You know Alyssa Milano from such shows as Who’s the Boss? and Charmed. What you may not realize is that she is also a leader in sportswear geared towards female fans. It all started at a Dodgers game. Milano was cold so she went into the stadium shop to find a sweatshirt. When she walked in, she couldn’t find any women’s clothing that wasn’t pink.
And I’m really offended by the pink, being a huge sports fan. I just didn’t understand why there was nothing in the team colors and everything looked like the cuts were cut for kids.
Milano didn’t buy anything that day. Instead she founded a company called Touch that specializes in licensed fan apparel that is flattering for a woman’s body – clothing made by a woman for women with nothing pink. Ten years later, she is leading one of the most successful clothing lines in sports. How did an actress with no prior experience make the shift into sportswear? Here are three leadership lessons that can benefit all of us.
Sell It Yourself
To pitch her clothing line, Milano hit the road.
That first year, I went with G-III [Apparel Group] to every stadium, to every sales meeting, because I felt like I didn’t want a sales man representing what the line was about.
Once you come up with a great idea, it is unwise to rely on others to pitch it for you…especially in its infancy stages. No one understands your product, intent, or objective like you do. So don’t sit back and let others interpret your thoughts. Cut out the middle man and be the front lines.
It would be easy for Milano to create a line of clothing and relax. After all, the logos of sports teams don’t change from year to year. But Milano is smart; she is preparing for the other companies that are ready to pounce on her great idea.
So to me, we are always staying a step ahead of what these corporations are doing as far as fan apparel.
She does this by remaining up-to-date on fashion trends. Milano is regularly experimenting with different fabrics, updating the styles and cuts of the clothing based on what’s in vogue, and remaining vigilant for potential encroachment. Leaders must also remain educated on current trends and anticipate change before it occurs. While this can be time consuming, it is a core component in how leadership provides value.
Make It Bigger Than You
For Milano, creating her company was more than having a non-pink Dodgers hoodie or earning a huge profit.
My mission was for other people to embrace what we were doing. It wasn’t just about me. I was fighting for females who love sports. That was super vital to me, that we had a voice and that people were listening because we made up half the audience.
Leadership involves inspiring others to act for a “greater good.” To do this, you need a mission statement. Not a bunch of words to hang in the conference room, but a real goal that motivates people to follow you. Think big.