An Interview with Guillaume Philibert, Forbes (Europe 2019) Retail & eCommerce

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski
Sep 23 · 9 min read

(#00043) — Success should make you happy, but if you aren’t successful that shouldn’t make you unhappy.

  1. Who is Guillaume Philibert?
  2. Forbes 30 Under 30
  3. What is Filling Pieces?
  4. Best and Worst Parts of Being Successful
  5. Ingredients For Success
  6. “5 Life Lessons I Learned From My Experience”
  7. Smart Work vs. Hard Work
  8. Definition of Happiness
  9. Future Plans
  10. Final Piece of Advice

If you want to enter the fashion industry and succeed, you need to stand out. And to do that, you require the right idea, enough motivation, and dedication to withstand all obstacles, but above all — an open and creative mind.

Today, you’ll have the opportunity to read the amazing story of an entrepreneur and fashion designer, who managed to convert his idea into a global business thanks to his creativity and the ability to recognize an amazing opportunity.

Meet Guillaume Philibert, a young and aspiring entrepreneur with a vision and a goal. He is the creative director at Filling Pieces, an Amsterdam-based fashion brand, that is available internationally, in a total of 49 countries.

The goal of Filling Pieces is to bridge the gap between people, different cultures, different beliefs, different sexual preferences, and different styles.

What once started as a simple idea, turned into an internationally recognized brand that provides luxury fashion-forward apparel and footwear.

Today, Guillaume holds a place on Forbes’s “30 Under 30 Europe 2019: Retail & eCommerce” list, thanks to his dedication to his company and brand.

I recently did an interview with him, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Can you tell us more about yourself? Who is Guillaume Philibert? How and why did you choose your current career?

My name is Guillaume Philibert, founder, and creative director at Filling Pieces, an Amsterdam-based fashion brand.

I started designing footwear in late 2009 with the purpose of bridging the gap between the high-end and street/athletic footwear industries.

Being 19 years of age, I felt there was a big gap in price, quality, feel and experience in those segments and wanted to create a product and brand that would bridge that gap.

While studying architecture, I had a strong passion for design and fashion, so I combined that with my set of skills and what I learned in school.

Fast forward; the brand has grown to become an internationally-available brand with our products sold in over 49 countries, with a strong focus on making luxury fashion-forward apparel and footwear.

I would also like to congratulate you for winning a spot among Forbes 30 under 30! Have you ever wished to get such recognition? Was your childhood dream to be where you are today?

Thank you! When I started, the goal was always to create a universe which people could identify with, that inspires and makes people feel good.

The Forbes 30 Under 30 within retail and e-commerce is a great milestone and recognition as an entrepreneur. It’s every entrepreneur’s dream to be part of this list, especially as I was getting closer to the limit, I’m 29 now, haha.

I have always dreamed of working in the creative field, I just wasn’t sure what segment at a younger age, but every day I wake up and feel very blessed to create and for being able to build something that will be here for a long time.

You are a founder and creative director at Filling Pieces, am I right? How was your business idea born? How hard it was for you to come up with one? What is the mission of your company?

It was born out of the frustration of being a 19-year-old student with a limited budget to spend on clothing — I wasn’t able to afford designer trainers.

I saved up quite some time for a pair of Dior Homme sneakers and when I finally bought them, I was missing the exclusivity in the product, the comfort, and athletic feel.

That’s when I decided to design a pair of hand-made trainers that would be affordable, limited and comfortable and especially cool for me and my friends.

I didn’t have a business plan, neither did I have this commercial idea for what I would do, I just felt there was a product missing for my personal use and for my friends.

When the first 50 shoes I manufactured sold out rapidly I knew this could be big. I’m extremely grateful for the size the company is today.

What started as a product/brand that would bridge the gap between segments, became a deeper, long-lasting brand vision.

Our mission as a brand is to use our creativity and products to bridge the gap in any means. This is between people, different cultures, different beliefs, different sexual preferences, and different styles.

Especially in today’s age, it’s important to be transparent about what you stand for as a brand and as human beings, but most importantly, do whatever it takes to make this world a better place and connect individuals in a positive way.

What would you say are the best and worst things about being young and successful? Please explain.

I always think it’s difficult to talk about the worst things, as I always strive for positivity in my work, my team and brand experience; but the hardest part about success is the pressure it brings.

Designing a strong collection, opening a store, or shooting a strong campaign means you need to keep raising the bar.

Fashion especially is very trend-related, so to stay on top and redefine yourself as a brand and stay relevant is the hardest part.

The good thing about being successful is that it opens up doors — it creates new opportunities and you meet new and interesting people. This brings a lot of joy and positivity within your working environment.

What motivates you to jump out of the bed every morning? How to you remain focused? Are there any habits you believe are essential for being successful regardless of the industry?

My team, although I wouldn’t like to call them family as that might feels a bit laid-back, are strongly linked by a mutual spirit and belief.

Waking up and walking to the office, most of the joy comes from seeing them happy, working hard and trying to grow and we as business owners give them the opportunity for new chances and to get better and stronger every day.

My focus is the result of addiction for perfection and growth. I think of myself as a very ambitious person that is never satisfied. This hunger for more drives me.

I think working hard, staying humble and most definitely being a good and creative leader are strong ingredients for success.

What are your ‘’5 Life Lessons I Learned From My Experience’’? Why?

  1. Invest in your team, make them feel they are actually a real part of the success, give them the opportunity to grow.
  2. Take risks, no one grows big without risking it all.
  3. Business is Business, don’t take business personally.
  4. Success should make you happy, but if you aren’t successful that shouldn’t make you unhappy.
  5. Stay humble, always. Being a nice person is free, make sure you never forget that.

Do you think education is absolutely necessary for success? What is your opinion on smart vs. hard work?

Education is not necessary for success, although education helped me a lot on my road to success.

As usual, I know a number of extremely successful entrepreneurs that didn’t have a high educational degree, but for me, it really worked. So it depends per person, per industry, etc.

I believe in smart workers, more than hard workers.

I used to work extremely hard, from 9 am to 10 pm, then I found out if I just worked smarter, looked out of the box and changed some working habits, I had the same work done in 4–5 hours a day.

Who is Guillaume Philibert outside the office? Besides work, what else do you enjoy doing? What is your definition of happiness?

I’m very close to my family and friends. Although most of my friends work in the same industry, I try to really focus on my personal life when I'm not at the office.

It’s important to disconnect from work from time to time. It’s hard to make that change but it’s very much needed.

Unfortunately within my generation, especially with social media being such an important part of our work and daily lives, I see many depressed or overworked people. It’s not healthy, plus to get back from such a break-down takes longer and is harder than disconnecting from time to time.

Besides family and friends, I really like to travel, curate music for my DJ gigs and play ping pong.

Happiness for me used to be pretty much influenced by how the business was going, now I’ve grown up and been able to kind of separate my work from my personal life.

My definition of happiness is being alongside inspiring individuals and friends, being and feeling free to experience new things and places with people I care for and being financially independent to afford a balance between relaxing and work.

Let’s say it is the year 2030. Where are you and Filling Pieces? Do you have a set milestone you want to hit by then?

Filling Pieces will be an international fashion house focussing on bridging gaps, with full global awareness, a set of own retail stores and programs/ projects to support those in need and inspire them to create.

Finally, what is the piece of advice that changed your life completely? Why is it important?

To trust the process. Entrepreneurs are always in a rush to succeed and become bigger and bigger.

Trusting the process gives you peace of mind and the belief that things will be all good.

That helped me in the moments I felt insecure, or impatient when success felt far from reality.

Sometimes all it takes for an idea to be born and introduced to the world is getting frustrated over something.

It can be as simple as finding a solution to a problem that was bothering you. In fact, this is exactly how most success stories start in the first place.

The ability to solve a problem and deal with that frustration of yours is the first step. And if you are feeling that way, trust me, there are others that share the same frustration as you.

In other words, finding a solution to a problem can be incredible for a business idea. You just need to make sure you don't miss out on the opportunity.

Take Guillaume’s story as an example of that. Let it serve as a reminder that you need to take the first step on your journey, in order to reach your goals.

“The Mission to Empower 1 Million Entrepreneurs”

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The Logician

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Bruno (HE) Mirchevski

Written by

The Logician (Dreamer) 👁️ Don’t follow me. I am lost too!😎 Founder of HE Group - (Investor) 📈

The Logician

The Official Publication of The Logician

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