520 Allison Andrews:
When people tell you all the reasons why you can’t succeed at something, do you believe them…or does it make you more determined to succeed? Often the best entrepreneurs know they’re onto something truly disruptive when convention has it that they can’t succeed.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who is turning the fashion industry on its head by empowering independent designers.
Allison Andrews is the founder of Fashion Week San Diego, President of APA Business Consulting and Executive Director of the nonprofit Fashion Art Business aka FAB Authority. A passionate entrepreneur, Andrews founded Fashion Week San Diego in 2007, growing the year-long event to become a prominent Southern California event, and the only bi-national Fashion Week in the world. Today she shares how she’d taken it virtual during the Coronavirus Pandemic – plus why you should never believe the people who tell you why you can’t do something. We talk about why growth always happens when you’re outside your comfort zone, and for Allison, there are no limits – so listen on to get tips on how to boost your business mojo and confidence.
Allison Andrews says she was always entrepreneurial – starting as a young kid selling painted rocks. She started her first company at age 20 – a consulting firm supporting startups and entrepreneurs with business development and special events called APA Business Consulting – before creating Fashion Week San Diego in 2007. In 2015, she launched the FAB Authority, a non-for-profit organization 501(c)3, providing resources for emerging artists, designers and beauty industry professionals.
Allison Andrews has a passion for helping and empowering others is apparent in all that she touches. In addition to her full-time commitments with FWSD, APA Business Consulting and the FAB Authority, Andrews is an active community member, sitting on the board of several not-for-profit organizations and donating her time to support others. She serves as a Board member and longtime volunteer for Rancho Coastal Humane Society and is a volunteer and donor for Love on a Leash pet therapy. She sits on the advisory panel of Vanguard Culture as well, as the advisory panel for the Palomar Fashion College.
A recognized and respected industry thought leader, she was a finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Awards in 2013. This is among the over 100+ recognitions, nominations and awards she has for her work.
Today we talk about how to act fast to pivot your business in a fast-changing industry, the mindset you need to succeed, and when it’s time to exit your business.
You’ll want to take out your phone and download the Podopolo app too as you listen to this episode, so you can join the conversation with me and Allison – as she shares her entrepreneurial journey and important tips you won’t want to miss.
Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Allison Andrews.
Melinda Wittstock: Alison, welcome to Wings.
Allison Andrews: Thank you for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited to talk to you. I’m a big lover of fashion. And what was it? What was the spark that led you to found Fashion Week San Diego?
Allison Andrews: Well, I had my consulting business, and I was working with a lot of retailers, primarily in the fashion space and really just love that industry. I love consumer goods. I like the exchange of services or goods and the whole interaction and the environment of a retail store. I just love all of it. I’m really into it. I’m like a goober for my industry, I guess. And I had been working as a freelance consultant for LA Fashion Week with IMG productions, which is a fantastic organization of any event. They primarily do sporting events now, but then they were the actual producer of LA Fashion Week. And I had been doing it for several years, and in 2006, 7, they kind of came out with the announcement that they were pulling out of the Los Angeles market.
And that was a huge loss on the West coast. And I was young and had guts of glory and no fear. And I was bigger than my britches, as my grandma would have said. And I took on a fill in the gap, so to speak. So I didn’t want to try to do an LA Fashion Week because it’s very saturated and it would be very competitive. And also I didn’t want to try to be something I knew that was not going to be what I could bring to the table. I needed to be a different version, a more modern, progressive version.
And I wanted it in my town, the eighth largest city in the world, San Diego. So it’s still West coast. It’s an hour from LA, and most people from LA love to take a break and come South and get out of LA. And with that hole in the industry, the buyers themselves and the industry was going to be looking for an event for fashion week. That’s one of the best parts of being a buyer is getting to attend fashion weeks, and without having one on the West coast, again, there was a huge, huge hole, and I had the guts to try to take it on and fill it.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s great. Everyone is really well aware of New York Fashion Week. And how does San Diego fashion week compare? Do you get the same designers, or different designers, or how does it work?
Allison Andrews: So New York Fashion Week was mainly comprised of the American Olympic athletes of fashion. Let’s put it that way. Your Donna Karan, your Calvin Klein, your Michael Kors, like Ralph Lauren. All are kind of legacy American designers, and their headquarters are in New York. That’s their turf, and that’s kind of the biggest fashion capital of North America. So no, it’s completely different. What we focused on, and I knew going into this, there was also a huge gap in the industry at the time. Again, this is over 10 years ago, but not everybody was e-commerce then. Not everybody had a Facebook page, and it’s hard to remember those days, but this is [crosstalk 00:03:18]. Yeah, right? It’s kind of hard, how did we ever function without Amazon? But that was the time.
And so the problem was there was all these great independent up and coming designers, and they just were having a really hard time getting buyers’ attention. It was before there was maker markets and pop up shops. This didn’t exist. Literally, it was still old school where you had to have a showroom rep you, you had to send line sheets and look books and beat down the doors of big box retailers to get your product in and try it out. And if it’s sold, then you get picked up. And it was just a different industry, totally different. And there was no launching pad or place where emerging brands, and again, that’s a designer brand that does a million in sales in under [inaudible 00:00:04:07]. So they’re very healthy businesses. I’m not talking about someone who just sews dresses on the weekend for their friends.
This is a legit business. A small business, but a legit business. And they needed a platform. So San Diego Fashion Week launched with the platform of emerging designers, showcasing emerging designers from around the world. We also launched just the first binational fashion week as a border city. So we had an equal representation of Hispanic, Mexican designers, as well as San Diego designers because of our geographic location, which brings a great creative energy to this event. And also an exclusivity and somewhat something special to our events. So when we launched, we were really progressive from the standpoint that we were the ones showing emerging brands from around the world. And we were the only binational fashion week in the world.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s very disruptive. I love it. And so-
Allison Andrews: It was super disruptive. Oh my God, people were angry. People told me I would fail, that it wouldn’t last, there was no way. People are very snobby. And we were just at the front of the wave, which was great. And now look at everything. Buyers don’t even buy on a buying schedule anymore. They see things on Instagram and end up making major orders. Big box retailers are filing bankruptcies because people aren’t going to malls or shopping. It’s just a whole different-
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, your timing is impeccable. You can have a great business with the wrong timing, but if you have a great business with the right timing, that’s magic. And you see so many industries where, I mean music, even what podcasting is to major media, and independent artists, finding ways to actually create business where they’re more in control of their end product and can profit more from their end product. So how does it work for the designers, and the independent… Maybe some labels that we haven’t heard of? What’s the deal with San Diego Fashion Week, as opposed to how that would compare to the more traditional model?
Allison Andrews: That’s a great question. So historically, designers would essentially rent space at a fashion week. So originally, a really fast lesson, designers were throwing their fashion shows in broken down warehouses, open spaces in New York and LA, really kind of half-fasty, whatever they could find to accommodate people. And it was A, very dangerous. There’s actually a case study about… It’s very well documented. You can Google it. During one of Calvin Klein’s… Or yeah, it was Calvin Klein’s runway show. The bass from the music was making ceiling panels fall on the audience’s head. It was really kind of shady in some ways. And it was also very inefficient because buyers are having to truck up and down Manhattan, which is not an easy thing. It can take you hours to go from one end to the other, even though-
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, I know. I used to live there.
Allison Andrews: You know. Yeah, exactly. It’s not easy. And blocks are not short, they’re huge. So it was very inefficient for buyers to see all the designer brands they needed to see to place their buys. So then one of my mentors and someone I look up to, Fern Mallis, she, with the CFDA and the president at the time, they decided to put a tent in Bryant Park, which is literally across the street from their office and call it fashion week and do time slots where designers would essentially buy a time slot. And it was more efficient for buyers, it was more efficient for media, it was safer, it was more controlled, a little more streamlined. Right? And then of course it became what it is, and then another company bought it, and now it’s in Lincoln Center. And you can buy with your Amex points now, tickets to go sit in the front row with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. It’s a whole different thing.
But historically, it was a closed event to only buyers and press related to fashion and or the industry to sit there and basically do business for the next season. It was a business heavy event, not so much as socially heavy event. That has since completely changed. It’s now more of a social thing than a buying thing. And with social media, literally designers are doing “immediates” now. It’s not even… You see something on Gucci’s live feed that’s supposed to be launching and you can buy at that moment instead of having to wait three months. So the industry has been totally turned around. But Fashion Week San Diego, when we came on board, we were that disruptor that not only was showcasing emerging brands, and giving them a platform where they didn’t have to front the cost and bring their whole staff. [crosstalk 00:09:09] there.
We provided the platform and all they have to pay is an interest fee, and we take care of everything. So as an emerging brand, they don’t have the extra money to throw this event. And also the reality of having media and buyers come see one emerging designer’s fashion show is very slim. That’s why showrooms are successful. But if you put them all together, and you market it, and you have that power to promote it as an event and an experience and highlight it and make it ideal for buyers and the industry and the general public, kind of like a mixed bag, it becomes just a very, very powerful accelerator in some ways. And we’ve acted as that. But we were able to basically… It’s like a plug and play for our designers. They don’t have to come up with all this operating cost to make something like that happen. They just drop into our platform, and it’s been wickedly successful for all of them.
Melinda Wittstock: So, is it competitive to be featured for designers? What kind of process do they have to go through?
Allison Andrews: Yeah, it’s a three part process of two interviews and then usually a third in-person interview, kind of meeting. There’s a huge application that usually screens out everybody pretty quick. And when I say huge, it’s not huge, but it’s intimidating if you’re not a real fashion business. Does that make sense?
Melinda Wittstock: [crosstalk 00:10:31] Right. So if you’re a total newbie-
Allison Andrews: It’s not going to work for you. But at the end of the day, it’s our reputation too. When I came out, I’m very protective of that because, again, when I launched, people looked at me like, who is this person doing something. There is no independently owned and operated fashion week. San Diego? What are you doing? Like no way. And we’re still here. We beat the recession, and we’re still going through it in COVID. So there you go. [crosstalk 00:10:58].
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. So speaking of COVID, that was kind of a question on the tip of my tongue, is how has that affected… Are you now virtual for the time being or how is that working?
Allison Andrews: Yes. So again, being an again, another disruptor in a first of many, we are the first fashion week to announce going completely virtual for the whole year. So we’ve already done two pre events with our designers that would normally be actual pre events in San Diego County. We did them online, virtual events. And we have a huge partnership with Sotheby’s in Manhattan this year, where we were going to have an event, one of our signature events we do every year is called “The Art and Beauty Behind Fashion,” where we partner a world-class work of arts, that is in gallery or on display somewhere with one of our designers. And it’s a fantastic event that blends two beautiful art mediums together, the fashion aspect and the actual medium of whatever the artist uses, whether it’s oil painting, watercolor, et cetera, photography, together for a really great evening.
Allison Andrews: We have this amazing partnership with Sotheby’s and the Art Renewal Center this year, going virtual, where our event that was going to physically happen in Manhattan, at the Sotheby’s gallery is now online, and you can find it on sothebys.com and on our website, and get to experience what that event would have been. But now from the comforts of your home, which is incredible for our designers, and actually gives them more exposure than if we would have had a one night event in Manhattan. Now, this is up forever. Those links, the SEO, more people can experience. Not everybody could fly to Manhattan to go to this event. Well, now everybody can log in and it’s free. So it’s incredible how we’ve been able to pivot in some of the hardest times and crisis mediate to find the silver lining, so to speak, and make it really beneficial to all involved.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. What’s so interesting about the coronavirus is that I think in a way, it’s accelerating trends in business that were already in development or in action, and it’s just speeding it up. Because retail was already being disrupted, and now it’s just sped that up. And obviously conferences and things were already beginning to kind of go virtual. And now that’s sped that up. And so where do you see it… Do you think this is going to be a permanent or lasting trend?
Allison Andrews: No. As far as… Well, let me back up and clarify. As far as Fashion Week San Diego goes, I do not think it will be a permanent trend because people still want to interact with their community and people. People still like to get dressed up and have an experience, or-
Melinda Wittstock: Right. I miss getting dressed up and going out. [crosstalk 00:15:16] Like I have this whole wardrobe that’s just sitting there. I’m in my yoga pants.
Allison Andrews: Hey, I’m in my gardening outfit and a hat and haven’t washed my hair in [crosstalk 00:15:24]. I’m with you girl, I get it. Why? Who cares? But that’s the thing. That makes us feel good. There’s a social aspect of it. It’s kind of fun to be in and out, and out and about, and all those fun things, and it’s glamorous. So I think as soon as we can hold public events in a safe, responsible way, we a hundred percent will go back to having actual physical events. But the caveat to that is, I do think now we will always have a virtual component, especially because we’ve had this international exposure, which we’ve always kind of had by having designers from other countries. We’ve kind of had our fingertips out there and getting international press and what have you. But now with that Sotheby’s partnership this year and their international presence, which is huge exposure for our brand and for our designers, but then making all our events virtual, we’ve now captured a huge population that maybe never would have had access to us, right? Because of being geographic specific.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, you can scale. I mean, it adds a scalability to your business that you might not have had before.
Allison Andrews: Absolutely. So with that, I think we will always now have some virtual components, but that is not our core business. But again, I’m saying that in the [inaudible 00:16:46] of us, let’s see what happens in the end of the year, when we look back and say: Hey, maybe this is what we need to keep doing. I don’t know. But as of right now, I feel like once people can have safe events, and people are going to be hungry to have events and go to events, and we’re ready to throw it for sure.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. So are there any designers that came to San Diego Fashion Week without really being known that became known as a result?
Allison Andrews: Yeah, the first one that always comes to my mind, just because I love her as a human being, but I just really appreciate her story because it’s like that dream story. You really couldn’t get a better situation. The line is called YUWEI, and it’s Y, U, W, E, I. And she was in the financial industry, and it crashed in the recession. And she went to Bali, kind of had an eat, pray, love experience of her own, and started designing jewelry. And it was beautiful. It was phenomenal. It was stuff she wanted that she couldn’t find. The mother of all invention. [crosstalk 00:17:53] It’s a great story. But anyways, it was beautiful, and people loved it. And so she started having people over to her house and selling it directly, and people would see it on her and she’d make some more.
And then she was like, I’m going to do this. And she came to me, for me to be a consultant to help her build this business out, because that was not her background. Very wise with financing and pricing, but everything else she had never really experienced. And I said, look, you would do so much better launching with the platform, Fashion Week San Diego, than consulting. And it will save you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars by just plugging into this platform and getting that exposure and going through it. And lo and behold, a month after she launched on the Fashion Week San Diego runway, she was in Vogue. And continued to be represented by showrooms, her brand got picked up by Bloomingdale’s. Phenomenal. It’s a brand, it’s out there. And that’s what she does, and it’s beautiful. And she just keeps redefining her collection and it gets better with every one she puts out. And I love that story because it’s just so beautiful.
Another example is we had a designer who is very larger than life. When you think fashion designer, male fashion designer, like the stereotypical make a movie character larger than life. That was this designer. And he’s still that way. And I love his personality because he really is larger than life, Andre Soriano. And I recommended him to, after being a designer and one of our top designers for many years at Fashion Week San Diego, I recommended him to be on “Styled to Rock.” It was a spinoff of kind of “Project Runway” or “Making the Cut.” Same platform, but this one was produced and hosted by Rihanna, the musician, singer. And it was huge in Europe. And it came over here for a couple of seasons and it just didn’t, whatever.
Anyways, he was on it. And from there, he had celebrities wearing his pieces. And then from there, he went on to make even outfits for the first lady. And he has blown up with elite clientele that flies him all around North America to make gala dresses and specialty dresses for very high profile, high functions, really elite circles. And he’s made quite a name and quite a business for himself. And again, it was from launching and going through Fashion Week San Diego and getting that exposure on that level. And I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled for all these people. And I have so many more of these stories, but those two are kind of fun because they’re kind of like the dream story. And then most of them, it’s classic hard work, what you put in, you get out. They put it in, they did their time, they do their dues, and every day they slay and hustle to get to where they are, but they’re living their dream.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s wonderful. So what have been some of the big lessons that you’ve learned along the way? What have been the challenges? And I always believe challenges are lessons, by the way. So what have been the challenges and setbacks, and what have you learned?
Allison Andrews: Well, first of all, amen to that. I love my lessons and I think without our challenges, we don’t have any lessons and therefore we don’t grow. So I am all about that with you. Amen to that one. For me, I feel like when people say you can’t do something or you shouldn’t do something, that’s when you should do it.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. I’m the same way. I think we’re sisters. It’s like a red flag to a bull for me. It’s like, you can’t do that. Oh yeah, right. Watch me.
Allison Andrews: Watch me. Yeah. And honestly, I think part of the reason why Fashion Week San Diego has had its successes is first of all, the team of people who are equally as passionate as me. I have to give it up to them immediately because this event couldn’t happen just because I had the idea at all. It had to happen because other people gravitated and took on the idea as their idea and owned it and took on that authority of themselves. And I am deeply thankful and always inspired by them. It keeps me actually engaged and motivated. But at the end of the day, the biggest lesson I really do feel is when people put limits on you, I feel like instead of listening to that and taking this to heart, that’s when you need to take it as fire and use it to not only challenge yourself to push harder, but challenge the norms, challenge the boundaries that people are there because of their own fears. Those aren’t yours. And break through it.
And also be the first. No one wants to reinvent the wheel, put your own spin on it. Especially for those young hungry entrepreneurs. If we didn’t have people creating and developing and coming up with new products or technologies or systems, how boring. We’d all be stuck in the stone age, literally. So I say, when you start getting some of that pushback of people’s own fears, you’re on the right path.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. And growth always happens when you’re out of your own comfort zone too. A hundred percent. So what advice do you give to other designers or whatever coming up, folks who want to be in San Diego Fashion Week, what’s the advice that you give to them? And bringing in your entrepreneurial brain to this too, the business advice.
Allison Andrews: The landscape, if we’re primarily just going to focus on fashion and designing, whatever it may be. Jewelry, shoes, bags, fashion, whatever. If we’re going to focus on that, the landscape is ever changing, and it is changing really fast. Like you said, this COVID has been definitely, I agree. It is accelerating. It is a catalyst for change and people are consuming at a high rate. And when I say a high rate, the seed, the turnaround, literally if you can’t get it within three days, people will not buy from you. They will find something they can get that afternoon that will be delivered, or the next day, or in two days. So it’s a different landscape, but if you can launch right now and be able to work at that level and at that customer service response time and find a product that can fill a niche, oh my gosh.
If you can get through it right now, you’ll be untouchable. You’ll be one of the top brands that is on top when we come out of this. And that’s the best thing I love about this. Instead of feeling defeated right now, or feeling like this isn’t the time. This is the time. It’s actually the opposite. If you can… And also if you’re a small brand, and you have immediates, which most small designers have. And the term immediates means stock on hand essentially, are able to produce something right now. You don’t have to wait for it to go to a manufacturer and be sent to you, or what have you. If you can do immediates, this is your time to shine because retailers and online places are dying for merchandise because shipments are in quarantine and you can’t get goods as quickly as you could. And fabric stores are closed, and manufacturing mills are closed. So if you are kind of like a one person shop that can spit out goods, this is the time for you. Really. It really is.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. That’s interesting. Entrepreneurs, and in fact, let’s just say billionaires are created in times of crisis because they spot the opportunity or a challenge in the market and come up with a solution. So it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur.
Allison Andrews: I agree. I 100% agree, especially now that lending rates are low and credit forgiveness, you kind of need that help financially if you get [crosstalk 00:25:49].
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely, there’s so many opportunities. So Allison, what’s your big vision? Where do you see yourself? Five years? 20 years? Do you have the big vision of where you ultimately want to be with all of this?
Allison Andrews: Yeah, I was very blessed that one of my big vision was to not be the director. I’m always going to be the founder ,and it’s always going to be one of my babies that I gave birth to, but I did not want to be the director anymore just because I felt like… I knew I had given it and put in my time and got it to where it is, but I feel like it can grow into something even bigger than where I took it. And I am smart enough to know that you need someone with different eyes, different background, and a different drive to sometimes get things where it goes. We all have that-
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, this is so true because most founders are not necessarily the people who are running the public company or going through the big growth stage. Actually, one of the best people on this is Brian Smith of Ugg, who he knew when he had to sell. And he knew and was honest about what his own skill set was as the original evangelist. But when it came to creating millions of different styles of Uggs and massive worldwide distribution, all that, he needed someone with a different skill, and knew when to sell.
Allison Andrews: Totally. As a consultant, one of my sayings I tell everybody, and one of the things I try to do is take my own advice, which usually we’re all really terrible at. We can solve everybody else’s problems and the world’s problems, but we can’t solve any of ours. I’m actually trying to [inaudible 00:27:27] taking my own advice. So one of the things I’ve been saying for over 15 years to my clients is you’re either closing or you’re selling. And it’s so true. When you start a business, no one starts it to close, right? That’s a failure. And even though it’s not a failure, we all take it personal because business is personal. And that’s the first lesson. Business is personal, and stop saying it’s not because it 100% is personal if you’re an entrepreneur. You’re either selling or you’re closing. Selling is, the company continues to go on without you. That is the goal.
Whether your kid takes it on, your partner takes it on, you get bought out, whatever. It keeps going. You can say you had that full success. You built something that somebody else saw value in and bought you out. Amen, right? That is the goal, not closing. So I really practice that. And I also agree that I knew it was my time. I’d done, over 10, 12 years, and gotten it where it is. And I’m really freaking proud of that, but I know it can do more. I believe it in my core. And I felt like new energy, new blood, new direction needed to come in to do it. And I’m so elated that that was able to happen pre-COVID. We brought in a new director. I feel so bad, right? Hi, new director, here. This is your crisis. You get to have your first year have fun.
But I keep telling her, I launched during the recession and look where we are and she’s taking it on now. And I’m right there by her side. And that was my first large goal, was to have that box get checked, and that box got checked and I am so excited for Gwen Bates as the new director of Fashion Week San Diego. She is incredible. I look up to her. I am thrilled for her visions, everything she’s brought to the table, where she wants to take it in the next five, 10 years is incredible. And I got her back. I’m there, I’m her full… I call her boss. Whatever she wants, I got it. What do you need boss? I got you. I’m in her corner, and I think she’s going to do great things for the brand and for our designers and by our designers. I think she’s going to really take it to another level that I’m really excited to watch happen.
Melinda Wittstock: So you have such great energy and obviously a born entrepreneur. Were you always sort of, like were you the kid with the lemonade stand and all of that?
Allison Andrews: I was, but it wasn’t a lemonade stand. I love telling people because I get asked that quite [inaudible 00:29:50] lemonade stand. I didn’t do the lemonade stand. I did painted rocks, which is even [crosstalk 00:29:56]. It’s literally trying to sell ice to Eskimos. Who wants painted kid rocks? Like what? But I did it. I sold painted rocks. That was kind of my jam. Yeah, I did that. I also, anything I could do, any type of consumer exchange of goods, I was in it. Yeah, that was my jam for sure-
Melinda Wittstock: Are your parents entrepreneurial? Where did this come from in you?
Allison Andrews: You know what, to be quite candid with you, and this is a little raw and a little personal, but I think a lot of people relate to this. If you come from a family where there was any type of addiction or alcohol… I come from an alcoholic family-
Melinda Wittstock: Oh God, me too. There are so many entrepreneurs who do, that’s an interesting pattern.
Allison Andrews: It’s not that interesting. We had to be really driven because we had to either keep ourselves busy or distracted. And usually it goes two ways: kids of that situation either become very isolated and beat down, but the majority actually become overachievers, perfectionists, type A personalities, very control leaders, all those type of characteristics that actually do really well for an entrepreneur. That usually comes from children of those situations. And I’m definitely a product of it, for sure.
Melinda Wittstock: So interesting because you either figure out how to become a self-starter and how to take responsibility for your own thing, or you get swept up in it and destroyed, but there’s a choice and there’s a… It’s interesting why some children before they even have a frontal lobe make that decision when others don’t.
Allison Andrews: I got lucky. I don’t have the addiction gene, that I know of at this point. Maybe to work, I don’t know. [crosstalk 00:31:53].
Melinda Wittstock: It shows.
Allison Andrews: I’ve gotten away with that part.
Melinda Wittstock: Entrepreneurial addiction because there’s the highs and the lows of the entrepreneurial journey, for sure.
Allison Andrews: Very true. But I’m fortunate that I’m, like you said, that self-starter. And also in my situation, I wasn’t in a situation… My parents didn’t go to college either, so as much as I wanted to go to college, I didn’t have that support system to get me into test prep or help me fill out college applications or take me… Really make that… That was not a serious thing. It was like, if you go, you go, if you don’t, you don’t, whatever. And so for me, I knew where I wanted to be. And I knew that that route of going to like, let’s say an Ivy League school, getting the dream job, getting the status, that was not going to be the path I was going to be able to do.
But I knew I wanted to be a top dog in my career. I knew I wanted to have a very fulfilling, good status, enjoyable job. And I literally had to create it. I did, side note, go back and get my degrees for myself. I’ve never ever been asked what my degree is as an entrepreneur or even if I had a degree, but I did it for myself. So I am the first one out of my parents to get a college degree. And I did that for myself, which is awesome. But yeah, it’s amazing what you can do. And I think it’s all mental state. I think you can either be a victim or you can find it, like you said, those things become our challenges, become our lessons. And if everything didn’t happen for a reason, I don’t know if I’d be here today, to be honest.
So I’m very appreciative of my childhood. I’m appreciative of what my parents taught me and showed me, even if I didn’t like it, or I disagree with it as an adult now, those lessons, even what you don’t like, are sometimes the most powerful. I mean, that’s why we date, let’s break it down like that. That’s why we date, we date to figure out what we like and don’t like, right? And then once we find what we like, we pick it hopefully, and it works. That’s basically how I look at my childhood. I experienced things I didn’t like. And now I hope it makes me a better parent. I think it does, for sure, to my kids. So I’m very thankful for my experiences.
Melinda Wittstock: So what is the big game changer for you in your business? For anyone listening here? How can they find you, work with you, and support you best?
Allison Andrews: Oh, that’s really kind. I love support. I think the biggest thing people can do right now is pivot with us. So yeah, you don’t get to get dressed up. Yeah, you don’t get to walk down the red carpet. I get it. It sucks. It sucks for us too. But if you could still purchase your ticket to come to our virtual runway shows in October, that would be huge because not only are you supporting the community out as a whole, you’re literally still being a micro investor in these designers. You’re showing up for them. You’re investing in them. They’re putting together these never seen before collections. They’re still putting it on. They’re still putting their business out there and there needs to be that support, even if it’s virtual.
So buying a ticket, they’re only 40 bucks to the runway shows in October. We’ve never had tickets that low ever in our history. It’s a virtual ticket. You can have a cocktail or a mocktail and sit at home in your PJ’s or your cocktail dress or whatever, tuxedo, whatever you want to wear and join us. And it’ll be really cool because it’s also going to give people a front row pass and a behind the scenes pass, which normally you never even get to see that if you did attend the show. So it’s going to be neat.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, Allison, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Allison Andrews: Thanks for letting me fly with you. It was great.
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