More than 100 people attended the Francesca Skwark lecture, where she shared her experiences in the fashion industry and her tips on being a successful entrepreneur.

Skwark is a 2009 ISU alumna and the fashion designer behind the brand FBF by Checka, as well as the judge for Iowa State's 2013 Fashion Show.

“I think because Francesca is such a recent graduate, and she’s been able to come this far in a relatively short time, that gives the students inspiration,” said Ann Thye, apparel, merchandising and design academic adviser, about the up-and-coming designer. “They can see themselves in her shoes.”

The lecture was Friday, March 28, 2013, in MacKay Hall.

“It’s so rewarding and so satisfying,” admitted Skwark during the lecture. “But you work your butt off.”

Skwark has bachelor’s degrees in apparel, merchandising, and design and business marketing. She moved to Los Angeles after graduation to pursue her dream to be a fashion designer.

“Francesca has so much energy,” Thye said. “I think the positive energy that she has always been one of her greatest assets.”

Working multiple internships and landing a job as a hostess at a well-known sushi bar on Sunset Boulevard provided Skwark with opportunities to start her own company.

“So that’s where my brand, image and label began,” Skwark said. “It took about three months to figure out where to start, how to start a company and a business.”

During the lecture, Skwark detailed the journey of starting up her own clothing brand, which began as a T-shirt line.

“I started selling them online, got my friends to wear them, and it was a great way to start,” Skwark said. “I learned very quickly that fashion is a business.”

Gaining connections with various industry insiders allowed Skwark to further develop FBF by Checka.

“You have to take advantage of every situation you are in because you have no idea who you are talking to,” Skwark said and admitted she met her fabric manufacturer at the restaurant she works at.

Skwark told attendees that discovering, networking and utilizing resources have played a huge part in the launch of her fashion brand.

“You have to always be thinking about the big picture — especially when you are talking to the manufacturers or patternmakers — because they don’t want to invest in you if they don’t get something out of it,” Skwark said. “So it’s a win-win situation, hopefully, for everyone.”

The designer also advised students to always follow up with their contacts regarding internships or careers.

“Always follow through,” Skwark explained to her audience. “I have a rule with emails; seven to 10 days. If I don’t hear anything back, then I follow up, and then maybe I wait another three or four days, and then I follow up again.”

While she admitted that she may be a pest, she said she earns the respect of a yes-or-no answer.

“If you don’t want it bad enough, someone else does,” Skwark said. “Network, network, network, and never let anyone tell you no.”

(10) comments

jerryrice
jerry rice

The fashion industry is constantly changing and if you want to be a successful entrepreneur you should know how to cope and adapt to these changes. But besides fashion industry, the makeup and beauty salons are also successful businesses. For instance, if someone wants a quality hair salon, he will find one in Portland, Oregon hair salon, named the GiGi Salon Spa.

jerryrice
jerry rice

A person who wants to enter in the fashion business should read this article very carefully and apply every useful advice that he finds. For example, for the Sabatini Family to create unique and custom dress shirts for men was a long journey. But all the efforts were worth it.

jerryrice
jerry rice

She should give people useful advice, but also she should dress nice because she is the mirror of her fashion business. She should also give advice how to accessorize some outfits, how to wear western belt buckle and modern outfits and so on.

John Bowie
John Bowie

She is definitely an inspiration for the students and she should feel glad to have found such grand opportunities. However, a fashion student could join a fashion institute after graduating or could start their own business. If a student loves making designer handbags then she can sell designer handbags online.

jerryrice
jerry rice

Francesca is an inspiration for anyone who wants to have a future in the fashion world. She can teach you how to dress fashionably, but also how to be a successful fashion entrepreneur. For example, she will definitely recommend the best women's fitness wear from the Uni Hosiery and also how to accessorize these clothing items with jewelry or other accessories. Follow her example and you will succeed in everything you want to do.

Scott Garcia
Scott Garcia

It is absolutely true that having a speaker like her would certainly help the students more confident. However, those who want to make an impact on the market with their creations they should consider selling their products online. From gowns to pendant necklaces one can find all sorts of items online now.

John Bowie
John Bowie

She has definitely some great ideas to share with the young students, they could learn so much from her and could also start their own business someday. They can start small by designing T-shirts like Skwark, or they could design accessories or even canvas tote bag.

Scott Garcia
Scott Garcia

She can inspire students who can launch their collection, it would be better if they launch the items online. They should also get custom printed hang tags for their collection. They can find these tags online now.

John Bowie
John Bowie

Her experience would motivate the students and they too would be motivated to pursue a career in this field. These days most designers prefer to sell their creations online. Now from ball gowns to personalized leather belts everything could be found online.

John Bowie
John Bowie

For inspiring the students they have chosen the right person here, she has the talent as well as plenty of experience. The students should consider making their own clothing lines and accessories and start selling in the campus. Those who love accessories they can make some cool bullet belts or some other funky pieces of accessory.

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