FIT’s First Entrepreneurship Summit

Closeup of Victor Glemaud in a blue sweater speaking into a microphone
Designer Victor Glemaud keynoted at the Entrepreneurship Summit. Photos by Lorenzo Ciniglio.

FIT’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies and the FIT Foundation held the first Entrepreneurship Summit in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre on March 21, helping guide a predominantly alumni audience through current challenges of starting a business. Topics included navigating Web3 technologies, negotiating startup funding, and brand building.

In a keynote conversation, Victor Glemaud, Fashion Buying and Merchandising ’98, traced his career journey from FIT student to acclaimed designer of women’s wear, eyewear, and home textiles. He emphasized the importance and challenge of making money in fashion. “As much as fashion is about art, it’s also about commerce,” he explained. Starting out, Glemaud limited his collection to four styles of sweaters and took his time selecting the right factory so that his margins would be sustainable.
Three panelists in chairs
Panelists Patti Carpenter ’76, principal of Carpenter + Company; Dalia Strum, founder of RethinkConnect; and Ashley Cole ’04, founder of Cecelia New York.

Glemaud offered plenty of advice to entrepreneurs. First, find a good lawyer and accountant. Second, have patience. Third, “Don’t spend all your money.” Lastly, he recommended getting to know business contacts over drinks. “You see what people are all about after six.”

Next, alumni Christopher Bevans, Ashley Cole, and Patti Carpenter spoke with marketer and faculty member Dalia Strum about blending their design and business skills to launch successful companies. All three advised the audience to proceed carefully when placing orders with department stores.

“Getting into the big department stores may not be the best thing for you,” said Carpenter. “Department stores can put you out of business in no time flat.”

Four panelists in chairs
The Web3 panelists were Michael Ferraro, executive director of FIT’s DTech Lab; Claire Tattersall, director of Digital Fashion Week NY and London; Michael Keany, chief transformation officer at West Monroe; and Josh Ong, cofounder of Bored Room Ventures.

They also agreed on the importance of accepting failure and finding a way to pivot.

“It’s easy to get discouraged when you see these overnight successes,” Cole said, “but a lot of times they had launched something previously that did not go as planned. Entrepreneurship is constantly learning and bettering yourself.”

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