The road to success is rarely a straight line, but some footwear entrepreneurs’ routes took especially winding turns. Ambitions that started in one place ended up somewhere very different.
Here, Ivanka Trump reveals how she went from real estate to retail.
What I thought I’d do in life:
I’ve known since I was a little girl that I wanted to be in real estate and join my family’s business. I remember being in college and the tremendous anxiety that many of my peers felt when they had reached the end of school and had no idea where to go next. I had anxiety about the fact that I didn’t have anxiety! It lasted until I started working and realized that I had been correct — I’m doing what I was made to do.
The moment that changed things:
Having my own fashion label wasn’t something I set out to do — my passion has always been tied to real estate. That said, as a woman in a very male-dominated industry, I began noticing that there wasn’t a brand speaking to me and other women like me. There was a stigma around the “working woman” that didn’t allow her to express her personal sense of style. I decided to create a brand designed to celebrate women who work, in all aspects of their lives.
My biggest obstacles in the shoe world:
I grew up learning and appreciating real estate, so launching a new brand in an entirely different industry was a challenge. I had to learn quickly how to be competitive in a retail environment.
Advice for my younger self:
Work hard, stay humble and ask lots of questions.
Would I do anything different?
Honestly, no. I believe that you learn as much, if not more, from your failures as you do from your wins. Perspective and experience are essential. If you learn something in the process of a setback and it sharpens you for future endeavors, then the experience has been valuable. Learn from your mistakes and make sure not to repeat them.