Meet Melissa McGraw
This interview is for anyone out there who is thinking about changing industries and just aren’t sure. Melissa McGraw has circled the fashion industry going from buyer to e-commerce director, and professor, all while becoming an online business owner. She is a two-time entrepreneur and crazy genius e-commerce guru. She hosts a Facebook group called The Fashion Potential where she shares all of her knowledge and tips with new fashion startups. I have known Melissa for several years, and have learned from her wisdom.
Bag, Borrow, and sell…
I started out my career in the fashion industry as an assistant buyer for Belk Department stores. They had a buying office in New York City. Then I went into sales and merchandising for Liz Claiborne, Calvin Klein, Nicole Miller handbags, and Cynthia Rowley Handbags. I launched Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers and LAMB handbags as well as several small independent handbag brands. I’ve worked with companies with big budgets and small companies that were just trying to launch into the marketplace. I have worked with all types of accounts from Saks Fifth Ave to Amazon.com.
Becoming an e-com darling…
I knew from being in the industry for so long, especially on the sales end, that the retail landscape was starting to shift online. I started to take classes in SEO and e-commerce back in 2009 since I knew this was going to be the next big thing. In order to remain competitive, I knew I would have to learn as much as I could about this subject. I really wanted to be ahead of the curve rather than catching up from behind. There is so much opportunity and growth in e-commerce and it is an exciting field to be in! I have learned so much about content and bringing that in-store retail experience online.
Working smart and chic…
The concept of Workchic was created as an online guide on what to wear to the office no matter what type of position you had or what type of office environment you worked in. It was all about looking professional but also office appropriate as well. This website was an affiliate based website and at the time when it was launched (2009), it was the start of our economy’s recession. It was a great idea launched at an unfortunate bad moment. My business partner and I decided to sell the website at that time.
Give back 1000 percent…
I love helping others. It is inherently instilled in me from a very young age. I enjoy teaching students what I have learned along the way about e-commerce by teaching e-commerce logistics and fulfillment at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC).
I think if you have a brand and only sell on, for example, Etsy, you need to have your own website. You need to develop your own brand. Your website could become your biggest account and you didn’t even realize it!
What is your fashion potential?
I started The Fashion Potential in 2010 so I could teach fellow creative entrepreneurs, emerging designers, artisans, indie designers, and fashion students how to successfully launch their brand online and offline through in-person workshops, consultations, webinars and online courses.
I do have an e-commerce course for creative launching in Mid-October. This course is perfect for all creative minds – no matter if you make apparel, jewelry, accessories, soap, stationery, you name it – we have you covered! You don’t want to miss out on this!
I want to make The Fashion Potential an online learning center and one-stop destination that creative entrepreneurs can depend on for accurate information. There is a lot of fluff information out there and those pretending to be experts on subjects they have no experience in. You won’t find me offering a course on a subject that I don’t feel 100% knowledgeable on. I am all about teaching the right way.
To follow Melissa or find out more about what she does please check out www.thefashionpotential.com
Facebook Group: FashPotential