A fashion staple since the late 1980s, Faviana has proved its staying power. CEO Omid Moradi discusses how the brand has grown since its inception and how the company plans to utilize what it has learned along the way to keep growing.
The swish of taffeta, the swirl of satin – that’s the personification of Faviana. This New York City-based company started in 1988 and creates special occasion attire with serious a “wow” factor.
In Latin, Faviana means “to inspire,” which is what CEO Omid Moradi aims to achieve with each gorgeous garment.
Moradi’s educational background, however, is not in fashion. He graduated from New York University with degrees in finance and international business. Faviana was the family business and he joined after graduation – and it was a perfect fit.
“Since then, we have been able to increase the business profitability tenfold and foster partnerships with over 1,000 global retailers, such as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. Our main mission is to help women feel good about themselves. Faviana has a modern take on classic elegance and femininity, and our core message is to surround women with empowerment and inclusivity. We emphasize the importance of body positivity by designing dresses that highlight the best features of all women.”
To achieve that goal, the line has incorporated a wide range of sizes – from 00 to 24W.
Additionally, the company selects one female-focused charity each month to support. It has raised money for breast cancer research and donated prom dresses to local dress drives.
“We choose exceptional organizations that share our mission,” says Moradi. “Last May, we partnered with Glam4Good, an empowerment platform that creates and celebrates inspiring stories of transformation that ignite positive social change through style.”
Giving back allows Moradi the opportunity to engage with the community as well as staff, clients, family and friends. And getting a credit card with an interest rate far lower than what he used to have has helped the business flourish.
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Can you take me back to the beginning of the business?
When Faviana was first established, we realized that we were not aligned with our former business partners, whom we amicably parted ways with shortly afterward.
We were heavily in debt, which was paid off in the first official year of business. Fortunately for our company, we used this as an opportunity to start fresh.
Did you use credit cards over 30 years ago?
We did use credit cards at that time, but they had outrageous interest rates. So, we eventually discontinued them.
So, you replaced them with better credit products?
Yes, we now use American Express business credit cards. More specifically, we have the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express. It offers fair rewards (such as double rewards points for each dollar spent on eligible travel purchases and one point for every dollar spent on everything else) and flexible spending limits.
We can also track and manage employee spending with no additional fee for the Employee Business Green Rewards Cards (a program that issues cards to authorized workers, and the points they earn go to the primary account holder).
What are some common charges and how do you manage the account?
We typically use the card for a wide range of expenses – including marketing, operations, production, information technology, new software, team-building activities and booking flights to visit our retailers and factories in China.
However, for account management, we prefer to remain debt-free. It’s important to us. We’ve experienced hardship when we first launched the business and work extremely hard to refrain from being in that position again.
Any upcoming plans for the business you can reveal?
Sure! We are working toward opening new distribution channels to reach new audiences. Our plan is to continue expanding the Faviana brand while staying true to our core values. In the next year, we would also like to focus on implementing eco-conscious initiatives.
Looking back, do you have any regrets?
Not at all. If we didn’t learn from the mistakes we faced, we wouldn’t be one of the top designer dress manufacturers in the world right now. It takes trials and tribulations to succeed in business – especially in the fashion industry.
What is your advice to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Even if you’re in touch with the times, there’s still plenty to learn from the younger generation.Learn how to be more creative, find out the technology they’re using, include them in your decisions so they’re not just learning from you – you’re learning from them.
I believe in a healthy work-life balance. When I am not in the office, I do not check work emails so I can spend quality time with my wife and four kids. It’s important for me to set time aside to connect with them as well as my employees.
As for finances, Faviana is a self-funded company. But for the last three years, we’ve borrowed funds during a three-to four-month period where we had heavy production coming in. What I’ve learned is that if you can refrain from borrowing money from loans, do that!