Startup Fashion Week was created in 2014 to celebrate, support and connect startups in Fashion, Fashion-Tech and Wearable-Tech. We had the pleasure of attending last year and cannot wait to do it all over again this October.

From runway presentations to notable guest speakers and special presentations, SFW has a lot to offer. So whether you’re breaking into the biz, looking for guidance and mentorship, or interested in connecting with like-minded peeps – you’re in for a loaded and inspiring week.

One of the events we’re most looking forward to is the Business of Fashion Conference, happening on Tuesday, October 4th with Joanna Track. This woman is a POWERHOUSE who has created several highly successful start-ups, including eLuxe and SweetSpot, which began as a side hustle. We caught up with her last week.

SDTC: What do you hope young designers/innovators take away from Startup Fashion Week?

JT: I hope participants will be inspired, yet also take away valuable business information to support them in their endeavours.  There is a roster of incredible speakers with incredibly diverse backgrounds, from various aspects of the fashion industry, so I know there will be invaluable nuggets of learning to be gained from everyone’s experiences and stories.

What three qualities do you most attribute to your success?

  • My diverse work experience – I have done so many different jobs across so many industries.  I think that experience has allowed me to really understand how businesses work, what my strengths are, and what I most enjoy doing.
  • Analytical skills – I’m a math major (really!) and while I don’t use Calculus in my everyday life, I think my mind has been trained to problem solve in a very rational and efficient manner.  Also, every business comes down to the numbers, and I have a very good handle on those.
  • Perseverance – even when the odds are all stacked against me, I still keep going!

What was your career trajectory to get where you’re at now?

Like I said, I majored in Math in university!  So it took a lot of zigs and zags to get where I am now.  I went on to do my MBA in Finance but soon realized that while I excelled in those subjects I wasn’t passionate about them.  So I took a turn and got an entry level marketing job, worked my way up that ladder in a few companies, then branched out on my own with Sweetspot in 2004.  The rest as they say, is history!

What’s the most rewarding part about your career? Most challenging?

The most rewarding part of my career is mentoring people and watching them grow.  I’ve had a number of people who came to work for me straight out of school who are still with me now.  And those who aren’t are still in touch, and it means the world when they tell me I’ve positively impacted their career.

The most challenging is also people.  Having the “uncomfortable” conversations never get easier, but over time I’ve become better able to cope with it.

How are you participating in Startup Fashion Week this year?

I will be speaking on the topic of Learning from Failure.  I’ve learned a lot!

Startup Fashion Week runs from October 3rd to October 7th across multiple venues in Toronto. You can purchase passes and tickets HERE