The founder of an event designed to showcase emerging Australian fashion designers reveals what makes him tick and why he looks up to a former Microsoft director.
- Industry: Fashion
- Number of employees: 3
- Operating since: 2006
What was your first paid job?
Thanks to my cultural upbringing and a family in fashion design, I have always had an affinity for styles, patterns and colour. So, when I migrated to Australia in 1992 it was only natural that my first paid job was in a fashion retail store.
What made you get into your current business?
With a career in fashion retail under my belt, I went on to study business management, marketing and events management at TAFE. It was during this time I noticed a lack of opportunities for young fashion designers and decided to bridge the gap; creating Face Fashion.
How did you get your very first customer/client?
Our very first Face Fashion event was held at the Shangri-La hotel in Sydney. I used my contacts from the industry and reached out to all of the designers and models I knew personally. Using my network, I managed to put together one of my favourite shows to date.
More than a decade on, Face Fashion has steadily become an annual meeting place for up-and-coming designers, buyers, models, brands and industry leaders who all benefit from our unique event.
What has been your biggest triumph in business?
Every year, it’s incredible to see my emerging designers build relationships within the industry, and with experts who can support them through the next stages of their careers.
We’ve had designers at Face Fashion who have gone on to feature at events such as London Fashion Week and other major fashion events around the globe; that’s really special to see.
Conversely, what has been your biggest mistake?
Thankfully I can’t say I’ve made any big mistakes, but in hindsight you always think you would have adjusted some minor things. At the end of the day, you have to focus on the now and the path ahead, always improving on every element of your business.
What is the best thing about owning your own business?
I love meeting and dealing with everyone who helps to bring Face Fashion to life each year; it’s great working so closely with like-minded, passionate people.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
To always strive to love what you do, and to do what you’re passionate about.
Who do you look up to in business and why?
On a global level, I’ve always admired Richard Branson and Tony Robbins; for what they have achieved and also for the positivity, inspiration and encouragement they provide to so many people.
On an Australian level, I’ve always looked up to David McLean, former Microsoft Australia regional director, Microsoft HED, Australia and New Zealand and now CEO of his own company, Hubbed. He has a wonderful outlook on business, has achieved so much in his time already and manages to also be a great family man.
What do you do to get away from work?
I love to travel when I can, even if it’s just a weekend away locally. Fitness plays a big part of my lifestyle, and of course spending time with my family.
Name a little-known fact about yourself.
I was born and raised in West Africa. I moved to Australia when I was eight years old.
What is the funniest thing you have come across in business?
It would have to be the many flamboyant and vibrant characters and personalities I have come across in the fashion industry. I get to meet so many amazing people, and some people will always make me laugh when they cross my mind.
If you could change one thing to make life easier as a business owner, what would it be and why?
Having the Australian government provide support and backing for Face Fashion would be a dream. We are doing everything we can to provide a platform for emerging Australian designers, as they are the future of our fashion industry.
Having their support would assist us greatly, so we can help more local talent, and to lift this platform to a higher, louder level.
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