Shaping the fashion industry
Meet Jordana Guimaraes, entrepreneur and public relations expert who has worked with Porsche Design, Nina Ricci and Lanvin among others. She is Co-Founder of FASHINNOVATION, a platform showcasing innovations via ways of technology, shaping the fashion industry. Strong focus on sustainability, women empowerment & inclusivity having brands such as Fern Mallis, Diane Von Furstenberg, Louis Vuitton.
Who is Jordana Guimaraes? Define yourself.
I am someone who absolutely cherishes everything in life – from the very small things such as waking up and breathing in the air, to a good warm cup of coffee, to a smile from my baby girl, to conversations with my friends & family, etc. I believe that life is filled with small moments, that create the “big” moment… the “enlightenment”. I also love people, because in unity magic happens… and for unity, it requires people and diversity.
Now to define myself in a business light – I am a serial entrepreneur with a heart for social philanthropy. I have worked in fashion for as long as I can remember. I didn’t get into the fashion industry necessarily because of my love for fashion, but rather for my love of people. After having done PR and marketing for fashion brands globally for the past 17 years, I co-founded alongside my husband: Fashinnovation. I also – due to my love for “giving back” – launched a project called: The NYLON Project, in the aims to give a face to homelessness using the voice of the “fashion” industry. I recently wrote a book, being published in approximately 6 weeks titled: It Can Be You. I speak fluent English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, have a huge love affair with “travel” and am enamored by my friends and family. Am married to my business partner and have two little angels – Ariana (4 years old) and Isabel (2 years old). “Life is too short – live every minute as if though it is your last” AND “Love what you do – it’s the only way you’ll ever truly be successful”.
“LOTS of work, extreme dedication, realizing that community rather than money is where the success is as well as NO fear! “
How were you as a kid?
I was extremely rebellious. If someone said “jump” I´d stay still. if someone said “run” I’d walk. I’ve always loved to march to my own beat. Was always interested in reading and learning as well as speaking to everyone (whether it was someone on the streets or the president).
I read you hold an MBA executive education at Dartmouth College, did you study something else before the MBA? why did you choose those courses of study?
I actually hold a certificate after having taken an MBA program at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. I never went to college – jumped straight into the work force straight out of high school. Started my career in fashion in Public Relations after reading PR for Dummies – true story!
Your background involves over 16 years of Public Relations/Marketing having worked with brands such as Nina Ricci Jewelry, Porsche Design Accessories, Lanvin, etc. How did you jump from the point to found your own company, the event FASHINNOVATION? Where did this idea come from?
For 17 years I have been in fashion PR & marketing. For the first year of my career (in the work force), I worked for a house that owned the labels to Nina Ricci, Porsche Design, Lanvin, etc. After a year working as a PR director for these labels, I quit and started my own company as a “one woman” show freelancing marketing services for fashion/beauty/entertainment industries and learned so much (as well as made lots of mistakes). Therefore, I’ve actually been an entrepreneur for 16 years up to date. However, 2 years ago, my husband approached me (having always been in entrepreneurship) and asked what I thought of starting a company/platform, where we’d bring the fashion industry and the tech industry together, to discuss upcoming trends in both industries, via the voices of Founders/CEO’s. I thought it was a genius idea – hence Fashinnovation was born!
Talking about Fashinnovation, you have achieved a lot, the event brings together international business leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and fashion designers, to inspire and ignite conversations that lead to revolutionary change within the industry. It has built a community of powerhouses and brands such as Fern Mallis, Diane Von Furstenberg, Louis Vuitton, among others. What´s the recipe for your success?
LOTS of work, extreme dedication, realizing that community rather than money is where the success is as well as NO fear! You have to be fearless as until you jump/get out of your comfort zone, the BIG and significant changes in your life won’t take place.
“After I overcame what I was being bullied for, I then decided to for the rest of my life, always stick up for the <underdog> and make sure they get the same recognition and light as those that are quote in quote <popular> ”
You published your first book in the aims of “humanizing homelessness” titled: It Can Be You. Her. Can you tell us more about it? What is the book about? Where can we get it?
I was born and raised in Brazil. Where poverty and wealth are VERY close to one another. As a young child, it always bothered me that I had everything and then within a minute walking distance from my home, I’d see people that had nothing. It was something innate in me from a very young age. I also believe after having been in the fashion industry for 16+ years, that it is the biggest industry in the world – after all, everyone wears clothes. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to use the fashion industry platform, to create change in homelessness and the ways in which people depict the homeless. It Can Be You is stories – side by side – of those that are homeless today and those that aren’t, that are very similar in detail in the struggles but the circumstance is what separates them! The book will be out in approx 6 weeks and it’ll be available on Amazon, Kindle, etc. The website for more information is www.thenylonproject.com.
You were born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, why did you move to NYC? did that fact shape who you are now?
I moved to Florida when I first came to the US from Brazil. I was only 12. We moved because coming from an affluent family, kidnappings in 1992 were a big thing and my family due to lots of threats from unknowns, packed up and left. I was fortunate to have been born with dual citizenship – my mother was American as she came to America back in the 60s as a refugee from Egypt with her family, due to being Jewish. Then she moved to Brazil after meeting my father – who lived in Brazil – and hence the dual citizenship. It shaped a lot of who I am today. I am extremely compassionate, giving and empathetic towards everyone. Part of it – aside from as I mentioned before having something in me that pulls me towards helping – is that when I moved to the US, I didn’t speak the best English. Therefore, I was bullied a lot in school (Middle School and High School). It was SO tough back then – being bullied really sticks with you. However, after I overcame what I was being bullied for, I then decided to for the rest of my life, always stick up for the “underdog” and make sure they get the same recognition and light as those that are quote in quote “popular”.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
I wake up at 6 AM and until 7 AM answer any emails that need my attention immediately before my babies wake up. Then at 7 AM I make breakfast for my kids and my husband (and myself) and we all eat and watch cartoons, hug and tell each other how much we love one another (cheesy but necessary start to my day). At 8:30 AM, I leave the kids to play/paint and I take a shower. 9 AM I go and fill my jug of water to 2.6 liters and have a task to finish it off by the time I go to sleep at night. I then have calls throughout the day and also like to watch webinars or talks on social media that will enhance my knowledge on industry trends. I leave one full day a week where nothing is scheduled and I email all day (to catch up). I then go home and have dinner with my babies (and my daily glass of wine). I finish off the day by watching 30 minutes of “feel good TV” and then I go to sleep.
“Keep relationships alive. Relationships are EVERYTHING! ”
What do you love most about your job? & what is the most difficult part?
What I love most and the most difficult part as well (its both) is working with my husband. Obviously love it because we are growing it together for a better tomorrow for our family and the world. The difficult part is separating husband/wife and business partner roles.
What is one strategy that has helped you to grow your business?
Building relationships – not just on a per needed basis but continuous, to where it becomes a friendship. Be it with a sponsor, speaker or guests. Creating “real” community.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else does?
Keep relationships alive. Relationships are EVERYTHING!
In your opinion what are the biggest problems women face in the fashion industry? And how can we- as industry and consumers-change that reality?
For sure the stigma that decisions (important ones) have to be male dominated, when in reality (and Ill say this because I do believe it), women hold the power. At the end of the day, I think both men and women should be treated equally. It will take a LONG time to get to that but I do believe we are on the way.
What is the aspect of Brazilian fashion that makes you feel proudest and who are your favorite Brazilian designers?
I believe Brazilians to be some of the most creative humas. They have lots of passion and love, and that shows in the design. Oskar Metsavaht Ill use as the key example. The way he speaks of fashion is in a romantic way which makes you dream. That at the end of the day is beautiful and it comes genuinely to his “aura”.
“I think women can have it all – we can have everything we want. However, there is no such thing as “perfect”. You do the best you can and if you’re not the “best” at something but you’re doing it with love, that at the end of the day is all that matters”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Be. I like to be with my babies and family. I like to dance. I like to watch stupid tv. I like to go to the beach. I like to take long showers. I love to eat good food/try new restaurants. I like to drink wine and just zone out. I like to read.
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, you are married and have 2 baby girls, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
I think women can have it all – we can have everything we want. However, there is no such thing as “perfect”. You do the best you can and if you’re not the “best” at something but you’re doing it with love, that at the end of the day is all that matters. It’s almost impossible to balance all the time the things in your life (when being a woman), however, it is possible to do a bit of each thing when the timing fits.
How are you as a mom and wife?
I think I am good. Can I be better? Most definitely. However, the one thing I know I do VERY well is show how much I love them day in and day out. The rest, I can improve always in many ways, however, it takes practice and continuous effort. Every day I am better.
What are your plans for the future?
The plans I have for the future is all that I am doing now. I don’t think of the future as I live in the present. I never wait to do the things I want to do. Life is short.
There is still the glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented with the glass ceiling? If yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
I think because I am – pleasantly aggressive – which is what I have been called my many who have met me in the past, I haven’t really experienced too much of that. I say that because I go after what I want – I mean “really” go after it. I am pretty fearless.
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to become an entrepreneur like you, in the fashion industry?
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Jordana and what´s not?
Being Jordana is trying to be better in every aspect of my life on a daily basis but also being proud and acknowledging my faults and areas that need to be improved. That is being Jordana – taking life day by day and always improving via constructive criticism and what I see that I am doing that makes others around me happy. What I am not, is someone who will go out of my way and become someone I am not, to please someone else. I am also not someone who will stand for anyone saying something “false” about me and staying quiet, only because of confrontation. I will always stand up 110% for who I am and what I stand for.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
My mother. Now that I am a mother, aside from her also having been a killer entrepreneur and always there for everyone she loves, she was also a mother to me and my 3 sisters. Mompreneur to the fullest! Love her to death and she is Wonder Woman in my eyes.
Name: Jordana Guimaraes