How Michael Strahan Learned the Hard Way Not to Let Other People Run His Business

In the fashion and entertainment world, it has become a familiar song and dance: a celebrity launches a fashion or beauty project and claims to be heavily involved in every step of the process.

In reality: The level of a celebrity’s involvement can range from selecting materials and designing products to simply showing up at a launch event and smiling in front of a step-and-repeat.

But NFL Hall of Famer and television host Michael Strahan — whose latest ventures include a menswear line with JCPenney — said a sour business deal a few years ago taught him to take a very active role in any project that bears his name.

“I trusted other people’s instincts more than I trusted my own, and I was not as involved [in the project] as I should’ve been because of that,” Strahan said during a panel discussion at the WWD Men’s Wear Summit in New York City on Tuesday. “When it failed, I got all of the blame for the failure.”

This time around with JCPenney — which launched his collection of suits and ties in in fall ’15 and dress shoes a year later — Strahan made history his greatest teacher: “I’m completely involved in everything that we do — the fabrics, the lapels, the buttons, the feel, the texture and fit,” he explained. I said: ‘If something’s going to fail, and [I’m involved], then I could accept that easily. And if it succeeds, I could accept the credit without feeling like I’m a fraud because I wasn’t involved.”

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