“It never rains in southern California!” That’s what Tony, Toni, Tone, sang and that’s where April L. Rai grew up, San Diego, California. She spent many days at the beach and harbor becoming inspired by nature and enriched by her surroundings. With a professional seamstress on both sides of her family, it isn’t surprising she decided to make fashion her profession. She attended college at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in Los Angeles and graduated in 2003 with an Associate Degree in Fashion Design. We interviewed April for this edition of women entrepreneurs and here are her responses on life and her business, Good Girlz LLC.
Please list a quote or motto you live by and state why.
“Don’t talk about it…BE about it.” A true entrepreneur has to be self motivated. Taking the initiative in business is essential. This is true in every facet. From networking to marketing, calculated actions are what separate the winners from the loosers.
Describe your business. List location, phone number, website.
Good Girlz is a clothing line that celebrates women. Through apparel we strive to instill self confidence by providing affordable, comfortable, on-trend designs for women of all shapes and sizes. We provide wholesale clothing to independent boutiques and big box retailers nationwide.
What motivated you to open your own business?
Growing up I always had a hard time finding affordable, fashion forward apparel in my size. So I started making clothes for myself that fit great and looked great! It wasn’t long before people started asking “where did you find that?”
Did you have any initial fears or concerns that you had to overcome when opening your business?
I worried I would have a difficult time reaching my target customer with a limited marketing budget. But with grassroots efforts and a concentration on networking, I was able to get the word out!
How did you develop your concept?
I looked at what was missing in the industry for plus size women. I even conducted my own market research! I identified a few key elements that were consistent and focused my clothing line around them.
How much capital did you need to get started? Did you use any creative funding sources?
To get started I needed approximately 15,000. I reached out to independent investors and offered a steal of a deal: full repayment in 5 years or 2% of all profit for 10 years. Many took the 2% option leaving liquid capital available to put back into the business.
How do you market your business? Do you use any creative marketing strategies?
Initially I used a grassroots approach. I printed flyers and passed them out at events, busy shopping locations and colleges. I also made sure to attend any event s related to fashion in my area and talk to as many people as I could. I also used social media (myspace, blackplanet were popular when I started) to get the word out.
Are you or your business on Facebook? Twitter? Linked In? Please list.
MySpace: Good Girlz Designs
Trade Key: wwwggirlzcom
How do you manage employees if any?
No employees at this time.
What are some of your day to day struggles as a business owner?
It can be difficult to pull resources together for promotional events and marketing. Sometimes collaborating with other small business owners can alleviate some of the pressure and make it easier to reach a larger market.
What brings you the most joy from your work?
Seeing the finished product in all its glory!
How do you balance work life and family? Do your work demands affect your relationships?
Definitely not an expert in this area. Something always suffers. Prioritizing can be very difficult, but I always try to put my family first because in the end they will always be there. Sometimes the business suffers as a result but having a support system is critical.
Any advice you’d like to offer to anyone interested in your line of work?
Do your research. There is no substitute for planning.
Would you like to offer a promotion to the readers? If so, please list.
20% off any new boutique order placed before December 31, 2010. (This includes already discounted overstock items) Just mention this article when placing the order.
© 2012, Shalena D.I.V.A.- Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.