Reinventing after Losing Everything with Marla Ginsburg
FROM A CONVERSATION WITH MARLA GINSBURG ON THE REINVENT YOURSELF PODCAST
“In 2008 I got hit hard. I lost my derrière,” says Marla Ginsburg, CEO of The MarlaWynne Collection. “So I bought a sewing machine and started Googling ‘How do you thread a sewing machine?’” Ginsburg had spent her previous career on the production side of television, but taught herself how to create the kinds of clothes she wanted to wear, eventually selling them into Nordstrom, QVC, and even Chicos. “I’m an accidental success,” she says, noting that the collection she owns “has no debt” and will make $60 million in retail, even during the pandemic turmoil. “It takes passion to fuel change,” she advises. “But you’ve gotta do your homework….And the most important thing is to ask questions and ask for help.”
Marla’s Top Tips for a Fashion Reinvention
- Plan to launch digitally.
I don’t think it’s about planning to sell private labels to department stores anymore because I think that model is fairly broken. It’s a very difficult one and it takes a lot of cash.
- Start with one thing.
If I look at some of the most successful launches in the apparel sector, there’s a brand called Cuyana that I love, Lunya that does pajamas, and Jemme that does shoes. Everlane, a huge success, started with a man’s t-shirt, that’s it. And now they do men’s, they do women’s, they do shoes, they do everything. I would say pick an item, just one item, so that you can take advantage of Google search, and pick an item where you can see the white space.
- Don’t go after millennials.
Because everyone is going after millennials. There is no white space and it’s just a crowded race to the finish line. I think you should look at underserved markets in apparel. The plus-size market makes sense. Women over 45 or 50 makes sense. But I would keep it very narrow, because if you spread too wide, reaching a consumer base is too difficult. Get as narrow as you possibly can.