Earning

'Create a personal mission statement,' says Faviana CEO, to find purpose in your career

Faviana CEO Omid Moradi.
Courtesy Faviana

Kim Kardashian and Nicky Hilton Rothschild are just two of the many celebrities who have walked the red carpet dressed in Faviana.

But the label isn't exclusively for the rich and famous. Faviana wedding and prom dresses are available at more reasonable price points — around $200 to $500 — from retailers like Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus.

Getting room on the rack at department stores is a relatively recent achievement for the 31-year-old company. It was only 13 years ago that Omid Moradi, the CEO of Faviana, told fellow entrepreneurs of his plan. "At least two or three people said, 'That's never going to happen,'" Omid recalls. One year later, he proved the critics wrong.

"Defying the odds is in our company's DNA," says Omid.

Omid's mother, Shala, went to school in Iran to study pattern-making, despite policies that prevented many women from receiving an education. When the family fled the country after the revolution started in 1979 and moved to the U.S., they drew upon Shala's fashion design talents. They officially founded Faviana in 1988.

Kim Kardashian attends the Golden Nymph awards ceremony during the 2008 Monte Carlo Television Festival held at Grimaldi Forum on June 12, 2008, in Monte Carlo, Principality of Monaco. (Photo by Tony Barson/WireImage)
Tony Barson | WireImage | Getty Images

While working towards a bachelor's degree in finance and international business at New York University, Omid decided to pitch in. "We came together as a family and all took a piece of the business," he says. His part-time help over summer break quickly turned into a full-time role. And, for the past decade, he has served as CEO, helping the company expand and partner with over 1,000 global retailers.

Omid shared with Grow four of his best pieces of advice for succeeding as an entrepreneur.

1. 'Learn from the younger generation'

Omid learned to adapt quickly to new situations as a child. He was just 10 years old when his family immigrated to the U.S. and, over the next five years, the Moradis moved to five different U.S. towns before settling on Long Island.

His ability to embrace change helped Omid pivot quickly as the retail industry shifted from brick-and-mortar to online sales. One of the ways Faviana has continued to expand was by hiring younger employees and learning from them.

"Even if you're in touch with the times, there's still plenty to learn from the younger generation," says Omid. "Learn how to be more creative, find out the technology they're using, include them in your decisions so they're not just learning from you — you're learning from them."

Faviana founders Omid, Shala, Paul, and Navid Moradi.
Courtesy Faviana

Being open to new technology and hiring social-media savvy millennials has helped Faviana keep up with the times and market to younger consumers, including prom-goers. The label currently has 60,000 Instagram followers and 628,000 page likes on Facebook.

Omid makes it a point to give his younger employees a seat at the table so they can observe and learn the tricks of the trade. And he says his willingness to adapt and take risks helped set him up for success: "Making decisions out of fear doesn't serve anyone's interest. Change isn't something I'm afraid of. I have a strong belief everything will work out the best way possible."

2. 'Don't operate with blinders on'

If you want to grow your business, keep an open mind and acknowledge when someone else has a better solution to a problem you're trying to solve. Getting a diversity of opinions helps him see his business from a different perspective.

In other words, he says, "don't operate with blinders on."

Omid practices what he preaches, regularly attending and presenting his company's challenges at learning events to gain insight from entrepreneurs in other industries. At one such event, Omid admitted the company was struggling with publicity and marketing. In response, someone asked why the company wasn't investing in public relations to increase brand exposure.

Nicky Hilton Rothschild wearing Faviana.
Courtesy Faviana

"That very basic idea of hiring a PR firm never even crossed my mind," he says. "Within one year of hiring them, we were on Access Hollywood, on E! News, and on the front page of The New York Times."

Generating publicity has helped Faviana continue to grow his business by attracting celebrity clientele, dressing the likes of Teresa Giudice from "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," Andi Dorfman from "The Bachelor," and Ajiona Alexus, who stars in Netflix's "13 Reasons Why."

3. 'If you're just in business to make money, then what's the point?'

"I firmly believe every person, no matter if they're the CEO of a company or just starting their career, should envision what their life should be," says Omid.

To that end, he suggests figuring out your mission statement. "Mission statements give people clarity and a reason for existence. If you're just in business to make money, then what's the point? When we're able to help by donating ... or contributing to someone's life event, [our work] becomes more meaningful," he says. "It connects and empowers everyone."

A key part of Faviana's mission is to help and support women. So, "not only do we sell to women, but there are women behind the scenes who are running the show," says Shala, who is now Faviana's creative director.

Change isn't something I'm afraid of. I have a strong belief everything will work out the best way possible.
Omid Moradi
CEO of Faviana

Since another part of the company mission is to address environmental concerns in the fashion industry, a few weeks ago, leaders of the company met to discuss how they could start utilizing eco-friendly fabrics and factories for dressmaking.

Eliminating drama is another core Faviana value. Omid suggests creating boundaries in your relationships and separating your personal and professional feelings.

Omid and his brother, Navid, put this into practice every morning, when they commute by train from Long Island to their office in New York City. The brothers use their time on the train to catch each other up on their families and avoid shop talk. But as soon as Omid steps off the train, "he's a different person. He's all business," Navid says.

4. 'Set goals, dream big'

Whether you're the CEO of a company or just starting out, Omid says, clearly outlining your personal and professional aspirations can help you.

He uses a dream board to outline his biggest personal and professional goals. To stay organized, Omid breaks down his goals into three categories: family, work, and individual. From there, he designates them as quarterly or yearly goals. To hold himself accountable, he reviews each goal on a regular basis.

"If you're not specific about it, you're just walking the wilderness and have no direction," he says. "Set goals, dream big, and never let anyone tell you it's not possible."

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