The world has always doubted the leadership qualities and decision-making skills of women. However, with time, we are now getting to see more and more women in leadership roles in different industries. Woohoo!!
Now, when it comes to the world of fashion, did you know it is a male-dominated industry? There are only a few women CEOs who are leading the fashion brands – be it for men or women.
Meet Natalie Kouzouyan, the CEO of Hollywood Suits, a menswear brand that offers the best deals for all types of suits. As the CEO of Hollywood suits, Natalie has taken the company to the next level, expanding their business successfully. She is one of those ideal CEOs with whom we all wish to work for or become one- energetic, creative, and compassionate.
The Voice Of Woman had an exclusive interview with none other than Natalie Kouzouyan, the woman behind the booming Hollywood suits.
Keep on reading to know more about her and her leadership style!!
How would you like to define yourself as a CEO and as a person?
My policy as CEO and for all the team leaders and supervisors in my company is to be extremely hands-on. You will get the best work out of people if they see that you are willing to dive in and do the work as well!
I try to be compassionate yet direct and straightforward in all business relations within my organization and externally. I have an open-door policy at the company – no subject is off-limits. I tell everyone to come to me with questions, concerns, ideas, dreams, EVERYTHING! I know if roles were reversed I would want the same treatment.
The world always has doubted the capabilities of women as leaders. Being the CEO of Hollywood suits, how would you like to counter this notion of people?
Not only am I a female CEO, but I am also a female CEO in a male-dominated industry that deals with Men’s Formalwear & Readywear! I’m very good at what I do! As women, we tend to pay more attention to detail which is a huge advantage in this industry. Additionally, I have a quick fashion sense, so I am always able to think of trends before they hit the men’s market, which keeps us one step ahead of our competitors.
Tell us about a bad day at work and your mantra of dealing with such challenges at work?
I am a problem solver! I sometimes get overwhelmed with the amount of work I take on daily rather than the number of problems I’m presented with daily. My mantra is “one thing at a time”. I lean on my team for help. As previously mentioned, I like to treat my team as a support system – I for them and them for me, so I lean on to them when I need to and when I can.
I am generally a creative person. I live for creating new collections and new season merchandise drops, so that really gets my creative juices flowing. As far as productivity goes, I’m always pushing my team for maximum productivity so I feel that to ask for that, I must lead by example. Plus a cup of coffee or two helps!
We would love to know about the work culture of your company.
It’s really great! We’re a vertically integrated company with our sister company. We have our wholesale division and our retail division which is broken up into 4 branches, brick and mortar, and eCommerce – everyone at both companies works as a team.
The fashion industry has very few women as CEOs. Why is it so, and why should more women be given the leadership in this industry?
I don’t think more women should be “given” leadership roles. I think more women should go for what they want in their professions and if what they want is a leadership role, then they should be given the role if worthy! Work hard for it, prove yourself, and make it happen!
As a CEO and as a woman, what are the changes you wish to see in the fashion industry?
Personally, I would like to see more sustainability in the men’s clothing industry. I am working on ways to implement that as we speak!
Additionally, I would like to see more women working their way to the top. I personally have been in the apparel industry my entire life, and since I started with the company more than 10 years ago, I now know several women heading large companies.
They started as assistant buyers and moved to buyers and then GM and now CEO of large men’s clothing companies and I know it because they worked hard to get there, not because they were “given” leadership roles. I am happy to see that evolution and I really hope to see this growth of women leadership continue.
How do you deal with your competitor brands in the industry?
Well! This is a tricky question because like I said we have two companies. We have a wholesale division and retail divisions. Our wholesale company, Giorgio Cosani inc. actually manufactures for a lot of my competitors on the retail side.
Our wholesale company is one of the largest privately-owned men’s tailored clothing manufacturers in the world and so, therefore, a lot of my competitors are our wholesale companies’ customers. I don’t consider myself a competition because that would just be unfair! 😉
What’s next for Hollywood Suits?
With this new post-pandemic world we’re settling in, I think the only thing to do as a company in the apparel industry is to roll with the changes. The apparel industry is severely affected by covid-19, because who is buying clothes now? Let alone men’s suits?
So you have to evolve, roll with the changes and keep up, otherwise, you’ll be left behind and before you know it, you’ll be forgotten. I’m keeping our company alive with new innovative fabrics that are not typically seen before in men’s traditional formalwear and doubling down on our eCommerce platform.
What advice would you like to convey to all the women who will be entering the male-dominated industry?
Be kind, and be confident. If you work hard and you believe in your work then it will be effortless to stand by it. Stay on top of the news in your industry so you don’t fall behind, you always need to be a valuable asset to your teammates. And don’t be too hard on yourself!
Be proud of your hard work, and celebrate all the accomplishments because you actually did it!