Published in: The Journal
Author: Vincenza Previte
Unlike many designers who spend most of their time focusing on basic clothing, designer Vivek Nagrani focuses on details. He believes fine dressing begins when one starts paying attention to specific clothing aspects before seeing the attire as a whole.
Nagrani was invited by the Webster University School of Business & Technology to be part of the 2009-2010 Success to Significance Speaker Series. "The Power of the Handshake" was the speech Nagrani gave at Woody's Men's store on Clayton Road Nov 18.
"If you look at men in the past, their socks and their pocket squares were all pieces of art," Nagrani said. "It is details that separate gentlemen from the average."
Benjamin Akande, dean of the School of Business & Technology, said that Nagrani was invited not only to talk about keys to success, but also to tell his story.
"I wanted him to tell a story about entrepreneurship, innovation and ideas. He did that tonight," Akande said. "I believe he has gradually turned into a defining force in fashion."
Nagrani founded "The Ovadafut Hosiery Company" 10 years ago. At first, the brand had few followers. However, gradually it got recognition among retailers. Today, the Ovadafut brand has gained trust and respect as a luxury brand for men. Recognized for its quality, the company has created socks, underwear and T-shirt collections.
"Nagrani touched important matters that are helpful for anyone who is starting a business in these times," said Mario Santander, a graduate MBA student. "He emphasized on the quality of a product and not in its price."
Santander said Nagrani reinforced the idea that one should always pay attention to both the product and the customer in order to have a successful business and not just temporary wealth.
Nagrani has experimented very little with women's clothing, claiming the women's market is more difficult to please, yet in the future, he plans to expand men's clothing, always putting quality above all.
"I want to expand into general men's clothing, but only where I can be the best," Nagrani said.
Nagrani said the basics steps towards succeeding in a business are intuition, engagement and execution. Above all, the manufacturer has to respect the customer and create a relationship based on respect in order to succeed.
"It's not about business, it's about a relationship," Nagrani said.
Nagrani is constantly looking for ways to engage his consumers and manufacturers, whether it's engaging with them on a personal level as friends or reinventing his collections.
Nagrani doesn't believe success comes by making a product of poor quality, then selling the product at specialty stores.
"You have to be a bigger person when making business," Nagrani said. "I focus on the integrity of the product."
Nagrani said that over the years, his success has changed him and made him a better person. He still considers himself to be a humble person.
"Return to Truth," Nagrani's latest collection, follows his motto.
"The truth is what matters now. It's grotesque to be opulent and show off," Nagrani said. "All the credit cards, all the bogus stuff is gone and we've return to a time where friendship matters, integrity matters and the handshake matters."
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