CEO/Founder Monif C. Plus Sizes, www.monifc.com
Launch year: 2005
Describe your business in one sentence.
Monif C. is a contemporary designer clothing brand for confident plus size fashionistas.
What led you to launch your business?
I’ve always been a plus size woman and was frustrated that there was no line that reflected my lifestyle and personality. I travel, have fun, date, and love my life! I needed a clothing brand that reflected that I am a fashion-forward woman that wants vibrant, sexy and sophisticated clothing. After traveling to Europe and learning more about the fashion industry, I decided to take the plunge and start my own company.
How’d you land your very first customer or client?
Prior to launching on September 12, 2005, I reached out to all the major magazines and television shows to let them know what we were doing. We had a tremendous response from day 1 and 4 days after we launched, we were featured on TLC’s What Not to Wear. As a result, customers starting purchasing and supporting the brand from the onset!
What’s the biggest struggle you’ve encountered in running your small business?
Securing growth capital has been a big challenge. Securing capital for a fashion business is not always the easiest but my conversations with investors have been promising. Most get excited to know that we are in a new crop of fashion companies that design in house, produce domestically and use ecommerce as our primary distribution channel. We’ve built customer loyalty because we have a unique product and these days being unique wins!
What has surprised you most about running your business?
It is super important as a CEO to prioritize and not get pulled in too many directions. There are many people that you have to answer to when you run a business and everyone has opinion of what you need to be paying attention to. I’ve learned that you can’t get everything done all at once so you must prioritize your top 3 – 5 goals for each quarter knowing you’ll get to everything eventually.
What one thing do you know now that you wish you would’ve known when you started?
One thing I wish I knew is just how much time and money it takes to run a business. Just when you think you’ve settled a bit, there is a new opportunity that needs your attention and often money to implement.
How do you measure success?
Success to me is about individually crafting your version of an extraordinary life. I don’t believe in living the life people expect you to live or doing what seems “responsible”. I believe in taking a risk and striving to live an extraordinary life on your terms. For me, success is predicated on my need for freedom. I believe what we do in our work or business is a great contribution to this world but it must work in tandem with our life goals.
What’s your must-read online resource in your industry? Why?
I am a voracious reader so it’s hard for me to say but a daily read is definitely wwd.com!
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring business owners, I would shout,
It sounds cliché, but “Just Do It!”.