Financing a Start-Up: Fledgling Designers Court Kin, Kindness

With a keen fashion sense and some business savvy, or a numbers-wise partner, ambitious young designers are attracting some financial backing.

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As the dot-coms have shown, though, long-term success goes beyond the ability to simply attract financing.

At J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., senior vice president Philip Bleser usually deals with fashion companies that have already shown they can grow, but he recognizes that they are shaped in their infancy. “The model that’s successful does not revolve around the financing as much as the partnership,” he said, noting most successful design ventures involve both a strong fashion point of view as well as a sound business mind.

“You want your financial partners to understand the industry and really be advisers to the business,” he added. “A lot of people can put the numbers together and a lot of people can lend you money, but can they give you advice?”
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