When it comes to harmonizing business and fashion, Anna Livermore, CEO of V.Mora does not mess around. She is the brains and beauty behind the fashion powerhouse that helps fashion savvy entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life. Not only does she help fashion designers strategize and bring their product to market, she lives a fast paced entrepreneurial lifestyle that many women dream of.
Anna discusses her inspiration for launching V.Mora, essential characteristics to become an entrepreneur, how to transform obstacles from a set back to a motivating challenge, and how she lives the Balanced Babe lifestyle.
BB: When did you develop a love for fashion?
As soon as I was old enough to dress myself. I was like 2. That love grew throughout high school. My grandma taught me to sew when I was 8, although I didn’t do it very well. I developed an APPRECIATION for fashion when I was 8. She was paralyzed from the neck down so teaching an 8 year old to sew was quite the task!
BB: When did you establish V.Mora?
January 2008. I didn’t know at the time that it would become what it was. I started as a buyer at a small Chicago boutique. Soon afterward, I took a job as a seamstress at a custom design shop and learned the in-depth, hands- on skill of making clothing from scratch. (And I learned well — the old Iraqi women who taught me to sew threatened to chop off my hands if I made mistakes.) After a stint as a patternmaker, I decided it was time to launch my own clothing line. To subsidize that venture, I worked out of my apartment as a freelance samplemaker and patternmaker for local Chicago designers. My clients would come to my apartment to pick up their products and end up talking for hours, picking her brain about buying.
I realized then that my real passion wasn’t to start my own line but instead to use my knowledge to help my clients’ dreams come true. V.Mora grew organically; I began offering more and more services to my clients, and the next thing I knew, I was hiring employees and giving them keys to my apartment. Before long, it was time to move the booming operation into a studio office space, and V. Mora was born.
BB: Have you found that it was hard to find a team to help you grow V.Mora?
I’ve learned a lot about myself and about managing a team and what works with my personality and what doesn’t. I have worked hard to develop a community and we are very careful to find the right person for the job so that’s taken a little trial and error but at this point my whole team is a team of ROCK STARS.
BB: How do you find individuals to bring on to V.Mora that have the same passions for the business as you do?
It’s not only about passion but also hard work. Being dedicated to V.Mora, the company as a whole and being committed to the success of the entire team. We’ve been fortunate enough to have been referred some incredible employees through word of mouth or friends. I only hire people that I want to be around everyday.
BB: What are the top 4 skills that are essential to being an entrepreneur?
GRIT. Humility and never thinking you know it all. Heart. You’ve got to be creative. The ability to think outside the box. Tap into your intuitive mindset. Don’t always follow or trust the way things were done before.
BB: What does a typical day look like?
I wake up, make myself a green smoothie and lemon cayenne tea and head to the gym. Making it to the gym is an essential part of my daily routine. Then I sit and have quiet time before I even check my email. After that quiet time, I’m thrown into a day that can throw anything at me. Whether it’s creating new programs to help designers, working with my coaching clients one on one or working with my staff, my days are usually packed from morning until night. Then I end my days with quiet time and meditation before bed. It’s important to structure my mornings and evenings because the days are crazy.
BB: How do you maintain the Balanced Babe lifestyle?
I take care of myself so I can take care of the company. Carving out personal time for myself. I do my 6 rocks ( the six essential items that need to be taken care of for any given day) and my grateful list in the morning. When my 6 Rocks are done, I let go of the rest. It’s a never ending to do list! I also trust that everything will get done when it needs to and there is always tomorrow. I had a breakdown a few years into starting my company and realized that if I didn’t take care of myself and change things, then I might as well work for a boss that I hated because what’s the point in running your own company when you’re just running yourself into the ground.
I pay attention to balance in all aspects of my life. I work in the fashion industry and balance it out by taking Brazilian Ju Jitsu. It is essential to my well being that I listen to my inspiration, trust my gut instinct and do what I want to do.
BB: How do you stay motivated to keep moving forward after an obstacle or set back?
Obstacles and set backs are what motivate me. And that’s not just rhetoric. As an entrepreneur, you have setbacks and obstacles constantly, what makes or breaks someone is how they grow and move forward from that.
BB: Let’s talk fashion – what are some fall/winter trends that you want to see more of on the streets?
Cloaks! I just bought the most beautiful cloak from Vince. Above all, I want to see people taking risks. IN NYC, people get dressed up to walk down the street. It’s inspiring! I want to see people having fun with the way they dress.
BB: What are your tips from transforming day time work-wear to evening glam?
Beyond a jewelry switch and putting on a pair of heels, my go-to transformation tool is RED LIPSTICK. Instantly transforms any look.
BB: How can professional women still dress to show their personality?
Adding in accessories is the best way to show your personality. Two women can wear a teeshirt and jeans and it could be two completely different outfits based on accessories. Pulling in things that are less traditional- cuts or lines, color and accessories. Making sure that they are dressing in a way that feels good to them.
BB: Any new projects or ventures that we will get a peek of in the near future?
We just revamped and relaunched the Designer Launch Intensive which teaches anyone, no matter who they are or what phase of development their in, the steps to launching their clothing line! You can go to www.designerlaunchintensive.com to learn more!