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Name: Melissa Austria
Business: Gotstyle , menswear and accessories
Industry: Clothing & Accessories
Location: Toronto, Canada
Reason for starting: I saw a void in the marketplace; menswear in Toronto was either high end luxury (Harry Rosen, Holts) or lower end mass market (Moore’s, Tip Top). I knew that the menswear market was changing and that there needed to be a new type of retail store to appeal to them. I wanted to offer a one stop shopping life style store for men with clothing for their casual, social and business lifestyle. Plus accessories, grooming products and in my first store a full spa for men only and a in-store barber shop.
Related: Read about another female fashion entrepreneur here.
How do you define success? The feedback that I get from customers and the accolades from the media. I thought could do something different and change the retail marketplace. I had worked in men’s wholesale for over 10 years, working with some of the best menswear stores across Canada. I listened to their successes and mistakes and thought I can do this.
Biggest success: Surviving the first 5 years of business.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? As an entrepreneur in the beginning, you have to do everything. Once you start doing well, you have to realize what you’re not good at, surround yourself with good people and delegate. It’s initially hard for entrepreneurs to let go but I’ve realized that I can’t move forward if I’m trying to micro manage everything. Additionally, with our second store, due to its size and location, we also added in womenswear. As we continue to grow we will only be a menswear store.
Related: Why Being a ‘Company Superhero’ is Super-Stupid
Who is your most important role model? Harry Rosen, I admire how hands on he is with his business (up until his 70’s he still worked the floor on Saturdays), his commitment to charity and when he started his business he was critical in bringing new brands to Canada.
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Edited by The Story Exchange