Wonder Woman Wednesday
Lady Bosses creating their own path.
We’re excited to profile inspiring businesswomen in Rockland County, NY, and Bergen County, NJ. These lady bosses have taken charge of their lives and launched exciting endeavors we’re sure you’ll want to hear about. Learn all about their businesses and the women behind them the 1st Wednesday of the Month on the blog!
Let me introduce the powerhouse that is our second featured lady boss! She knows her fashion, is friendly and oh so fun! She can come to you for a custom bra fitting or do it online with a virtual fitting. She can go through your closet and help decide what to keep, what to ditch, figure out what works together and even help you get what you need! Not only does she have the credentials and style to be your stylist, she has the brains and motivation that makes her a success!
Name: Martha Fickinger
Business Name: Style Venture Inc
Web Site: WbyWorth.com/Martha-Fickinger
Phone: (201) 519-8922
Social Media: Find me as Martha Fickinger on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. On Facebook, you will also find me under: W by Worth and Peach Presented by Style Venture Inc, Peach Underneath NYC, Jersey Peach.
Location: I host trunk shows in my home in Ridgewood, NJ, as well as hostess and charity events all over the tristate area. W by Worth has Manhattan showroom space in the Crown Building at 5th Ave & 57th Street where I see clients by appointment. The Bramobile is on the road several days a week.
Describe your business in 50 words or less. I help women to look and feel their best from the base layer up. My clients are diverse but they have some things in common. They need to look effortlessly put together for most any occasion. They are time-starved, and they’ve graduated from disposable fashion.
Why did you start your business? I grew up in a retail store and spent two decades in the garment center and in factories all over the world. Once I had my children, I didn’t want to be out of the country for extended periods of time. I’m always told that I’m good at styling for real life, I’m an awesome connector, and I’m devoted to local philanthropy. I get to leverage my whole skill set, and it’s great fun! My customers are loyal, and we become good friends.
What’s different about you versus your competitors? I don’t have a storefront, I don’t own any inventory to liquidate, my overhead is low, and I don’t get paid until you’re happy with your purchase. I will come to your closet and help you determine what to keep, what to donate, and what to restyle. I track purchases season to season so you can add on cost-efficiently.
What can your customers expect from you? I’m brutally honest. I’m not going to sell you something unflattering or costly per wear. I don’t advertise, so you’re my referral ambassador.
What was the last big milestone or benchmark you hit and how did you reach it? I attained Club Level, the rank of the highest performing W by Worth agencies, within a year of representing W and I’ve maintained it for six years. Last year I joined peach, and committed to the Fast Start program for sellers, and started building a team. I was recognized for my achievements at peach’s first annual conference in Miami in January.
What is the most misunderstood part of your business? There’s a misperception that anything that is marketed directly must be overpriced or inferior. The reality is that we take the retail middlemen and national advertising out of the equation and deliver more value and better service to the consumer. I take your feedback directly to my design team and they listen. You won’t get that in a mall or online.
You should not have to pay for a competent bra fitting. Please put your hard-earned dollars into technical fit, not sexy ambience. The largest retailer of intimate apparel puts a huge amount of money into a fashion show featuring gorgeous runway models under 35, few of whom have ever born a child. It’s no “Secret” – that isn’t relevant to what most of us need, which is intelligent service and experienced fitting. Eight out of ten women are wearing the wrong bra. If you haven’t had a professional fitting in a year, you are overdue. A bra wardrobe should cost you about 70 cents a day.
What part brings you the most joy? I put a woman in front of a mirror for a final fitting and they stand taller, look leaner, and exude more confidence – how cool is that? AND I get to give brand-new, designer-quality clothes, 100 pieces at a time, to nonprofit organizations who help women to get on their feet and provide for their kids. I am extremely grateful for everything I have and I love to give back.
What are the pros and cons of having your own business? You have to be prepared to structure your time and set your own goals. When you have a home office, it’s easy to get distracted. If you’re not working, there’s no revenue. I don’t get paid vacation time, but I have created the means to pay for some great trips! I’ve taken my family all over, and I choose when and where to work.
What do you wish you had known before starting a business? You have to be very tenacious and resilient. Something may work great one season and not the next. You have to be out in the community making new connections all of the time.
What is one piece of advice you can give to any woman starting her own business? I have several pieces of advice! Don’t personalize rejection. If someone tells you no, it means they are unwilling or unable to purchase what you are selling at this time. It doesn’t negate the worth of the goods or services you are offering. Don’t try to be everything to everybody, and don’t expect your best friends to be your best customers.
Any upcoming events or promotions you’d like to share? I’ll be showing W Spring and Summer by appointment in my home 3/30-4/6 and in the showroom through the month of April. If you haven’t shopped with me before, bring a friend and I will give you each $50 off your first purchase.
If you’d like to host a bra fitting for four friends or relatives, you’ll get half price items of your choice.
What motivates you? My kids motivate me for sure! I love to show them how to do well and do good. My customers are some of the most interesting and accomplished women around. I’m in awe of their skill sets, which are very different from my own. I’m motivated to help them project an image commensurate with their abilities.
Best time-management tips? Keep a punchlist. Do the most-disliked stuff first. Scan email once a day and answer what’s urgent. Don’t get stuck on social media. Scan it early on and then check in when you have downtime.
Where’s your happy place? On a beach in the Caribbean under an umbrella – but only for a week. Then I get stir crazy and there’s no place like home.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Chocolate, Bravo and fashion mags.
How do you spend your free time (if you have any)? I love to shop! Even recreationally. My husband is amazed there are women who don’t. Travel is always on the top of my list. I’m a recreational gardener.
If you are a mom, have you found a balance between home and family? If so, tell us how! You need to pick and choose a few things that are going to be meaningful and memorable for you and your kids. I was not that mom who logged in countless hours in the elementary school. I chose to volunteer in the library so I could see my boys learning and interacting with classmates. I chose to be a class parent to meet the parents and teachers. Parts of my house get very messy and I don’t cook every night, but I don’t miss any milestones.
What’s your all-time favorite book and movie (business or otherwise)? I have loved so many books! I especially like historical fiction, so I can learn a little something as I read a novel. I just saw Paula McLain speak and now I must finish “The Paris Wife” and get myself to a movie!
A favorite quote or expression that guides you? “Life is short – seize the day.”
I really enjoyed my time with Martha! Our little photo session lasted a lot longer than planned because she had so much to share and I was eager to listen. Not only is she a lady boss, but she is also about helping other women succeed not just with fashion, but with her savvy business advice. She is loyal and supportive and wants to help others find the success she has found.
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