Guest Blog: Why I started my own company
At some point during everyone’s career there comes an introspective moment when we ask ourselves, “Is this really what I want to be doing for the rest of my life? Is this path fulfilling and does it speak to what I am passionate about?” For me, this question arose after nearly eight years working in product line management for well-known companies in the footwear and textiles industries. And I discovered that the answer was, “No.”
Of course there was no denying the vast amount of knowledge I had gained in the work force. Over the years I learned the ins and outs of the product creation process and how it helped define and build a brand’s identity. Working cross-functionally meant that I really got to understand how various teams operated from design to development, sales, and marketing. Even though the front-line experience was invaluable, I always had the nagging feeling that, to use an old idiom, I was a cog in a wheel. That is to say, really how important was I as an individual in the context of these large corporate organisations, and with so much competition in the job market, were we as employees viewed as, quite simply, replaceable?
And so after a great deal of reflection I took a giant leap and decided to quit my job and start a company in order to launch my own brand. An initial list of pros and cons was dizzying: lack of security, negative cash flow, no foreseeable salary, the risk of failure, stepping out of the work force and becoming obsolete, and believe me that list went on. But, in my view, the one item in the ‘pro’ list outweighed all of the risks and that item was: autonomy. The only person I had to answer to everyday was myself. Finally, I was my own boss, my time was my own, and every ounce of effort I put in was directly related to my own success and not that of someone else.
Four years on and I have never looked back. My brand has grown from strength to strength and my luxury handmade cushions are now sold in thirty premium retailers on five different continents with a loyal customer base that includes famous interior designers, celebrities, royal families and UHNWI’s. I have, through hard work, sleepless nights and countless hours, surpassed my own expectations.
For anyone else out there who finds that they are asking themselves similar questions regarding career goals my advice is this: always take the risk. The sacrifices may seem insurmountable, but once you’ve stepped off the precipice and put yourself out there, the universe will support you.
Alexandra is the Founder of her own luxury fabrics company, specialising in quality cushions and scarfs, handmade in Italy. Educated in Boston, Italy and London, she began her career in New York City and worked for a year at Bloomingdale’s, heading up their women’s couture department. Following that, she spent over five years at Puma International in Boston, where she travelled the world scouting the latest trends and creating new ranges of lifestyle footwear. Alexandra was then headhunted to London where she successfully launched a brand new range of furnishing fabrics for the quintessential British brand Liberty. In 2013, Alexandra decided to harness her entrepreneurial spirit and the inspiration accrued from decades of travelling to launch her own company. Her cushions are now stocked in Italy, Canada, the United States and the Middle East, as well as various retailers in the UK, including luxury department store Harrods.
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