I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” There must be some unwritten rule that aunts, uncles, family friends, the mail man’s aunts and uncles- literally everyone- cannot hold a conversation with a young person without asking probing questions about your relationship status and/ or future plans.
And, while it makes for some repetitive conversations, it’s pretty merited that I’ve been asked about my dreams more than any other question, as Americans will spend, on average, approximately 45 years of their lives devoted to chasing paychecks. That’s kind of mind-boggling, and honestly terrifying if you think about it. And I know, personally, that my answers to said relatives would reflect the horror I felt about limiting myself to one career for longer than I’ve been alive. From doctor, to astronaut, and even a marine biologist at one point, my response to this question would vary more often than I changed my clothes.
And while I had many changing desired professions over the years, there was always a commonality that each of my choices reflected: I may not have known exactly what it was that I wanted to pursue, but I knew that I’d want to spend 45 years of my life pursuing a career with a passion that bordered on obsession.
And with that, I’m especially excited that I was able to interview someone who has not only devoted her life to achieving her dreams, but has created her own company in doing so. Anna Livermore, of V. Mora, a fashion consulting company, managed to morph her love of fashion and gift of entrepreneurial excellence into a successful brand that is devoted to also helping others to follow their dreams.
The moral of this “Women We Love” is that 45 years is too long to do something that doesn’t make your heart beat a little faster- and Anna Livermore is sharing all about how she turned her “What do you want to be when you grow up” answer into a remarkably successful reality.
Take it away, Anna!
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR COMPANY, V. MORA?
V. Mora is a fashion business and production consulting company that works one-on-one with independent designers. We offer hands-on help with everything from pattern making to sourcing to production management and marketing. We have offices in New York, Chicago and a full time staff in San Francisco.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
I studied fashion design in school, after which I was a buyer. Then I worked at a custom design shop where a 70 year-old woman taught me to hand sew as she was taught as a child in Iraq (with threats of stabbing me with pins and cutting my hands off- she meant business!). I started my own clothing line and started doing patterns and samples out of my apartment to support myself. Eventually this morphed and grew into what V.Mora is today.
HOW DID YOU END UP IN YOUR CURRENT POSITION (READ: OWNING YOUR OWN COMPANY IN THE INDUSTRY OF YOUR DREAMS)?
Organically, following intuition, doing what inspired me.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LOOK LIKE?
Wake up, green juice, coffee. Hit the gym 5 days a week. Quiet time and meditation. Organize my day, figure out my 6 rocks (6 must-dos). Dive head first into work and stop at a decent hour in order to enjoy my evening. My evenings vary from local fashion events to dinner with friends or a great yoga class.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR CAREER AND HOW DID YOU DO IT?
Continuing to drive forward even when it felt like I had failed. At the beginning of my career, I was sitting at my coffee table in tears and told myself that I had 5 minutes to cry before I needed to pick myself up and find some work. This has been my lasting motto throughout the lifetime of V.Mora. Working through the uncertainty and fear of being an entrepreneur. Not getting wrapped up in what my competition is/was doing and following what felt right to me no matter what other people said.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
The importance of building a supportive team around me, of people that inspire me/believe in me and make me a better person; That includes my staff, my friends and my family. I have learned to always take care of myself first in order to best show up for my business.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST SUCCESS SO FAR?
Definitely expanding my business, including our offices in New York and California and doing it without taking on massive debt. Everything I’ve done I’ve done organically and have slowly expanded from my studio apartment in Chicago to where we are now.
WHAT WAS THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Keep it simple, don’t send emails from an emotional place, surround yourself with people you enjoy working with. You have to do what’s best for the business.
YOU HELP YOUR CLIENTS WITH MANY ASPECTS OF LAUNCHING FASHION START-UPS INTO FULL-BLOWN BUSINESSES. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PROCESS?
We’re literally making peoples’ dreams come true. There is nothing better than seeing someone succeed and seeing someone being excited to launch. Seeing the difference we make in peoples lives.
YOU’RE CLEARLY A DESIGN EXPERT- WHAT MAKES OR BREAKS A BRAND?
Grit, the ability to preserve when you hear no. Pushing your sales. It truly comes down to budgeting and having the ability to sell. Also, the humility it takes to be a good sales person is key.
FOR OTHER ENTREPRENEURS HOPING TO BREAK INTO THE FASHION INDUSTRY- HOW WOULD YOUR RECOMMEND GETTING STARTED?
Do your research, learn from those who have done it before. Find a mentor, whether you hire a professional or ask a successful designer- a mentor/sounding board is invaluable.