Arielle Shapiro, the founder and owner of the New York-based sleepwear brand, Ari Dein, depends on the garment district to get things done. As a designer selected for the CFDA incubator, a highly selective two-year professional development program based in the New York garment district, Arielle Shapiro shares the same ambition of many in the fashion industry- starting their own line.
Arielle received an art history degree and studied abroad in Florence at Polimoda to get a technical foundation in her apparel education. However, Arielle strongly believes that her internships at Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors along with her first job at David Yurman truly developed her ability, taught her about the framework of a design office, and general day-to-day infrastructure.
What is your experience at the CFDA incubator like?
“The CFDA Fashion Incubator is a professional development program supported by an incredible network of fashion industry experts (specifically the Council of Fashion Designer’s of America) that are invested in helping its designers achieve the next level of success. Before we even moved our offices into the state of the art Garment Center facility, we collaborated with MBA candidates from Stern NYU to bring our historical documents up to snuff and formalize our business plans.
It’s great being a part of the business of fashion community and receiving the advice and mentorship we designers need to cultivate and grow our brands . Apart from being eye-opening, it’s a wonderful group of people.”
What is the most important thing to keep in mind while you’re designing?
“The most important thing is your identity and creating what is true to yourself. It shouldn’t be a copy or a simple trend- it has to express you. That is what will differentiate your product in the market place.”
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned during your experience as an entrepreneur?
“I love paying it forward because I feel so fortunate to be a part of the CFDA Fashion Incubator. Having an team of mentors who are so generous with their time and attention makes me hope to someday have an opportunity to share my experience and new-found knowledge with other new designers. I have learned not to overvalue press, to focus on distribution models that make the most sense for my product and not stick to the typical showroom or trade show model if there’s a chance to be creative and think outside the box. I’ve learned to look at business issues in black and white and to treat every hiccup as an opportunity to problem solve (It’s a good mind set to have). There are many issues to keep track of while running a business and it’s important not to get flustered about little things, but keep the big picture in mind.”