Fashion Entrepreneur Interview Guide (contingent on time available)
Entrepreneur before they started the venture
• What is the entrepreneur’s educational background? Business degree
at ACU, bachelor of Branded Fashion at Billy Blue college, jewellers
course at Sydney Art School
• What is the entrepreneur’s previous work experience (before
starting the venture)? No previous work experience in this field of work
• Did the entrepreneur have any role models when growing up? Not
• Did the entrepreneur do entrepreneurial things as a youth? Not
really but I’ve always been into creating my own stuff to wear and
making things to give to my friends
• When did the entrepreneur know he/she wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I always had this feeling of wanting to do my own thing but it wasn’t
until after college that I knew that was what I really wanted to do
-Entrepreneur at the time he/she started the venture? I started state of
discordance about a year after I graduated college
• What was the entrepreneur’s primary motivation for starting a
business? What were the factors that led him/her to start the venture?
Factors: Well after I finished college I wanted to start a clothing
brand because I had just studied for 3 years and thought that was where
I wanted to go, but the cost was just incredible and I couldn’t fund it.
I then started to think about what I really love and enjoy, and I love
working with my hands and creating and I love jewellery. So I took a
short silversmith course and it just fit and I enjoyed it so much more.
My primary to motivation was to create beautiful things for people and
create jewellery that i always wanted but couldn’t find anywhere.
• Did the entrepreneur seek to establish a “lifestyle” business, a
“fast growth” business, or what? Did their growth orientation change
over time? I sought to grow my business slowly, When I first started
State of Discordance I was funding it myself. This growth orientation
has not changed, although I no longer fund it solely by myself and the
speed of growth he slightly picked up
• What sort of resources (not just financial) did the entrepreneur
have when they started the venture? What resources did they not have and
wished they had it? What sort of network did they have? Were there any
especially creative things they did to come up with the needed
I had the skills to make the jewellery myself, I would of wished to have
had an employee or partner to help with all other aspects of the
business, I had and still do have a good network of suppliers. I didn’t
do anything especially creative to come up with any resources
• Did the entrepreneur write a business plan? ! Yes, I also wrote a
2yr, 4yr and 6yr business plan and goals, although I have swayed from
the original plan my core goals have remained the same
• What kind of research did the entrepreneur undertake when starting
the venture? Supplier, stockist, accounting, advertising
• Did the entrepreneur feel prepared to start the venture at the time
he/she started it? Not really, but I had nothing to loose.
• How long was a typical work day and work week when the entrepreneur
first started the venture? It varied greatly, some days I would only
work 3-4 hours, others I would be working well into the night
• How have the entrepreneur’s goals and values changed since
starting the venture? My goals haven’t really changed much, I still want
to create beautiful and unique pieces for people although the aesthetic
of my jewellery has been streamlined significantly, My values and goals
have not changed
• Did the typical work week change as the venture grew (in terms of
how much time the venture required and in terms of how the entrepreneur
allocated his/her time)? Yes, my schedule is much less erratic now, I
work the same hours everyday and no longer have to work on weekends
• Did the entrepreneur make assumptions when they first started out
that subsequently proved to be wrong? What sorts of insights were
gained? I think I assumed that it would be a lot easier I general but
one thing that was particularly hard is advertising, I think I just
assumed that people would find me, instead of me having to advertise a
lot. That was one thing I assumed would be easier, advertising.
• What key mistakes did the entrepreneur make along the way? What were
some of the key lessons learned? (ask about their greatest and their
Entrepreneur today and tomorrow
A mistake would be one of the first stockists I had. We had a deal that
I wasn’t really comfortable with and didn’t really understand but I was
too inexperienced and nervous to question it, which I should of, I ended
up pulling my jewellery from the store as I was making no profit from
it. Another mistake would of been hiring a PR company. Although they got
my brand on tv and into some great magazines (which would be my greatest
moment) it didn’t translate to any extra sales. As a result I’ve learnt
to trust in my produce more, not double guess myself and that its okay
to say no sometimes
• What would the entrepreneur do differently if they had it all to do
over again? I defiantly wouldn’t have hired a PR agency and I would have
been more confident in my brand and product and be more proactive in
contacting customers and stockists.
• What key personal characteristics does the entrepreneur see in
himself or herself that were especially critical for achieving success
with this particular venture? I think my creativity, practicality and
perseverance has helped. I also have a great support system and know
when to ask for their help and opinions
• What kind of leader does the entrepreneur believe he/she is? I try
to be as motivating as I can and inspire and trust the people around me
and really make sure they know how valuable they are
• What are the entrepreneur’s plans for the future in terms of the
venture? At the moment my main plan that I’m focusing on is to expand my
stockists list within the year and reformat our online store.
• What is the entrepreneur’s “exit strategy” or do they have
one? I do not have one
• What advice, based on his/her own experience, does the entrepreneur
have for a student interested in starting a venture today? Trust and
believe in your product, follow your gut instinct, don’t be scared,
don’t underestimate the work, have good people around you, and try to
give your customers a personal touch
• What products and/or services are provided? What are the major
features? Jewellery, handmade in Australia from recycled silver sourced
• Describe the environment (size, décor and layout, etc.)*
• Where is it located? Online www.discordance.com.au 
• How is the product/service produced and delivered? Through the
• Collect copies of brochures, menus, price lists, advertising and
• Do your observations confirm the owner’s description?*
• Who does the owner consider to be the target market? Why?
Woman, aged 20-35 but not limited to these ages. Refined bohemian,
dreamers, creatives, lovers of art, lovers of both the dramatic and the
subtle, looking for a unique touch
Assessment 2: Fashion Entrepreneur Interview (25% of your final grade – DUE IN on Blackboard/Turnitin, WEEK 5, Wednesday, 17th August, 1159pm)
You will be required to interview a fashion entrepreneur of your choice (this person cannot be one of our guest speakers in the course). The objective of this assignment is to make you aware of what it is really like to be a fashion entrepreneur and to critically analyse what you learn in reference to theory. You will also be able to practice your networking and interviewing skills in the real world.
The company can be in any type of business in the fashion industry, must be at least 3 years old, and employ at least 5 people (but less than 200 employees). Please look outside your immediate family.
While you may find it challenging to cold-call an entrepreneur, you will find that most entrepreneurs will be honoured to be asked about their experiences and will be willing to meet with you. They are often very busy and your biggest challenge will be to find free time to meet them.
Extensions will not be granted due to last minute scheduling. Therefore, plan ahead and have several alternative time slots prepared. You are also required to attach the interview transcript to your assignment and a signed document by the CEO acknowledging the interview.
Please make use of the following paragraph headings, sub headings and bullet points.
Describe the fashion entrepreneur’s background, motivations for starting the venture, challenges in growing the venture. (2-3 pages)
Evaluate the value proposition (target market, product/serv ice description and unique benefit). (1/2 to 1 page)
What makes the company successful (or not)? What are your recommendat ions for improvement? (1-2 pages)
Discuss how the findings of the interview are meaningful to you. What have you learned about your own potential to be a fashion entrepreneur? (1-2 pages)
The objective is to drill down into the venture and thoroughly understand the entrepreneur and how he or she does business. It is criticalthat you do not just dealwith superficial questions and answers. The key is to probe, to ask why, to delve beneath the surface. What insights can you offer about the person’s career and your own entrepreneur ial capabilities? Critically analyse what you learn in reference to theory from journal articles/textbooks. Does it align or differ from theory?
Note: You should use a MINIMUM of 9 peer-reviewed journa larticles (e.g., Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Journal of Small Business Management etc.) and 8 industry magazine articles (e.g., Business of Fashion, Fortune Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business Review Weekly etc.) to support your analysis. These references are integrated throughout the entire assignment.
Do not wait to set up an appointment. Entrepreneurs by definition are busy people and you need to fit into their schedule.
You should prepare questions in advance. It is helpful to first wa lk through the questions in a mock interview with a friend.
Be businesslike. Send your entrepreneur an agenda and your questions well in advance of the meeting. Be sure to confirm time and location as well as your contact information in case they have to postpone. Confirm the amount of time you require and be sure to stick to it. I recommend…