Thursday, April 15, 2010

Private Interview with Marie Hatzis....Designer & Creator of the Hussy Brand

They say that women are the stronger of the two sexes. Through interviewing some of Australia's most remarkable women I have seen first hand the way in which they reach for their goals and work to create a life that is meaningful in every way possible.

I have always wondered how some women are able to "have it all". To build an empire, to be there for their loved ones and to build a family amongst all the chaos and challenges presented in the world of business? Some of us struggle to keep two things going at the same time yet for some such as Marie Hatzis, designer & creator of the Hussy Brand who at the time of being interviewed was nursing her new born baby whilst growing the empire which she has built from the ground up. The true secret is to surround yourself with people who support you, your vision and your dream.

From humble beginnings in 1995, Sydney-based Marie Hatzis created the Hussy label at the tender age of 21 with just $2,000 in her pocket and a healthy combination of ambition, drive and a sense of adventure. Over the past 14 years, she has built the company into a multinational organisation, with an export arm spanning 11 countries and representation from showrooms and publicists from Sydney to London, Dubai and Los Angeles.

I have had the pleasure of watching the Hussy Brand grow into the success story that it is today. From the very first store in South Dowling Street to now dominating the chic locations with her beautifully decked out flagship stores in Cavill Avenue, GPO Melbourne and the shopping mecca of Seminyak in Bali.

This woman is truly an inspiration and I am privileged to be able to share her story with you.....
Where were you born?

Where did you grow up?
Seaforth – northern beaches

Current city?

Favourite designer - why?
Loved Alexander Mcqueen – especially after I managed to see one of his early shows in London in 1995. He really was a true genius at fashion!

How do these fashion brands/designers empower women?
I think it allows a certain type of woman to feel comfortable expressing themselves through their clothing and personal style – thus, quite empowering!

Favourite charity?
Heart foundation. My father died of heart failure and I feel like I wasn’t aware enough of his condition at the time his heart eventually failed. There needs to be so much more education so that we can force our parents to change their lifestyles at an earlier age so that they can live longer.

Favourite holiday spot – why?
Greece – my parents are Greek and took my sister and I holidaying there many times when we were younger. There is no other spot in the world like it! I love the contrast of the Mediterranean colours as well.

Favourite resort/place to stay -?
Maldives – Huvafen Fushi. Ultimate deluxe tropical island holiday topped off with your own bungalow butler!…and absolute slice of heaven!

Things you love and cant live without?
My family.

You have a brand which empowers women….What has been the inspiration behind the brand and how do you feel that what you create has the ability to help women?
I feel that when the hussy customer buys the label, they are after making an impression. Either for themselves or onto others – it doesn’t matter, the point is – they will ALWAYS make in impression in HUSSY.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I generally view what is going on around the world in fashion, but also vintage stores and mix it up with how my gorgeous friends and the women that work for me would carry off the look – and this is how the designs start their evolution.

How did you start out?
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the women that I work with, I love watching the women that I dress and how confident they look in my designs and how much it changes their persona when they are wearing the hussy look. And I also love the fact that I have a new wardrobe every season…!

What do you feel is your calling and how do you achieve it through your art and work as a designer?
I think that I have managed over 15 years to juggle running a business and creatively directing the Hussy label something to be extremely proud of. It is not easy to do the two at the same time and most designers will have business heads running their company or vice versa. I concentrated for many years to accentuate and flatter the female body – but also providing our hussy fans with cutting edge styles.

What other professions have you tried and when and how did you know that this was your calling?
I don’t know what else to do except for this – I was working towards this since the age of about 8 whilst playing designer with my mum and my Barbie dolls.

Who has influenced your career and how?
My mother started me on this track at a young age when she helped me dress my barbies. I learnt how to sew at school. I have been influenced by other successful women and successful designers such as the Zimmerman girls for example.

How did you go about achieving your level of success? We want the secrets….
Worked REALLY hard! For a really long time!
Perseverance and persistence pays off. Believing in your team and backing them. Letting go a little so that I can work ON the business instead of IN the business all the time, this gives me a new perspective.

What do you believe is the reason you are where you are today?
As I said perseverance and persistence – keep on kicking that ball! We keep learning from our mistakes and trying to perfect the recipe – and this helps a lot. The stronger the team – the better the product becomes too.

What is success to you?
Success to me is being able to work away from the business as I am at the moment. Taking some time to be something else in my life – a MUM and the business to still keep on thriving by selling to the TOP stores around the world and also opening new stores locally.
I think that in current times, if you are still in business and moving forward and growing, you are successful!

What do you believe are the keys to success?
A happy family, good friends, stable home, passion etc and how have those things been instrumental to your success at work and in life.
absolutely word for word…! I also think that a healthy mind and body allows for the spirit to take you to the next level in business.

What has your success enabled you to do? What other goals and dreams has it allowed you to pursue?
I feel that success draws you to other successful people, like attracts like as they say, so therefore my dream and goal of having an amazing husband and being a successful mother and wife is being fulfilled everyday.
Success also enables you to be drawn to others in business as well that inspire me to become more successful. I meet these people everyday – either through my travels or in my office! I find this very exciting as I love to learn about what makes these people tic.
I have also managed to see so much of the world and so many different cultures through either travelling for my work or through the well deserved holidays we have – work hard….play hard!

Was success a choice or something that just happened? What conscious decision did you make to get to where you are today?
I have always wanted to be successful and I feel like I haven’t even started yet!
I remember writing a report at college of wanting to be and do all the things that I have done today – except making the HUSSY fragrance…but maybe that is something to keep working towards!

How do you balance being a mother, a designer and running a number of successful stores across Australia?
I am not sure how I do it – but it does require the help of many many capable hands and a lot of pre organization.

What keeps you going?
The bills I have to pay! Ha!
No – really – its more the ambition and passion of everyone that works at hussy, I cant help but have it rubbed off on me! I also feel that although others may think we are successful, I am never satisfied that this is enough – so I strive for higher highs all the time!

Have you had a mentor along the way and who inspires you most and why?
My husband has been a good mentor for me and his work ethic has definitely rubbed off on me. I have also got some amazing friends who also have their own fashion brands or work in the industry that also inspire me when we sometimes do talk about business.
I also love reading or watching movies about historical fashion icons such as Coco Chanel.

Who would you most like to meet and why?
Probably Karl Lagerfeld – just because I am curious at how he has physically managed to work in so many fashion houses and have so many projects going at the same time! He must have 1000 assistants!

What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
Location, location, location

What difficulties and challenges have you faced to get to where you are and how did you turn them around?
My god – there were sooooo many!!! I guess the biggest one is the financial side of the business. Its always a struggle to fund the growth of a fashion brand on its own. I am proud to say that we have done this to date.

When things were tough and there were moments where you doubted yourself and the path you were traveling on? How did you overcome the doubts and what did you do?
There was a time in the very early days where my accountant told me that I would make more money by washing dishes in a restaurant….so I felt completely disheartened. I sat my parents down and told them – it was ALL too hard…and I just couldn’t do it anymore. They had their cheque book open and offered to help which I turned down politely, but their emotional support inspired me to go on. They told me to do whatever made me happy. The next day – a shop on South Dowling St came up for lease and the landlord turned out to be the man that took the wedding photo’s of my parents at their wedding 38 years before in that very same shop! I took this as an omen and never looked back. A shop took my business to the next level it needed.

What has been your strategy when things got tough personally and professionally?
Sometimes it’s as simple as a girls night out [pre babies…!] to blow off some steam. Or a good holiday is always a great band-aid. But the best thing I found is going to Bali for my designing trips – this allowed me some ME time away from the business, my personal life and allowed me to also get my creative juices flowing – which in turn reminds me why I am in this business to begin with! Bali has been my savior over and over again!

If you could say one thing to women out there to inspire them on their journey to success what would it be?
Try and watch for signs – learn from mistakes and don’t despair – persevere with your passion and learn from other successful women!

Do you have a favourite quote you would like to share with us and what it means to you?
You get enough sleep when you are dead…
You need to put the hours in to succeed in business initially – so find the energy to get the hours in you need to to make it a success.

Perfectly said.....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

msn live traffic
Latitude E6500