Friday, March 24, 2017

Womens' History Month

The Business woman taking charge

This morning, I attended a panel discussion with women entrepreneurs, titled Woman-ing Up. There were four speakers: a cosmetic chemist, a blogger, a family counsel, and a personal mentor of mine who is an intellectual property attorney. In honor this being Women’s History Month, I would like to say “congratulations” to all who stepped out there, swallowed their fears, and made their dreams happen. To the artist, fashion designer, associate, blue collar or nine to five worker who is scared to move forward and is clinging to the career you hate, that guaranteed the bills are paid, now is the time to gather your blueprint. I hope this blog inspires you, as the panel did me.

Q: When the women were asked, ‘What kind of challenges do women entrepreneurs face’, they answered- “We underprice ourselves and place boundaries on our gender. As a woman, you must have that confidence like a man and KNOW what you bring to the table. We need to overcome the labels that make us afraid to lead; we must be a "hard ass" to grow.  Also, remember self-care is very important. Please understand, you must make sure you are important to yourself and take time to take care of you. Lastly, find a balance and do not develop bad habits that will haunt you later-on down the line.”

Specifically, they mentioned two challenges of being a woman of color:, i) Money.  People do not want to fund women of color. “We must be twice as good to get twice as far”. Finding the dollars to get people to invest in your dream isn't easy. ii) We feel like we must do everything on our own, but as a woman look inside your circle for your strengths. There are several individual whom you already know are experts in area that you will need help or advice. When building your dream, have the courage to reach out.

Q: What were some of your fears when starting out?
The fear of leaving the guaranteed check. You must know that your preparation will meet your transition one day. Take that leap of faith and know that you must i) work hard and ii) get out there to get paid and the contracts you need. Get over the fear of making the necessary investments. You have to spend money on getting better at your career and invest in the business. You also need to make it clear what is an expense versus what is an investment. Additionally, project changes going forward and map out what you will can “predict” about the future. Here, predict is in quotes, because sometimes no matter how well you plan, you will get a wrench thrown in your plans. No one has a perfect plan.

Q: What are three tools that will be helpful in merging an entrepreneur’s  journey?                 1. There is no point in trying to figure everything out on your own you know or have experts that you can go to. It is all about building a solid team. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Therefore, do not focus on making the money but focus on the value; you are then able to help people better understand the price point of the service you are providing.

                2. For those who are new -just do it. Do not allow some else who did not have fear, put the very same idea out before you. The last thing you want to do in 2018 is look around and see someone is making money off the very concept you thought of two year ago, but never moved forward with. 

                3. It is lonely at the top. Get around a support system that understands you, people that want to see you grow create positive energy. Your team does not have to be doing the same thing as you, so long as they understand that some Fridays you might have to say no to hanging out. They will understand that you are building your brand. Furthermore, realize if you truly want to grow your business, you will have to sit out on some of the girls’ nights. There is nothing wrong with taking some nights to invest in growth.
Q: Transition or “big chop”-
For those who do not understand this reference, this is referring to the period a woman goes through when transiting from using straightening chemicals on her hair to allow her hair to grow in its natural texture. Some women choose to allow chemicals to grow out slowly, while other do the “big Chop”, and cut the chemical out their hair. Everyone is different.

If you wake up tomorrow morning and you were doing what you wanted to do what does that look like. Do you need to take time to flush out your ideas? However you decide to get started be very strategic about how you do it. Take comfort knowing that wherever it is that you are right now you will not always be there. Sow the seeds that need to be planted for your future and watch then bud. Apple trees do not produce apple overnight. Think about your business long-term and see what those steps are. Therefore, i) plan well; ii) set the deadline; iii) be ready to trust you.

I hope this has inspired someone reading to “Woman Up”. Special shout out to the mommies; you rock Superwoman! Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Take advantage of those around you. Sync your calendar with your husband’s, siblings’ or in-laws’, for a guaranteed sitter to give you quiet time to work. 

Remember ladies, you will to get through the pitfalls.  If on your journey you get discouraged and hit a rut, fall in love with your business again. Pencil in the things in your calendar that keep you motivated. 

I’ll leave you with this thought, a big part of woman-ing up is patting yourself on the back and knowing when you did a good job.

Until next time...

Resources business resources

Patrice N. Perkins- business formations, Intellectual property law

Rebecca Daily Wooley- social media consultant

Chantelle L. Bittings- life enrichment counseling services
10540 s. Western, Suite 504
Chicago, IL 60643

Elle Davis - Co-founder
Mid South Business Association & Resource Center

Thursday, March 23, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

SCOTUS Changes Fashion Law Forever--

Until now, no case hailing from the niche of fashion law had stepped onto the U.S. Supreme Court stage.  A decision this week has changed that.

The Star Athletica v. Varsity Brand case has become a trailblazer for copyright in the fashion industry. Just yesterday, the SCOTUS found decorative items--specifically those common on cheerleading uniforms--to be protectable under copyright law.  This ruling is contrary to years of cases in lower courts, where opinions have continuously determined decorative elements of clothing were inseparable from the garments themselves.   

In the only apparel-related case to ever come across the docket, the Supreme Court made a determination which could change the fashion industry forever.   Law360 noted, "The question before the justices was how courts should decide when such “separability” exists, an issue that has split lower courts. Fashion companies pushed for a looser approach that would allow them to protect more apparel with copyrights; consumer advocates called for a tighter approach, meaning less protection and more competition."

The fashion companies won. 

With this ruling, designers now have a gateway to protecting the artistic elements of their designs, and drawing a long-awaited distinction between their unique work, and a useful item (clothing).  Surely this case will set the stage for more litigation, as designers will have firm ground to stand on when exercising their vigilance in protecting their work. It may also set the stage for shocking the conscious of the counterfeit market. 

This has been quite the fight for those of us knee-deep in the fashion law industry.  What will fashion law conquer next?

Monday, March 20, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Fix

What's Happening With Handbags?!

Over the last 2 years, the handbag market has seen its share of struggles.  Brands like Coach and Michael Kors have opened new store after new store, more outlet shops, and even lowered some of their prices.  This sounds good.  Having the numbers to grow your brick and mortar presence is always a good thing.  Or is it?

Alone, growing in brick and mortar is good, but the handbag market suffered a bit last year, growing just around 2%.  Sure, that's hard to see as a struggle in a $9.3billion industry, but best believe, the brands are feeling it.  Some of the reason for the shift is discounting and brand saturation.  Other contributors are the trends toward specialty bags--whether it be a collaboration between Kerry Washington and Aquatalia, or a cause-focused bag focused on an important social issue.  Consumers are increasingly enjoying putting their money behind a cause, and getting style as an added bonus.  

It's hard to think handbags would go out of style.  It really is quite unlikely.  But, like everything else, there are industry ups and downs.  With the rise in e-commerce, retail is experiencing a shift away from traditional shopping.  Marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy are providing challenging circumstances for shopping mall staples like Macy's, Wet Seal, and The Limited.  Now they've had some real struggles!  

Surely in readjusting their prices, and being conscious about bag placement, luxury designers will rebound from this slump they've seen recently.  The question is, how will e-commerce and the "app age" play into their future success?  Marketing gurus certainly have a challenge on their hands.  Retail execs, too.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Fix

The Nude Shoe Collection by Nubian Skin!

Not too long ago, Christian Louboutin made a statement in the fashion industry, launching a full line of nude shoes.  The nudes weren't just for the fair-skined fashionista, but ranged into the caramel, mocha, and chocolate tones for those swanky ladies with magical melanin.

Now, another fave of ours, Nubian Skin has joined the ranks of those offering a plethora of nudes, covering the entire spectrum of stylish shades.  After launching as a lingerie line centered around the magnificence of melanin, Nubian Skin has added shoes to their repertoire.  We couldn't be more excited!

The Nubian Skin nude shoe collection offers both heels and flats, to suit all needs to the Melanin Maven.  Take a look and order yours!

The collection includes a classic heel and an everyday flat available in four signature colors – Berry, Cinnamon, Caramel and CafĂ© au Lait, as well as one new color, now the lightest in the collection – Champagne!

The entire collection is available to purchase on! All shoes are made with a butter-soft leather upper, and will be available in sizes EUR 36 to 42.
Size Guide

Monday, March 6, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D Fashion Law

Saved By The Trinkets

Hello loves,

Are any of you an aspiring luxury handbag designer? Recently, I had to do some extensive research on, how a designer goes about acquiring protection for their original designs. As many of you may already know, you are not able to gain protection for any feature of your design that is “functional”. Function, meaning that in order to make the object what it is, certain aspects are needed. An example of a functional aspect is the standard buttons on a coat. However, if a designer goes as far as to 1) create a sculptured button that is an original idea, 2) that can stand alone as a piece of art if separated from the coat; those decorative/ornamental, buttons can be gain copyright protection.

How does this apply to handbags? Before law school I often wondered how despicable individuals, were able to take a handbag and create look alike knockoffs. Well, know that I am completely judging anyone who would take someone else’s idea and try to pass it off as their own. Even in the fashion industry this is still considered stealing!

First, if you are a designer of handbags, you are able to copyright and or trademark all parts of your handbag that is NOT functional, but conveys information. Therefore, all elaborate designs that are your original creation such as graphics, embroidery, unique designs in fabric and very unique jacquard weaving, can be federally protected.  Brand logos are protectable, too, 

Second, high end handbags have trinkets on them that are removable. If you take a closer look, these trinkets usually resemble the designer’s federally protected trademark in a three dimensional form. Some bags also have a silk lining that reflect the designer’s trademark.
As a designer, you have a right for your customer to not be confused as to the source and quality of their merchandise. Therefore, although someone can disrespectfully create a look alike of your work, they are not able to use an exact replica of your original designs without your permission. If you successfully obtain federal protection of your marks, and or graphics design, you are on your way to gaining notoriety in the fashion industry. Notoriety is your trade dress, which is the image are you recognized by and the way it is displayed in the market.

Third, get to work. Go forth and be creative. Put your designs out for the public to purchase.

Until next time…


B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Sports

NBA Free Agency Popcorn Watcher By: Tonisha Hood,  BMMO Consulting NBA free agency started with a few bangs.  First, everyone was am...