tee2A while ago, before we had our three kids and a ton of clothes, I used to be a busy, always-on-the-road, a Tel-Aviv fashion designer, and my life was a continuous cycle of work, clubbing, and dates.

The dates were with guys that all had a light sarcasm followed by a little bit of anxiety about talking to the fashion guru sitting across from them. “So what do you think of my outfit?” they ask as nonchalantly as they could. Because first of all, they needed an approval for the outfit they themselves picked to wear for the occasion. Secondly, in case they didn’t choose too well, the question was to clarify that fashion was below them and they didn’t make a fuss out of clothes. And thirdly, what in the world can you talk about with a fashion designer?

I was reminded of that dark time in my life a week ago when I met an executive in the high tech community, one that really made it big. Why did we meet? Because I’m in the middle of recruiting efforts towards the next step in the life of Co.co, and I am grateful for all who are willing to hear, understand, connect, suggest, and give some time to this effort, all the more so when they are willing to do so in our home at number 7 Salonika Congregation.

Such a man, when he encounters a variety of dresses, inspirations, and sketch boards describing the food chain of the garment, immediately apologizes, “I don’t know anything about fashion. I just get up in the morning, throw on jeans and a T-shirt, and leave for the office.” And that’s ok, because he’s already made it; And, because he’s a guy. And, he wasn’t summoned to advise my associate Dalia Kafuza, the preeminent designer, on the matter of summer dresses or the colors palette of shirts.

Such a man was called for help in order to see what he can bring from his world of expertise to the project at hand. As a part of these exciting sessions, I learned some new concepts that I would like to share with you:

Ecosystem – this term popped up a few years ago, but it seems that lately it has really become a trend. It refers to the environment in which the project is operating, and the supporting system around it – entrepreneurs, investors, developers, anyone who helps the project happen. For example in our fashion community, we called it the textile industry, and it included the fabric importers, owners of the sewing workshops, developers, fashion journalist and even PR agencies. Anything that can supports a fashion brand and allows it to grow.

Due to the process of globalization the industry fell apart: There are very few journalists who get paid for what they write, a small amount of importers survived, and even less sewing workshop exist today. The fashion Eco System today is making it very difficult for young designers and innovative brands to grow.

Seed Money – this is the initial money that someone is willing to give to an entrepreneur so that he could fund a startup and would be able to make the payments necessary. When you start a business, the majority of the things are done as favors, for free or for products. However, there are people who insist on being paid for their work or the product that they provide. For example, business cards that say, CEO & CO FOUNDER. Without it how will investors and customers know what to call you? In our industry, when someone wanted to build a new brand, the sources of money were (and remain) friends, the bank, or family. And we, so jealous of her, were gossiping that her father gave her the money. Even in high-tech the seed money comes from the same sources, just different name. In both cases, by the way, it’s a long way to recoup the investment.

Scaling – it refers to the way in which you can replicate a model, an idea or a product to a giant and global scale, so that the required investment will be greatly reduced in comparison to the growth potential. For example, the invention is an application that was developed by ten programmers and one hundred thousand people downloaded it, if you need to hire another fifty employees in order for a billion people to download the application, the scaling is not bad. Here, in our department, when someone had an idea to copy the designer models straight from the runway, and sell them at one-tenth of the price, it is considered a brilliant model. Later, when he opened one thousand stores around the world, which enabled him to order huge quantities and to pay for each item much less because all the production plants are happy to make twenty thousand red dresses, he became just a giant exploiter who violates workers’ rights. The scaling is meant to describe the potential for a great profit for investors, without mixing too much workers.

Iron Street – This is the beating heart of the local high-tech. In our industry, it is known as the street who housed weaving mills, coloring factories, spinning mill, printing plants and more. Many Hard working skilled laborers worked in these factories. Globalization made them expandable since much cheaper alternatives were found overseas. Today, “Iron Street” houses offices of leading organizations in the world, who employ programmers, project managers, developers and designers. But at the same time alternative professionals are rising overseas. And their biggest advantage for now is not being seen.

And there is no way or need to worry about their social conditions and fair wages. But beware, that one day even regarding cell phones and applications consumers will ask with blazing eyes: Where are your products manufactured? And then you will have to explain to them, that even if you wanted to produce everything in the country, it’s impossible to do it. Because of the aging machines, the retired professionals, the cost of employment is too high, and our daughters, who are responsible for 80 percent of the malls’ sales, do not know the difference between a designer’s dress that costs about $200 and chain stores’ dress that cost one fourth of that price.

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