Regardless of what industry you are in – fashion, law, technology, consumer goods or services – sometimes we need a little help from our friends.

And that is a hard thing to admit because we all tend to think that if we just work hard enough, and persist through obstacles, we can achieve our goals.  But, if you sit down and really think about it, we each have people in our lives that support us along our journeys, whether you consciously connect those dots or not.

And to truly succeed, I think you need three different types of people to help you along your way: a Mentor, an Advocate and a Sponsor.  Let me explain the difference:

  • A Mentor is someone who gives you advice and input.  She is someone you can turn to for assistance when you are at a cross-roads or just need to talk through challenges and obstacles.
  • An Advocate is some who vocally supports you or your product.  She is always looking for opportunities to talk you up, and get others excited about you or your product.
  • A Sponsor is someone who vouches for you, usually monetarily or reputationally.   Your sponsor is someone who puts their name on the line as a guarantee so to speak, to help convince others to take a chance on you or that you deserve a certain opportunity.

Now, it is possible that you might have all of the above roles fulfilled by a single person or by two people.  But, it is rare that a single person can excel at all three for you at the same time.   And it is better to have more than one person on your personal team, or “executive board” because diversification not only gives you a better chance at success, but gives you a deeper reach.

So, do you have MAS in your life?  If not, why not?  What you do to cultivate and develop your support team is just as important as the quality of product or service you provide, and in my experience, will determine the extent of your success.

xo

Staci

 

 

 

 

 

As a working mom of two, I understand it can be hard to find time to pee, let alone do things for your self.  As Randi Zuckerberg aptly said, to be a successful entrepreneur you can only have three of the following five things at any given time:

  • Friends
  • Work
  • Family
  • Fit; or
  • Sleep.

While I think Randi is generally right in that you have to prioritize and figure out how to make #theJuggle work for you, I am not so attached to the idea of work-life balance.  For me, you have to ask yourself:

What is the most important thing to focus on right now

And then you need to focus on that thing and not worry about the rest. There really is no such thing as “balance” because work is part of life. Trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist or is an impossible ideal is just a recipe for unfulfilled expectations.  Better to channel your inner Elsa, and let that all go.

Instead, I challenge you to consider your life a blend of all the things that are important to you: sometimes its work, sometimes its walking your dog, and sometimes its watching your kiddos swim meet.

How would your life change if you stepped away from the proverbial scales?  Would you feel less pressure? Have more time for you? Get more things done that you want to do?

Can’t wait to hear about it.

xo

Staci

I have been thinking a lot lately on the future of retail.

We have seen more and more consumers buying from their phone or tablet.  People are getting comfortable buying clothing online.  We are even starting to like those crazy sponsored posts that follow us around the internet, urging us to buy something you didn’t know you wanted (its ok, you can admit it.  This is a safe space – my last such purchase was Hu Chocolate and I LOVED it, but I digress).

From my manufacturing days, I also know that retailers buy products based on it having the right fit, the right material, the right price and being able to be in the right spot at the right time, compared to basing their decisions on aesthetics (ie what something looks like).

Lastly, I watch my tweens dying for things from their favorite Instagram star.  These sales usually follow a forced scarcity model – limited quantities for a very limited time.  You have to be a follower “in the know,” to even hope to pay full price for their merchandise.

So how do these observations predict the future of retail?

I believe that the next gen of successful companies, or existing companies that want to continue to enjoy success, will be those that use technology and data analytics to offer products that they “know” that their target customers like.  And if they can get the quantities and offering right, they can enjoy full margins while doing so.

Sound crazy?  Impossible? Not so much.

There are successful companies that already  employ technology that can predict what you want.  Beyond the sponsored posts mentioned above, Spotify uses its smart algorithms to predict what music you like based certain characteristics of songs you previously liked.  Rent the Runway is another great example.  It uses its customers’ rental history, fit preferences and feedback to help it decide not only what to recommend to you, but what it should manufacture for its house brand, Slate and Willow.

Will a traditional retailer utilize technology in-store? That’s the million dollar question.

After watching retailer after retailer close in 2018, I am hoping to see a brick and mortar native start utilizing and benefiting from similar techniques.  How cool would it be for a store to offer you something it knows you want when you walk in?  Well, I think it would be cool.  It would certainly save time and make shopping in a retail store much more enjoyable for someone doing #theJuggle like me.

So what do you think?  Creepy?  Cool?  Have we saved retail?

I would love to hear what you think about my predictions.  I’ll just wait here, eating my paleo, vegan chocolate until you get back to me.  😉

xo

Staci

In case you were unaware, the City of Los Angeles is considering a ban on the manufacture and sale of fur products in the City of Los Angeles.

While fur bans are not new, West Hollywood and San Francisco have had them for some time for example, the proposed ban in LA covers not only the sale of fur products, but the manufacture of fur products.  That could have a grave impact on LA’s garment workers, who are already losing work to those in Vernon or the City of Industry given LA’s rising minimum wage.

The proposed ordinance passed the City Council today.  But, since it was not a unanimous vote, it will be have a procedural, second vote on February 19, 2019.   After that, it is likely to be signed by Mayor Garcetti and it has a proposed effective date of January 2021.

I will update you again once we know more.

xo

Staci

Pretty much every business has a website these days – whether you sell goods or services, or merely provide information about goods and services.  If your company is in this group, this post is for you.

The Issue

Recently, claims that websites are not accessible to disabled users have skyrocketed, and my guess is they will only continue to increase.  The problem is that there are no federal guidelines governing the accessibility of websites under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  And, not all courts even agree that the ADA applies to websites.   So, the plaintiff’s bar is exploiting that rocky landscape to assert claims and demand settlements because they know settling for nuisance value is much cheaper than fighting it out.

Possible Solutions?

Now that you are aware of the issue, you are probably asking yourself:

“Staci, what can I do so my brand is not a target?  There must be someway to help with this problem.”

And you would be right.   While there is no guaranteed solution given the lack of guidance from the government on this issue, we have developed best practices, so that your website can be accessible and inclusive to all of your customers, fans and followers, as follows:

  1. Have an easy to find section on your website that addresses accessibility and make sure it provides a way for a user of your site to report problems. I prefer this to be a stand alone link on your websites footer, but I have also seen companies put it in their FAQs or similar places;
  2. Provide accessible alternatives, such as a staffed customer service line, or preferably an on-line chat function to protect the privacy of your users for assistance in accessing the information, goods and services found on your website;
  3. Designate someone within your organization to be your accessibility coordinator;
  4. Add an accessibility policy to your IT manual, showing that you have a plan to address the issue and are auditing your site for errors regularly;
  5. Review your main pages (such as your landing page, shopping cart etc.) and make sure they are compliant with the Level AA standards of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG-2”), published by the World Wide Web Consortium; and
  6. Make sure newly launched pages are compliant with WCAG-2.

And just so you know, even if your current site was created under WCAG-2, error codes are still extremely common given the fluid nature of the web, differing operating systems and browers, and the heavy use of images and video by fashion brands.

Ready to start?  There are a bunch of free “website checkers” like the one found here.

Hopefully this will help you stay off the radar, avoid spending money on litigation and allow you to focus on building your brand.

xo

Staci

 

Hi everyone!

So how is your year going so far?  So many fashion brands have shared that it has been a “weird’ start to 2019 – be it the government shut down, the LAUSD teacher strike, or heavy rain or snow.

I aw writing to give you a little pick me up or a pep talk, so to speak.

There will always be challenges in reaching your goals.  You can choose to let them set you back or knock you off-course, or you can persevere.   Sometimes obstacles make us work harder, but they often teach us to work smarter so that our product and services become better.

Remember, we all get knocked down.  Push-back is part of creating something new.

The important thing, the thing that defines who you are as a person and as a brand, however, is what do you do next?  How do you pull yourself up?  What is your reaction? How do you conquer the obstacle?

I know you can do it!  Make January your month to focus on your #BounceBack.  Trust me, you are worth it!

xo

Staci

 

 

Hi everyone!

As most of you know, in addition to running the Fashion Law Practice group at Nixon Peabody, I lead the Fashion Law Clinic every spring for Loyola Law School’s Fashion Law Project.

The Fashion Law Clinic (“FLC”) is currently accepting new clients.  The students members of the FLC offer free legal services to emerging fashion companies as well as people working in a creative pursuit or in the entertainment industry.

The only requirements are:

  • the clients be need- based or otherwise deserving;
  • the work can be handled between now and the end of April (because the law students are enrolled on a semester basis);
  • the companies/people be LA-based (OC is fine too); and
  • the companies/people be responsive (which is hard sometimes for creative types dealing with legal stuff).

The FLC can handle a wide variety of tasks, from corporate formation, trademark and other IP protection, social media, contracts, data privacy, labeling, website terms and conditions, etc.

If you or anyone you know would be a good fit, please contact me at sriordan@lls.edu.  Feel free to share this post.

xoxo

Staci

Hello Fashion Law Friends!

It has been a minute, right? Thank you for being patient with me as I did #theJuggle.  In case you were wondering what I have been doing since we last chatted, here are a few things I have been up to:

  • I have fully transitioned my practice to Nixon Peabody;
  • Continued to lead the Fashion Law Project at Loyola Law School, including its Spring Semester Fashion Law Clinic;
  • Spoke at multiple conferences and on more panels than I can count (thank you for the continued invitations!)
  • Spent a gazillion hours with my kids, including robotics for my fornite-loving son and as a #DanceMom to my daughter; and
  • On a personal level, completely remodeling my entire house!

(whew!)

But, enough about me.  I can’t wait to hear how your companies are doing, about what challenges you are dealing and what your goals are for 2019.

I hope you had a great new year and I look forward to connecting soon!

xoxo

Staci

First take a deep breath.  I know the business of fashion is hard and accomplishing anything work during the holidays is super challenging.

Now, say this with me: We’re all right where we should be. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have achieved your full potential, can’t rise higher or are even stuck. Bruno Mars, along with Eminem uses “Lighters” to explain that life is a journey.

It can be hard, especially in the cut-throat business of fashion.  There will be negativity, haters, envious people and even well meaning people who just don’t get it who would rather tell you no than help you figure out how to get to yes.

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