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15 minutes with Flying Solo member, Elizabeth Formosa

For fashion forward soloist, Elizabeth Formosa networking and building a community to share her expertise has been essential to success.

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Elizabeth Formosa

Describe your “aha” moment; when did your business idea first come to you?

My “ah-ha” moment that led to the launch of Fashion Equipped came to me during my time at The Melbourne School of Fashion. Initially invited in as a guest lecturer, I was swiftly offered a role teaching the business side of fashion. When it came to planning the curriculum content, I found my diverse career and experience offered a solution to a challenge many students and start-ups face: navigating the business side of fashion.

I found myself in a position where I was being asked to reflect back on all of my industry experience and package that up into an academic format that would be palatable for creatives to embrace. No easy task! As professionals, we don’t often take the time to value the knowledge that we should pass on to others. The icing on the cake was that I had so many students asking me who they could reach out to when they graduated to launch their label. There were many business consultants out there, but not any that I could find specialising in fashion. I saw a big gap in the market and I just knew I had to launch a business supporting the fashion industry.

Fast forward again to current day, and our biggest client base are those who are working for others in fashion and want to start their own venture or we have many clients that don’t have any fashion industry experience at all, but they have a passion and entrepreneurial skills that serve them well and we support them with the rest.

Describe for me the “why” of your business

My WHY is that I am extremely passionate and driven when it comes to helping people and I have been lucky enough to find a way to do that within the fashion industry. My passion now is to give back and continue to build a network of strong like-minded industry professionals who want to help others coming up in the industry. Put simply, I know I can help and my drive to do so just continues to grow stronger.

"I am VERY passionate about connecting people - community is everything! "

List your three biggest business goals? Which of them scare you the most and why?

  1. Continue to grow as a leading Fashion Business Consultancy Agency in Australia.
  2. Grow awareness of our “Start Your Fashion Business” Online Programme as we have invested SO much in building an extremely valuable platform we are proud of. We know this will be a game changer for the startups out there who need support.
  3. Go global!  (yep…this one scares me the most! …I do my fair share of public speaking as part of my role…not sure I am ready for the world stage just yet!…but I am warming up to it!)

Has anything surprised you about working for yourself?

Yes, the amount I have been willing to put on the line (personally and financially) to ensure my business not only succeeds but thrives.

Once you became a soloist, what about your life changed almost immediately; and what changes have been slower to come?

I think the most difficult transition in becoming a soloist is the loss of a collaborative, dynamic work environment. Working for yourself, by yourself can be lonely, isolating and at times, overwhelming. So I VERY quickly realised the importance of networking, building a small (even if remote) team. Reaching out and not being afraid to bounce ideas off my friends, ex-colleagues or partner. One of the things I am VERY passionate about these days is connecting people – community is everything!

What’s the best part of the life you’re living now you’re a soloist?

I would say having the freedom to design your OWN life, even if that means deadlines you are still working on at 2am!  It’s YOUR business, YOUR passion, and your WHY that you are putting all those hours in for. And YOU and those you are working so hard to help reap the rewards of that.

Got a tip you’d like to share with our community about soloism?

Look after YOU, because without YOU, you simply won’t have a business.

Lucy Kippist

is an experienced Australian editor with experience in writing, podcasting radio and television, with previous senior editorial roles at News Corp news.com.au, Kidspot and Kinderling Kids Radio. In her current role as editor of Flying Solo, Australia's #1 website for solo business owners she is pursuing her passion for women in the small business space. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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