Joe Zee on Qristyl Frazier

Her Challenge: Qristyl Frazier dubbed her plus-size collection “Plus Sexy” and in the world of fashion, we can definitely use more fashion-worthy plus size collections. This has been a market that I personally feel has been underserved with great fashionable options in recent years and Qristyl had the opportunity to step in there and be an integral part of that budding industry. But when I arrived, I instead, discovered a collection that was poorly made, ill-conceived and all over the place. She had a tiny e-commerce business but she was struggling. Just last year, she was homeless, shuffling back and forth on friend’s couches, contemplating closing down her business. Not quite the success barometer for a designer who has been in business for over 18 years.

Lesson Learned: In Qristyl’s case I wanted her to focus and delegate. Sometimes, the hardest part of running a company is letting go – of every minute detail. Empowering your staff with owning responsibilities – as well as focusing on a better executed, better conceived collection – was the only way Qristyl was going to move forward and find the success she was looking for. For me, I also learned something. In Qristyl, I could see a true example of real dedication and passion; passion that I’m not sure many others would have kept pursuing with all of her adversities. For every bump in the road Qristyl encountered, she forged forward because she just didn’t see her life encompassing anything but fashion design. And that’s what life is really all about.

Next Steps: Don’t settle. This is what I would tell Qristyl when we worked together and this is still what I would tell her now. Never settle for anything but the best, even if it means giving up certain duties in order to focus on the more important aspects of your business. Dividing your attention on the non-pressing aspects of your business will only keep your scattered than successful. Don’t settle for mediocre quality; don’t settle for an ok design; don’t settle for second best.