Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

Networking With A Purpose

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Fashion, Music on April 4, 2008 at 1:10 am

“What makes us who we are?
What do we all share?
A story.
Every story has a beginning, a vision, a journey
A struggle
Everyone has a past, a secret, a burden, a weakness, a passion, a dream
Everyone has a story”

This quote has stuck with me ever since hearing it months ago. It seems to fit perfectly to my business concept, Direct Fusion Entertainment. Everytime I strike up a conversation with someone I feel as if they offer their business card to me. Business cards are just empty promises if you do not act them. If you do not believe me, read Keith Ferrazzi’s book, “Never Eat Alone.” I believe networking is essential but, many people are serial business card collectors. If someone hands me a card I will gladly accept it but, with the advice of Lisa and other advisors I feel as if I have the secret ingredient to networking. The secret ingredient being, INTERVIEWS.

Over the past few months of I have interviewed road managers for artists, a founder of one of the largest clothing brand, school administrators, and event planners. These interviews have turned into them sharing their passions, their dreams, and journeys which all equates to them sharing their story. Having their stories laid out in front of me has allowed me to seek key insight into how to develop my business concept of a traveling fashion show and concerts with the target market being college students. As the motto goes, “been there, done that.” These professionals have provided valuable insight into how to shape my business because they have a wealth of experiences.

As of now, market research is fundamental for how I will approach my business idea. I developed a questionnaire for school administrators to answer which will allow me to understand the possibility of bring a fashion shows to their school. The questionnaire is structured in a manner that will allow me to analyze a school’s budget along with how they handle event logistics. Having this information prior to fully launching Direct Fusion Entertainment will allow me to tweak the necessary areas to hopefully, make a success business in the future.

I’m in the process of collecting countless pages of interview reflections verse pages of business cards with empty promises. I am a young entrepreneur but, if you heed any advice from me, remember to learn to share your story with others because you might just help someone spark the next big idea.


States of Dress

In Fashion, WEBSITES & BLOGS on March 14, 2008 at 8:52 am

For those of you interested in fashion design, Robin Barcus Sionina takes her art project “States of Dress” to a whole new level of design. Currently Robin is on a quest to create a site-specific, interactive “dress” sculpture in each state of the union. A documentary film is also being made about the process.

Willow Creek Dress in Wyoming, 2006

To see more of Robin’s amazing dresses and learn more about her work click here.

Turning Struggles into Passions

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Fashion, Music on February 29, 2008 at 4:20 am

My name is Ryan Conrad. I am a Senior at Juanita College. Lisa asked me if I wanted to share my journey with the readers of Entrepreneur The Arts. This is my short story about how I turned my elementary school struggles into my passions. These passions have given me a new outlook on life while setting in motion my entrepreneurial spirit.

In elementary school it was difficult for me to read and write due to a learning disability called dyslexia. Dyslexia in it’s most basic form is a reading and writing disorder. However, I learned that Albert Einstein, Jay Leno, Leonardo da Vinci, Winston Churchill, and Walt Disney were also dyslexics. Desire to excel have pushed me beyond my limitations. The experience of living with a learning disability has been challenging, but at the same time, has empowered me to become a better person and have a new outlook on life. I know what it feels like to be consider the “other” and feel powerless, but from that experience I have gained the courage to start to question what I have been told and make a positive difference.

Even though I participated in numerous activities during high school, and carried a 3.8 GPA, I felt like the “other” day in and day out. I was told by a band director that I never could make the snare drum line in the marching band because of my disability. Many dyslexic individuals will switch letters around and he believed that I would do the same with the music.

It was suggested to my parents by a variety of people within the school district that it might just be best if I stayed at home and went to a college near my house, because I might not survive on my own without someone there to help me if I struggled learning college material.

I never truly gained confidence in my abilities until the summer before my senior year. In the summer of 2003 I organized a large scale charity 5k as my senior project, which raised close to 2,000 dollars for charity. My race was featured in newspapers, on television, and even in Runner’s World Magazine. For one of the first times in my life I did not feel like the “other.” Rather, I felt as if I had a gift to lead people and organize large events. That fall I made the snare drum line in the marching band and I found out that every college I applied to I was accepted.

Fast Forward to 2008….
I wanted to reflect upon my past experience in order to give everyone an idea of my past. These experiences allowed me to grow as a person and really start to find my passions in life. Looking back now, I find it very interesting that my first passions (music/event planning) in life are now how I hope to make a living. Below is a short overview of my business concept that I have been developing over the last few months.

Direct Fusion Entertainment
There are two necessities for college students that can not be denied. We need clothing and we crave music. Direct Fusion Entertainment is a company that organizes a touring fashion show and professional DJ set party concert series targeted at colleges.

In March of 2007, Direct Fusion Entertainment took the worlds of fashion and music and created the ultimate collaboration! Direct Fusion organized a fashion show at Juniata College that included six clothing companies, a band, DJ, massage therapists, and haircuts, back by corporate sponsorships. As the DJ cranked beats student models walked the run away. After the show a touring band provided the entertainment as students purchased clothing they viewed.

My goal is to implement this same concept nationwide. As the student director of major events at Juniata College, I realized a need which was waiting to be filled. The need for an innovative new type of entertainment not just the regular comedian, hypnotist or band who are competitors in college entertainment.

Hopefully, the background information I supplied will help to provide a context for my blogs in the future. I look forward to sharing my story of how I’ve combined my passions to hopefully create a business concept that will grow in the coming months!

Business Week Selects Three Artistic Entrepreneurs

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Fashion, Interesting Articles, Music on January 15, 2008 at 10:10 am

Here are three profiles of Artistic Entrepreneurs under 25 that Business Week featured on their 2007 Top 25 under 25 Young Entrepreneurs Awards List:

Alex Tchekmeian, 21
AKT Enterprises

As a member of an indie rock band while a student, Alex Tchekmeian agreed to handle his band’s finances and order necessary merchandise like T-shirts and stickers. When other bands asked him for help, he agreed, starting several businesses that relied on subcontractors. He says that three years ago he started to take the business seriously, and dropped out of the University of Central Florida to devote more attention to it.

Today, 20-employee AKT Enterprises consists of 15 businesses that revolve around the music industry and include merchandising, Web development, and online ticketing services. Most of AKT’s clients are hardcore bands and record labels. Tchekmeian says the business had $1.3 million revenues in 2006 and estimates it will earn just over $3 million in 2007, with the bulk of the income coming from merchandising, all of which is produced in-house, because he doesn’t “trust the quality of anyone else out there.” As the business has grown, he says he’s received a number of offers from potential investors but has turned them down because now he doesn’t need the money.

Polina Raygorodskaya, 21
Polina Fashion

Before Russian native Polina Raygorodskaya started her fashion production services business Polina Fashion, she worked as a model for Major Models in New York. Convinced she could create a successful business herself, she decided to put her modeling career on hold to learn more about business. She enrolled at Babson College, where she is now a senior studying entrepreneurship and marketing.

Raygorodskaya says her business, which she started in April, 2006, after being approached to produce an event from a contact from her modeling days, is profitable and makes the bulk of its profits producing fashion events. She says she has already produced about 50 events, with price tags of $2,000 to $15,000 per event. Despite taking six classes and running the company by herself, Raygorodskaya is planning a major event for February, 2009, that she says could shake up the fashion industry and bring in about $2 million in revenues. If the event is successful, she plans to roll out a monthly series in major cities across the U.S.

Ashley Reed, 21
ASR Clothing

Reed started her business after classmates in high school commented on her custom-designed clothes and asked her to design pieces for them. She says that fashion design has always been her passion.

When her counterparts in the fashion industry learn Reed’s age, she says they usually doubt the seriousness of her business. But that changes once they check out her line of streetwear hoodies, jeans, and T-shirts. Reed says she doesn’t spend too much time worrying about her age, because she’s busy running her business and majoring in retailing at Michigan State during the regular academic year and majoring in fashion merchandising and management at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the summer. Reed expects to complete both degrees in 2008.

Her five-employee business has been featured in newspapers and magazines, and most of its clients are high school or college students from the U.S. but she says recently it has received international orders. For now, she’s investing in equipment that allows her to speed up production and is planning to expand when she graduates.

Here is the link to Business Weeks 2007 Under 25 Young Entrepreneur Awards

Chicago Arts Incubator Anyone?

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on November 29, 2007 at 7:17 am

Today I went to Atlanta to visit The Beehive Co-Op. I went there with the sole objective of hoping to find a partner, in this franchise concept, to potentially build an arts incubator here in Chicago. My wildest dream is to create an entrepreneurial arts incubator that has an educational component for artists to develop their business ideas, that I will design, build and initially run, as well as a place to perform and sell the products and services the artists create–like The Beehive Co-Op— but instead with all of these components under one roof. My ultimate dream is to build a number of arts incubators in communities around The United States.

I may have found the perfect partner in The Beehive Co-Op to begin to develop the first one here in Chicago in 2008. Not only will this offer The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble a regular performing venue, but will also offer many other fine artists a regular performing venue and classes and workshops to help them along their own journey to make their dreams become real.

Sure, Chicago already has Columbia College that offers a very well established artistic entrepreneurship major, great performing space, as many other schools do in Chicago, and of course, they also offer lots of other classes too– but I still believe I can make a difference. I want to help all those artist that are out of school- in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and beyond. All of you that are facing the real world and not doing what you love because you simply need help to learn how you can.

I want to create a community-based experience for both artist and audience to begin to build a new kind of relationship focused on the creative evolution for each. For the artist to become financially able and for the audience to become more creative using the gifts artists have to offer through the development of their business concepts. I want to help artists learn what healthy self-esteem is and what it offers that, once you have it, you will never again live without.

I am following my heart and trusting the net will appear by showing up and following up with anyone and everyone who falls in my path. Making the trip to Atlanta was yet another way for me to show up and trust that my net will appear.

There are many things I need to make this work. I need to help find the right person to buy into The Beehive Co-Op as a franchisee in Chicago. I would like to find the right affordable building to buy- along with a couple of real estate investors who believe in the power of the arts- to house the project and make it permanent. I will also need to find the funding sources to support the not-for-profit educational work with grants. So many things must appear to make the net real and provide the safety this dream needs.

But regardless of if my dream is realized in this exact way, I am turning over every stone until I find a way to create the perfect enviornment for my work and my passion. I am relentless–but then again so is my nagging passion that I simply cannot ignore. I love blogging for all of you who stop by and pay me a visit, but it is simply not enough. The silence offers me no glory or joy or awe of witnessing, again and again and again, what I know inside of you can burn an eternal bright light filled with your passionate dreams and the financial worth you deserve.

Sooner or later, I, myself, will find my perfect groove and be able to fly effortlessly in the light of my vision. There will come a day when it appears. Today, it feels as if it is not far off- maybe even just right around the corner.

And even on those days when I am less than sure it is, I believe that day will come if I just keep going. How about you?

Art, Business and Community Unite

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Fashion, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on October 25, 2007 at 7:06 pm

Artist Petra Geiger is accustomed to making her uniquely designed handbags and selling them at art fairs around the country. She has done it for years. But in October of 2004, Geiger decided to try her hand at creating something new for the city of Atlanta: the first Beehive Co-op.

This retail space, home to 46 designers who rent whatever space they need – a table, shelf, or a boutique- is the first franchise of its kind. The designers individually sell their creations, ranging from paper to jewelry to cupcakes. All together these 46 designers provide a fresh new alternative to the big box mass-produced everything-looks-the-same stores that most of us are use to shopping inside of these days.

Geiger’s concept is taking off. Not only is she receiving a great deal of recognition in Atlanta, but with sales of more than $180,000 last year, and an expected growth rate of 20-30% in 2007, Geiger has decided she has a concept worth franchising.

“Our mission, simply put, is to nurture the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of emerging designers and provide them with new markets and opportunities for their products.”

Geiger started franchising in January of 2007 and hopes to open 2-3 locations each year. Geiger is looking for franchisees who can manage co-op space, market the concept and connect with their communities and local artists.

To find out more go to