June 14, 2017
Name: Bella Ivory-Schekles
Title: CEO, Ivory Clothing Co.
What led you to start Ivory Couture Clothing Co? We officially launched during New York Fashion Week on September 11, 2015. Before then, in 2007, I launched NRIStyles, a wardrobe styling and fashion consultant agency that was based in Atlanta, GA. NRIStyes did fairly well and afforded me many opportunities to style upcoming artist for music videos, editorials, and concerts. After returning to and graduating from FIDM with a Professional Designation degree in Fashion Design, I quickly begin working in the field as a fashion designer but continued to design formal gowns as a freelance designer.
During the Spring of 2015, I was included in a mass email via LinkedIn from AMCOYNC. AMCONYC is a production company located in New York that produces runway shows for emerging designer during New York Fashion Week. The email invited emerging designers to apply for and the possibility of being chosen to show at NYFW with its production company. I pondered over the invite for a few day, then by the end of the week decided to apply. Much to my surprise I was one of the designers chosen as one to present and as a result I launched my very first small collection and during New York Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2016.
Honestly, I have had the desire to launch my own brand since I was 10 years old but because of the unforeseen opportunity to show at NYFW, I became much more confident in my creative talents. Officially launching my brand on one of the fashion industry's most prolific events opened wonderful doors for my brand along with setting the stage for me to obtain my life long dream of owning my very own fashion company.
What is a typical day like for you? It begins with going into my studio, checking emails, and studying analytical data from my website. I believe that in order to understand my target customer and expand that base, it is critical that I pay great attention to the business side of my fashion company. From there, I process and update online orders, respond to customer emails, and take account of inventory. Moving on from doing administrative duties, the rest of my day revolves around completing the development stage of Ivory Couture Premium Denim.
Depending upon the day and where I am in the development process of completing my premium denim collection, I may have to visit the factory, wash house or dye houses, which means I will be in my car for hours driving from one meeting to the next. Or I may be in my studio typing call outs from a fitting to send to the pattern maker, generating tech packs and line sheets or putting together a inspiration boards for upcoming photo shoots. The great thing about being a business owner is a guarantee that I will not have any mundain or monotonous days.
What do you love most about running your own business? It's hard for me to say what I love most only because I truly love every aspect of my career. I have been very blessed to have had the experiences that have been afforded to me. I decided to return to complete my degree at FIDM as a thirtysomething year-old woman and it was very intimidating. Our industry tends to worship youthfulness, but after working in corporate America for many years and being absolutely miserable, the building desire to follow my heart prompted me to complete my degree and begin a career as a fashion designer. I can't say that my career change hasn't been met with some challenges along the way, but being a creative spirit and having the opportunity everyday to do what I love feels my heart with great joy everyday.
How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? The educational experience and continual friendships that I have obtained as a FIDM Alumni are the greatest factors that has prepared me for my busy career. My instructors expected nothing less than the highest standards of accountability from each student and I must say that their expectations of nothing but excellence is probably the most important attribute that I have cultivated as a results of attending the prestigious college. Every student that I had classes with and alumni I have encountered are very talented and competent professionals, but what I have carried with me since graduating is growth through learning everyday, being diligent, ownership of tenacity, and being accountable.
Of course the grading, CAD, and pattern making skills are all undeniably magnanimous and significant to becoming a notable fashion professional, but the expertise and first hand knowledge that every instructor conveyed to me where special nuggets that has carried me along way as a fashion designer.
Categories: Fashion Design, Alumni