Interview with Designer Adolfo Sanchez: ‘The Pie is Big Enough’

By Kati Vereshaka, Epoch Times
October 17, 2013 Updated: October 17, 2013

Adolfo Sanchez is not your typical fashion designer or public relations agent, he is both.

As a relative newcomer to New York, he fits right in as an entrepreneur who thinks fast, thinks outside the square, and is willing to ride the growing waves of various social media to reach fashion followers instantly.

He shared with The Epoch Times his story of trial and error, and current growing success.

“We are not a traditional PR firm, we call ourselves a brand development firm. We literally manufacture for designers. A lot of these designers come to us with an idea and we guide them through the steps basically based on everything that I’ve been through.”

Starting Out as a Fashion Designer

Having worked in fashion retail at Gucci, Gianni Versace, and Roberto Cavalli stores, 10 years ago, Sanchez wanted to pursue a career in fashion design, despite lacking both the financial backing and the knowledge of how to go about it.

“I found out that it was really hard for a young designer to find a manufacturer, find a seamstress; and manufacturers didn’t want to touch me because I wasn’t doing 100 or 200 per style. It was really hard for me to find people that would work with me on small quantities,” recalls Sanchez, reflecting also on how things have changed now that everything is accessible through the Internet.

He found out the hard way the “how to” of everything about running a fashion company; from pricing wholesale versus retail, owning a corporation, market research, the pro’s and con’s of manufacturing domestic versus outsourcing, and all the unforseen building blocks to put in place a company.

“I didn’t know what the market was asking for, so I really kind of fell right on my face, a lot of times. And it took me a lot of money and a lot of trial and error to really figure it out,” said Sanchez, candidly, his voice subtly re-enacting the pent-up frustration of his formative fashion-designer years.

Launching Adolfo Sanchez

In 2006 he launched his namesake ready-to-wear line for women during which time Adolfo worked with a shoe designer who was in the same situation as he had been.

By default, he became first, a concerned helping friend, then gradually, an ongoing public relations mentor with a retainer and a plan for a more structured program of PR services. By word of mouth, his firm CREATIV, acquired more clients and now represents emerging designers based in the U.S. as well as UK, Europe, and the Middle East.

Recently CREATIV joined with Fashion Climaxx who have a following of one million on Instagram. CREATIV/Fashion Climaxx now have two showrooms in Los Angeles and New York City as well as manufacturers in Los Angeles for the designers that the company represents.

For Sanchez and his business partner Alexander Loza, there is no looking back.

“Especially in New York I find that publicists have been doing things the old school way, for a really long time. What we’re doing is that we are really taking advantage of social media and the new wave of PR, video streaming, vine.” says Sanchez, adding that he finds it “crazy” to think that you can turn a free social media platform, albeit one with a million followers, into a business that generates money.

A Whole New Way of PR

At the end of the day, the focus of any brand is recognition and sales, Sanchez says.

It is inevitable that “old school” will no longer cut it. PR companies no longer need to re-invent the wheel but simply get on the bandwagon, or in Sanchez’ case, create an all-inclusive new and improved bandwagon that takes you from A to Z—design idea, manufacturing, PR, and sales.

Not all designers approach the firm for all services. Some may be established designers overseas who want to break into the American market. However, traditional brands may have to look somewhere else for support. The firm is poised to pick fashion forward brands that fit the company philosophy because it is prepared to go the long haul to achieve success for the designer.

“There are so many young designers out there that are lost and a lot of them aren’t capitalized. Our whole goal isn’t to try to make money off a designer, and if they make it, they make it, and if they don’t they don’t, [it’s a case of] ‘move along.’ If a brand [we represent] is making more money, they’re going to feel more of a connection to us. Then, if we raise the retainer because we’re now doing more work for them and they are growing more successfully, we feel that we’re growing with them,” Sanchez explains.

As for those who are confused by the concept of being a designer as well as PR agent for other designers, in Adolfo Sanchez’ mind there is no conflict of interest. It is a natural progression from designer, to helping other designers and finally to reaping the fruits of the collective labor.

“I think the pie is big enough and I’m not: ‘attention is all on me.’ When somebody comes to the showroom and I walk them thorough, I tell them about O’Blanc the same way I tell them about me,” says Sanchez.