Interview with Anna Lynett

Anna Lynett was born in 1986 on a US Military base in Heidelberg, Germany and raised in the great state of Wisconsin. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking. Anna relocated to Los Angeles after graduation and began designing garments as a response to an employment necessitated wardrobe upgrade. What began as an experiment in fabrics quickly resulted in the creation of a developed collection and in 2009 Anna was cast as a designer on Season 7 of Project Runway. She keeps her love of contemporary art alive as a printer at Gemini G.E.L. and can be found laboring in her studio most of the time.

How did you become an entrepreneur? When did you get started?

I began designing garments in Fall 2008 in response to a shift in wardrobe from casual to business. As I searched for pieces to supplement my wardrobe, I became disappointed in what was available. As a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, I was freshly endowed with a perspective that asked me to fill a void I see in the design world, and from that initial problem, a vision was born.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

One of my favorite aspects of being a creative entrepreneur is feeling empowered that I have this product entity outside of myself that I believe in and can promote. If I were working to gain money just for my own benefit it wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying, but to create a unique design solution feels like an aesthetic and functional contribution.

What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

I certainly have had to make sacrifices in time and truly commit to spending much of my free time in my studio working on samples or sourcing fabrics. I have also maintained a full-time job while designing garments; so devoting extra hours to pursue my own endeavor has been a challenge.

What do you think is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

I suppose entrepreneurs possess a certain confidence and singularity of vision that is unique. They are unafraid to risk everything in order to pursue their goal and often they are not crippled by fear of failure.

What was the most crucial thing you have done to grow your business?

My business would not exist in the same way without my RISD education, which provided support at a formative time in the development of my artistic identity. I think my design education endowed me with certain set of intangible, translatable skills that I can carry across varied media and disciplines.

How do you define success?

Often I think success in a project is much more related to the method and grace of execution, as well as the intensity of rigor, than the actual product created. Ambitious people tend to be so results-oriented they forget that the bulk of time creating a product is in the process, and decisions made along the way affect the eventual outcome.

How important have “good people” (partners and employees) been to the success of the company?

“Good people” in the form of mentors and peers have been immensely important and provide constant feedback and criticism. Partners and employees are not yet a part of the equation.

Jeff Bezos once said that "If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful." What are your thoughts on that quote?

Wear-ability is at the forefront of my design work and I feel that clothing fails if it does not function on average women navigating their daily lives. I value client satisfaction to a high degree and work to understand the requirements and desires of my target customer with every new line.

Donald Trump once said “Confidence can get you where you want to go, and getting there is a daily process. It’s so much easier when you feel good about yourself, your abilities and talents.” What are your thoughts on that quote?

To a certain extent I believe that entrepreneurs are good at telling others about who they are, and that can be as simple as believing they have the authority to do so. I have seen very talented designers struggle to present their work and less talented designers push their work into the limelight. Often the value and notoriety of a product can be generated just as the work itself is generated, and value is based more on enthusiasm and tenacity than intrinsic quality.

Charles Schwab once said that "The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is not likely to make money nor find much fun in life." What are your thoughts on that quote?

I completely agree. I think that more exciting results occur naturally as the product of an engaged and passionate process.

Excluding yours, what business or company do you admire?

I admire Apple’s exciting recent innovations. I think Apple has created products so seamless they fold effortlessly into daily life and serve to facilitate a higher quality of life. Their computers and sound devices provide visual and auditory experiences for its users and appeal to their emotional needs.

What advice would you give an entrepreneur who is just starting out?

Seek mentors that are able to provide support and resources. Be patient in the pursuit.

Company Description:

Independent Women’s Apparel Company



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