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How They Did It: From $200 Cash to Juicy Couture

Jul 4 2014, 1:27am CDT | by

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How They Did It: From $200 Cash to Juicy Couture
 
 

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How They Did It: From $200 Cash to Juicy Couture

While you may know Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor as the founders of Juicy Couture, the talented best friends had collaborated together long before creating the now iconic brand — and have gone on to collaborate many times since.

More recently, they are back with the launch of Pam & Gela, a luxe line that reflects their LA lifestyle and is due out this spring. They are also publishing their new book The Glitter Plan, out starting May 29th.

I spoke with Pam and Gela, in order to learn more about their inspiring journey towards launching Juicy Couture as well as their many amazing adventures since.

Tiffany Pham: What inspired you to launch your own company Travis Jeans, later renamed to the wildly successful Juicy Couture?

Pam Skaist-Levy & Gela Nash-Taylor: Both of us were had this huge desire to control our own destiny and create product that we were OBSESSED with.

Pham: What was your plan of action once you decided to launch your own company?

Skaist-Levy & Nash-Taylor: Our plan always started with the product. With Juicy Couture, we set out to design amazing basics in 24 gorgeous colors.  Now, we’re sticking to the same plan of action with our new Cali-cool brand, “Pam & Gela.” Just as we did with Juicy Couture, we are creating clothes we are dying to wear everyday, and producing as much as we possibly can in America.

Pham: What were some of the tactics you used to grow Juicy Couture’s brand and passionate following, leading your products to be worn by Madonna and other celebrities from the get-go and then sold in luxury stores throughout the US?

Skaist-Levy & Nash-Taylor: Our tactics were simple- make clothes that people want to wear every single day. We’ve never paid celebs or girls to wear our clothes! Janey Lopaty, our genius celebrity lead, was instrumental in building our following with Juicy Couture, and we are still working with her today to employ the same tactics with our new line Pam & Gela. She sends curated looks to celebs and “it” girls, and if they wear the product, great! Thankfully, we had such a strong celebrity following with Juicy Couture, and are already seeing the same success with Pam & Gela.

Pham: What were some of the personal and professional challenges you faced, transitioning to fashion entrepreneurs?

Skaist-Levy & Nash-Taylor: Both of us got the same advice when we were starting out as young mogulettes. Our role as Fashion Entrepreneurs, or for entrepreneurs in any other [industry], is to solve problems. There were too many personal and professional challenges to even count, but we tackled all of those challenges together — whether it was a design challenge or an HR challenge, we would approach a solution in the same way: weighing the pros and cons and making thoughtful but quick decisions. We were, and still are, involved in every aspect of running our business and have an open door policy with our team. For us, when we no longer made decisions at Juicy Couture and it was no longer an open door policy with our team, it was time to move on and pursue our new dreams and goals.

Pham: How did your roles evolve at Juicy Couture over time? Were there particularly aspects you particularly enjoyed as the business continued to scale?

Skaist-Levy & Nash-Taylor: When we first sold the business, Paul Charron and Angela Ahrendts helped us succeed in a major way. They allowed us to soar and build the brand to over $600 million. Together we opened stores, created two number #1 fragrances, a handbag and gifting collection that was known around the world. Things changed after Paul and Angela left Liz Claiborne, and our roles changed drastically. The new CEO didn’t have the same vision for the business and when our contracts were up, we left the company. We really love building brands, and we obsess over product. Now, we are absolutely loving building our new baby, Pam & Gela.

Pham: Do you have any advice for other creatives aspiring to start their own fashion labels?

Skaist-Levy & Nash-Taylor: Start with amazing product, and listen to your gut!

Tiffany Pham is the Founder & CEO of MOGUL Inc. (www.onmogul.com), a worldwide platform connecting women to top trending content.

 

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