“Stop Trying to Be Perfect” 5 Insider Tips with Designer Dalia MacPhee
“Attention to detail, having a great eye, demanding superior quality , are all great traits, however they can at times prove to be detrimental in the business world. I lost sales opportunities waiting to release a product because it wasn’t yet perfected. People don’t always expect perfection: they don’t know that the red was supposed to be a half a shade brighter, or the beads were supposed to be shinier, or the campaign was supposed to have 4 models instead 3, and while you’re waiting to perfect every last detail, your competitor is out there making a killing on product that is far less perfect than yours. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just get it out there. It’s better to have a less than perfect product with sales than a perfect product that’s still sitting in the back room.”
I had the pleasure to interview Fashion Designer Dalia MacPhee. Dalia has rocketed to the upper echelon of sought- after designers in Hollywood. She’s been called the “IT” girl of the red carpet and Entertainment Tonight has referred to her brand as “Couture with a Conscience.” The Consul General of Canada listed her as an emerging phenomenon in Canada with significant designing talent. Dalia’s designs have graced the figures of celebrities such as Hilary Duff, Heidi Klum, Gina Rodriguez, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Olivia Munn, Amber Riley, Nina Dobrev, Niecy Nash, Alyssa Milano, Serena Williams, Scarlett Johansson, and Khloe Kardashian. A TEDx speaker and Tech Innovator, Dalia has been published in Forbes, Vogue and The Huffington Post and featured on CBS, NBC and Fox News. Recent fashion projects include an underwater celebrity fashion campaign to bring awareness to violence against women and a global fashion show to promote world peace. Media credits Include: Entertainment Tonight, E!, The Insider, and countless magazines including Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Allure, and People.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Yitzi, it’s such a pleasure! Thank you so much for reaching out.
I’m the founder and owner of the DALIA MACPHEE Brand, which has been in the market for several years now.
We sell better department stores and boutiques worldwide.
I’m Canadian, and grew up in an entrepreneurial family ( my parents owned a chain of clothing stores across Canada),
and I have lived and breathed business from a young age. While other kids were in Disneyland, I was in clothing factories in Hong Kong and New York learning how to negotiate in several languages!
I originally wanted to be a lawyer, ( I ranked as the top public speaker in Canada when I was 14), however I soon realized I had an entrepreneurial spirit, and decided to start my first business. At 21 I created a small collection of evening dresses, and one year later it was in roughly 1200 stores worldwide. I was one of the first designers to offer a collection that was available in all sizes ( Up to sz 24). While I adore fashion, I don’t consider myself a designer as much as an entrepreneur:
I love to create, and I love to solve problems.
When I was a teenager I designed a device that converts C02 to oxygen in what was my attempt at solving the greenhouse effect/global warming.
I try to incorporate this passion in my brand, and over the years I’ve created some very interesting products, including the world’s first light up premium denim jeans which were carried by Macy’s.
I’m very excited to be releasing a new futuristic purse soon, ( patented of course) which is unlike anything that has ever been in the market.
Yitzi: Which person or which company do you most admire and why?
Really, there are too many to list, as I’m inspired everyday, but I will say I have a “TYPE.”
I admire those who beat the odds. Those who despite their circumstances, the naysayers, the roadblocks, stuck to their dream and thrived.
It’s intoxicating to witness that and makes believers out of people.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
First of all, I think the most important contribution we can make to the world is in the little things.
It costs nothing to smile, to be kind, to inspire, and I believe if even half of us practiced this once a day, we would live in a completely world.
As far as bringing goodness through my company, I learned early on that if I was going to survive the cut throat world of apparel, I needed to have a bigger purpose.
We have such an opportunity to help this planet through fashion, since it’s such a high volume industry, and something people do every day. I created the brand motto: Changing the world one Gown at a Time.’’
Over the years I’ve been involved and continue to be involved in several causes near and dear to my heart.
This includes donating gowns to cancer survivors who are flown flown yearly to walk to the Oscars Red Carpet, Fashion shows to benefit autism, tree planting endeavors to restore forests, and underwater campaigns to bring awareness to trafficking and domestic abuse.
My dream and goal has always been that every time someone purchases one of my garments, a less fortunate person somewhere else in the world is being helped.
I’m also a huge animal lover and am launching a pet app soon that will completely change the the way we adopt pets.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why
Because I grew up in such an entrepreneurial family, I had a lot of the great traditional business advice drilled into my head from a young age,
So my five things are a bit more unconventional. They’re the maybe not so obviously things that took me years to learn.
Here they are:
1) Stop trying to be perfect
Attention to detail, having a great eye, demanding superior quality , are all great traits, however they can at times prove to be detrimental in the business world.
I lost sales opportunities waiting to release a product because it wasn’t yet perfected.
People don’t always expect perfection: they don’t know that the red was supposed to be a half a shade brighter, or the beads were supposed to be shinier, or the campaign was supposed to have 4 models instead 3, and while you’re waiting to perfect every last detail, your competitor is out there making a killing on product that is far less perfect than yours.
Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just get it out there. It’s better to have a less than perfect product with sales than a perfect product that’s still sitting in the back room.
2) Not matter how busy you get, always make time for the things that move your soul.
A Happy Entrepreneur is a successful entrepreneur.
For years I lived and breathed the garment business.
I stopped making time for me, ( that included not taking a single vacation), and as you can imagine, I eventually burned out.
The great thing about burn out is it gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate everything.
I started to schedule the things in that mattered to me:
People, Places, Activities ( Horse riding and jumping is a huge passion of mine), and while it meant a few less hours at the office, I was 200% more productive because my soul was filled. That vacation inspired a new product, that horse riding lesson made me mentally stronger, that dinner had me gleaming for the whole week.
3) Write a note to your future Entrepreneur Self
At Some point, you may fall. It’s what you do in that moment that counts.
When starting out, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Then you hit that first huge success, and it’s a rush. In apparel, we have highs and lows all the time.
One minute you’re the best thing since sliced bread and everyone wants you , the next minute, you’re dumped. Just like that.
The first time it happened, I was devastated.
Like anything in life, it’s harder to be without “it”, once you’ve had a taste.
I forgot who I was for a minute and lost confidence. It took me a while to regroup.
I did of course, and came back bigger and better.
I wish though I had written a note to myself when I was first starting out.
I believe it would have made a difference in my regroup time.
That note would have gone something like this:
For Dalia: to Open after your first big Fall:
Dear Dalia, if you’re reading this, it means you’ve had your first big fall.
Which is amazing, because you can only fall when you’re up high, so that means you’ve already achieved you first huge success!
Wow, can we just stop for a minute and take that in? I’m so incredibly proud of you.
Let’s focus on that and not the fall, because this is just what happens in life.
You got to the top, and gravity kicked in for a minute.
So what? This is a part of success.
Get back up . It can’t be any harder than it was the first time.
No one defines you but you.
Remember who you are. You’re here to change the world.
Look at yourself in the mirror and say this three times:
You are Amazing. You are enough. You are destined to succeed in anything you do.
Now go buy yourself something pretty and get back out there!
I’m counting on you.
4) It’s Ok to ask for Help
Another one that took me a while to learn. Too much pride and fear of showing weakness prevented me from reaching out in some critical times.
I tried to solve everything myself and that’s just not productive in the business world.
The truth is, most people love to give advice and help.
The second I started asking for guidance doors opened that had been closed for years.
5) Make sure you are prepared to “receive” Success
Your first big success in business can be like winning the lotto:
It can come at once, and you need to be prepared.
There’s a reason why 70% lotto winners go broke in a few years ( National Endowment for Financial Education).
You need to be ready to receive.
The first big success I had, I don’t think I felt like I was really worthy.
You really have to face your fears around money and success ( believe me we all have them at some point), in order to attract more of it.
Yitzi: I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, or I might be able to introduce you.
Richard Branson or Oprah! Have a huge admiration for both, personally and professionally, and I’m looking for guidance and support on this new pet app I’m launching!!