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NOT SO GLORY DAYS: Panelists at Wednesday night’s “Entrepreneurship” discussion weren’t afraid to bare a few battle wounds. Moderator Karen Harvey, whose consulting group co-hosted the Milk Studios event with Fashion Group International, helped coax them along, by asking about their worst jobs. Rent The Runway’s Jenny Fleiss recalled how her Wall Street life called for some nights spent sleeping under her desk. Her co-founder Jennifer Hyman said punching the clock in a corporate culture that pushed people down was not her thing.
Opening Ceremony co-owners Carol Lim and Humberto Leon said they too were not cut out for the corporate life, but Lim’s darkest work day happened in their second year in business together. The pair’s one computer doubled as a POS terminal. Diligent as she had been about backing up the information daily, there was a two- to three-month stretch where she waffled, the computer crashed and all those sales went up in smoke. Needless to say, an IT person was soon hired.
Vena Cava’s Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai remembered how they lined up $10,000 in orders at their first trunk show even though they had no idea how or where to actually produce the clothes. Mayock resorted to going door-to-door in Eighth Avenue buildings that looked large enough to house factories. Buhai said, “Failure is sometimes what drives you. We didn’t get chosen to show in Parsons’ senior show. That’s how the whole idea for our company started.”