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Conversations with the Inspiring Lien Vets

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lien Vets.

Lien, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My LA story started in September of 2007. Moving here from Belgium, not knowing anyone, I was doing lots of odd jobs all over the city. After a year or so I caught a breakthrough some people I knew and got hired at the Dutch denim brand G-star as West Coast Account Manager. That was kind of my first professional experience in fashion and sales. From there, I went on to run a multi-brand West Coast showroom, where I learned a ton. After several years there, I saw an opportunity to start my own showroom and Noella Showroom came about. This was six and a half years ago.

I’ve always known I wanted to own my business and work for myself but I never really knew what it was going to entail until then. I named the showroom after my Grandma/Godmother Noella (and it’s also my middle name 🙂 ) – it’s timeless.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think any business has some struggles along the way and I’ve definitely not been immune to this either. Off the bat we started off amazingly well so I was like “wow, this is easy”… 🙂 Then things got a bit more difficult and I’ve really had to navigate it all. From employees leaving at inopportune times to problematic designers. Most recently, I became a Mom and this brings about a whole new dynamic and new challenges. (but also lots of happy and amazing things!)

There are a lot of different businesses and each one has it’s own intricacies but I believe in starting small and doing a lot (everything) yourself at first so you truly understand all aspects of your business. Including for instance, your bookkeeping and understanding your financials.

What should we know about Noella Showroom? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We represent an array of different designers in the women’s contemporary market. It’s like an agent but for fashion brands instead of actors 🙂 We place them in stores all over the country/world ranging from online retailers to department stores to resorts and small boutiques. I’m very aware of our industry’s tax on the environment and am focusing more and more on sustainable/ethical brands. I’d like this to be the norm for Noella going forward.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
This industry is all about relationships – with buyers and fellow reps/showroom owners. There are a lot of strong women (and some men of course 🙂 ) in the business and everyone does business and life a little differently. I think openly talking to my industry friends about the highs and lows and everything in between helps me gain perspective, learn from them, gain insight and to not take ourselves too seriously all the time 🙂

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Image Credit:

Flannel, Kyma and Friends

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