Her Dry Cleaning Bill Made Her Do It
FROM A CONVERSATION WITH FASHION CEO SARAH LAFLEUR ON THE REINVENT YOURSELF PODCAST
She wanted to be an aid worker in Zambia but after college, got sucked instead into management consulting. After she quit, she couldn’t find a job but noticed her $300 interview dress was burning a $1,000 dry-cleaning hole in her budget. Sarah LaFleur, CEO of MM.LaFleur, talks about how that simple problem prompted LaFleur to reinvent herself and create a multi-million dollar fashion business based on her “idea for better workwear for working women.”
Sarah’s Top Tips for Reinvention
1. You probably know more than you think.
You don’t necessarily have to have experience in the industry to know what the industry is missing. I had zero experience in fashion; I really learned all of it as I built the business. What I had was a good instinct about what the market was missing. When I speak to a lot of women who are thinking of starting their own businesses, they say, ‘well you know I want to go apprentice here, I want to get an internship here, I need to learn more about this.’ I don’t think any of that is wrong, I just want to remind women that you probably know more than you think, and your instincts as a consumer will serve you very well.
2. Find a stable source of income.
All cash is green. You can do anything – you can bartend, or work at a store. It provided me not a big income stream, but a stream of income that made me feel like I wasn’t dwindling my savings. What happens often when you quit your job cold turkey and decide to plow all of your energy into startup you feel like you’re working against a deadline, that deadline being the day your money runs out. And so by having this side hustle for me, I felt like I got to prolong that timeline and really refine my business until I felt like it was good enough.
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