: https://angieshowroom.com/
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.