After their first fashion enterprise, a maternity clothing line, ran out of steam, friends and business partners Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor took what they’d learned about production, marketing and sourcing and applied it to their new venture, a line of upscale, form-fitting T-shirts. They didn’t have a traditional business plan or a line of credit. (Their company strategy, dubbed the Glitter Plan, basically required that the partners agree on fabric, fit and color.) But what Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor lacked in business acumen they made up for in creativity, moxie and enthusiasm.
The duo launched Juicy Couture in 1995 and introduced their now-iconic fitted velour tracksuits six years later. Long before social media made celebrity fashion-watching a daily sport, Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor got their tracksuits into magazines by courting celebrities and their stylists. When Madonna was photographed wearing a Juicy tracksuit in 2001, the brand went viral, and sales increased exponentially. Two years later, needing capital, Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor sold the company to Liz Claiborne Inc. for $226 million and stayed awhile to run the brand. After they left the company permanently, they tried to buy it back but were unsuccessful, so they embarked on yet another fashion collaboration.
Writing with fashion critic Booth Moore, Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor spin out advice and essential rules for budding entrepreneurs, including: Find a testing ground and put your product in the hands of local shop owners, friends and mentors; listen to their feedback and your gut; be prepared to shake things up so people will notice; and remember that not every business is going to be a success—just learn from it and move on with more focus. Part memoir and part business manual, The Glitter Plan is inspiring, enlightening and just plain fun.
by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, with Booth Moore
Gotham Books; $27
Jessica Krampe is the digital managing editor for SUCCESS.com. A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Jessica has worked for news, entertainment, business and lifestyle publications. Outside of the daily grind, she enjoys happy hours, live music and traveling.