1 In TWH Sisterhood

Sisterhood Series: A Catch Up With Vanja Stace

When I first starting talking to Vanja Stace I knew I had to feature her in my inspirational women series! I was blown away by her passion and spirit, she is a strong woman who is spending every day working in a job she absolutely loves. Meet Vanja Stace…

Vanja Stace: Sisterhood Series

Welcome to the TWH Sisterhood! Tell us a bit about yourself… 

I’m a brand and marketing coach helping stylish brands launch and grow. My clients are mostly fashion brands (apparel, accessories, millinery) but I also work with beauty brands, makeup artists, personal trainers and wellness experts with female centric audiences.

I am based in Sydney but I have clients all over the world – Europe, USA, NZ, Brunei and so on…. I help them identify what isn’t working in their business and I help them explore new opportunities and possibilities. If they are about to launch their business or brand I work with them from the idea stage all the way to launch and beyond.

Many business owners are experts in their own field but they might lack business or marketing skills. I work with them to not only build their strategies but also teach them the How and the Why so they can flourish even after they stop working with me.

I realise that some new designers and labels can’t afford 1:1 coaching so I created The Fashion Darling School of Business which offers online courses for fashion entrepreneurs which means they get my expertise at a lower price, and they can study at their own pace.

I love that you are so passionate about helping start-ups! What do you love about them?

I worked for big brands (Napoleon Perdis, City Beach, UNSW Global, Slater & Gordon) and in big companies even if you get great results it’s just a drop in the bucket. In a startup consistent revenue is life changing. It often means that the owner of that business can quit their fulltime job or their bridge job (part time work that pays the bills while they work on their dream). Working with startups makes me feel like I am making a difference in this world, by helping people connect with their passion.

Recently a client of mine showed her range to David Jones and I was so proud. I took her out to celebrate because that is such a big moment.  Another client who I have worked with from the product concept stage is in discussion with a major online retailer who wants to stock her label exclusively, and help her become a global name.

I love helping my clients get wins like that because their confidence grows, their self-belief grows and that is truly wonderful to see.

How do you help your clients succeed?

Initially I find out what they have already done and where they would like to be. Then I create a plan which will help them reach their goals. I teach them the WHY behind the concepts and activities we cover, as well as the HOW so they can understand why I recommend certain activities.

For some we focus on building a brand and creating their marketing plan, others may need a revision of their pricing strategies, some need a content strategy, or to add new sales channels, or all of the above. Depending on their needs we could work together as they need me, or in a structured 12 week program. Everyone is different.

What challenges have you faced in your career and how have they shaped you as a person today? 

After working for Liz Mitchell (a big designer in NZ) I launched my own label and even though I had that for five years, I made many mistakes. I didn’t know much about marketing and had no business expertise so the lessons I learned were costly and difficult. I did have some wins in my label – I created costumes for theatre plays (one was alongside the world famous label Zambesi), my clothes were worn by NZ musicians, I had lots of press, my own retail store and a wholesale arm of the business. In 2005 my store was robbed and I lost everything so I had to close the business, which was an extremely difficult decision.

I then went to work for Caroline Sills (a well known NZ fashion brand) where I assisted with sales and marketing of their 5 brands. This is how I got into digital, as I was in charge of their websites, and I where I expanded on my wholesale and fashion marketing knowledge. This role inspired me to get a marketing qualification so I could learn even more.

These experiences made me realise the challenges that fashion startups face and how a very successful fashion business operates. Both have shaped my current business, and my decision to work with startups.

What has been the most rewarding thing that has come from running your own business?

I love hearing about my clients’ successes, I love seeing how happy they are when they learn a new skill. I love being there for them when they have a low moment because I know this will make a big difference in their life.

Life Motto?

Focus on what you CAN do. There is always someone ahead of you, someone with more experience, a bigger budget, someone more connected. This doesn’t negate your worth and your purpose, so focus on what you CAN do

Finish this sentence: To be happy and successful, a woman should…

Be herself.

Pictured above: Vanja Stace and her client Christie Murray from Christie Millinery.

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