Business of Fashion Conference - SFW Montreal

Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova

When I first came to Montreal, honestly, I did not know what to expect. I mean, I love fashion and love to chat with people who are from the fashion industry and have similar interests as I do. I wanted to make some contacts, know more about the culture here, meet local designers, bloggers or photographers. As time goes by, I am happy to say that I have already attended so many interesting events where I met lots of talented people! 

In today's article I would like to present you my experience with SFW Montreal - namely the Business of Fashion Conference event where Jodi Goodfellow, the founder of SFW, and Elise Gasbarrino, the founder of, hosted amazing speakers. Enjoy it!

Photo credit: SFW official site

Before we start with presenting the speakers, I want to ask you something...

"Do you ever think of what you really want to do in your life? What is your true passion, not only some ordinary work with boring duties and no fun? Are you affraid of failing? Are you living your dream and are you happy with your life? Is your dream and determination so strong you can keep moving and work hard on yourself every day? And - did you tell to yourself that you can do it no matter what?" 

These questions are really important for you to find yourself as an unique personality, to find your right career path and to be happy, as well. Do you think that you can not do it because you did not attend the school of the field you want to work in? You could learn every day by yourself. People are learning during their whole life. Nowadays, the choice of possibilities is endless. Of course, you will make a lot of mistakes, but thanks to them you will get stronger!
Thanks to the following speakers I have realized I am on the right way to achieve what I want. I appreciated their life stories, meaningful advices and friendly attitude.

 Firstly, I would like to introduce you three women, who inspired me the most - Sonia Zarbatany, Rachel Schultz and Jodi Goodfellow.

Sonia Zarbatany, President of Vince Camuto Canada, Business & Success Coach

 Sonia Zarbatany, President of Vince Camuto Canada ; Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova
Sonia is an incredibly energetic woman and inspirative girlboss. Except for being President Vince Camuto in Canada, she works as a Business & Success coach, too.  When I listened to her speech I really started to think differently as I have realized  the importance of things I did not find so important before. For example, she gave us lots of valuable advices, speaking especially about  fashion designers - what is the main point in their successful business and also how to stay focused and have a plan for everything. One thing is to be creative and talented person whose designs people love; however the other thing is business - read money earning. 

"You have to understand the business of fashion, you have to have your own business plan, define your target market and have everything under your control", she said. Sonia also pointed out that if you are taking it seriously, designing clothes is not only your hobby anymore. You need to think more economically and build your brand in small steps, but very carefully. For instance, you need to learn how to grow your collection, how to show your potential and of course, how to make a profit (for example, the price points strategy she was speaking about sounded as a very interesting theory to me).

Even though I am not a fashion designer, this presentation gave me a lot - you know, I want to grow and make my own business, too! The most important thing, according to her, is to find what part of business fits you the best. Plan your days properly and do not waste your time! 

Rachel Schultz, founder of Rachel Schultz Cosmetiques

Rachel Schultz, founder of Rachel Schultz Cosmetiques; Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova
No doubt, every woman wants to look and feel beautiful. It is unbelievable what can makeup do with our confidence. Somebody could say that the natural beauty is the best one so woman does not need to use makeup, but let's be honest - as a woman, you may see it differently. I do not want to say that we should hide our faces under tons of makeup, wear all those fake enhancements and forget to be ourselves. What I want to say is - if you feel more you with fake lashes, highlighter or brighter lipstick, why not to use them? It is your face and you should do everything what makes you feel satisfied. When you love yourself, people will love you, too. This is why I loved Rachel´s speech so much.

Rachel told us her story about how she started her own business with her brand called Rachel Schultz Cosmetiques four years ago and that she loves to bring confidence to people. She was always in love with cosmetics and after years and years of working for numerous cosmetic companies, she had realized she wants to run a business on her own. Her goal is to make feel women pretty. Generally, it is hard to trust another people, start your own company and be really good in it. She started working hard and one of the things she was doing was posting her before and after makeup looks on Facebook. Then you need to learn how you can drive your traffic and build a strong team.

And as the icing on the cake - Rachel also runs her own school where she and her team will help you to achieve your dream job and acquire the necessary skills and confidence in today's beauty industry!

Jodi Goodfellow, Founder of Startup Fashion Week

Jodi Goodfellow, founder of Startup Fashion Week; Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova

When I started to think of being a part of SFW Montreal, I found many articles about Jodi and her beginnings. I just told to myself - "Wow, what a strong person she  must be!" When I wrote her an email about participating in this event, I was shocked how friendly and open she was, even though she already has lots of experience and she is the one who is the "boss" here. In that minute I saw that her interest in helping another people to break into fashion industry, is real. When I heard her story at mentioned Conference few days ago, I was shocked again - she is actually a high school teacher and in 2014 she launched SFW - an event which is based on fashion, business and tech. Jodi with her team host a variety of conferences and also produce a runway show featuring apparel designers, accessory designers and wearable tech.  

She faced lots of challenges - difficulty to get sponsors, deal with fakeness, jealousy or insecurity, but she made it and thanks to her lots of people can reach their dreams! Here are a few of Jodi's advices: "You need to invest in your business wisely. It is important to find a lawyer you trust and keep them on speed dial. Do not be afraid of competition - be better. Take risks and be willing to fail. Surround yourself with key mentors and  mentor those you see potential in. Do not forget to find people you trust and you can also help. And the most important thing - do not forget to be a human. Always be kind and authentic."

Except of inspirational speech of mentioned girlbosses, Bussines of Fashion Conference offered also speakers like Aicha Tohry, founder of  ARTY LAW, who very wisely pointed out the importance of law in fashion and described how to protect your brand; Vincent Theriault, Co-Founder/CEO of Sumersur, and his interesting story about how he started with no experience, no money and no technical knowledge and now he offers to men an unique journey where they will find the perfect suit for them and enjoy professional customer service; Elise Gasbarrino, founder of, who explained to us her "lifestyle destination for modern Canadians" which focus on products with canadian DNA and gave us some media tips for our own fashion brand; or Keith Beckles, Managing Director of Tap2Tag, and his stunning presentation about how does technology really impacts you.

Aicha Tohry, founder of ARTY LAW; Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova

Vincent Theriault, Co-Founder/CEO of Sumersur; Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova

Elise Gasbarrino, founder of; Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova

Keith Beckles, Managing Director of Tap2Tag; Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova

I can not forget to mention two amazing discussions: 

Fireside Chat with Patricia Trepanier, Stylist & Wardrobe Consultant for Men; Nadia Signore, Fashion Recruitment Director at Prestige Recruitment; and Vanessa Recine, Visual Merchandiser at La Maison Ogilvy.

Designer Panel  with Bianca Cordileone from EMY ARMOR - original avantgarde accessories and Selo Karakatsanis from Ageselao - functional street wear. Both of them told us their life stories and disclosed their biggest challenges.

From the left: Patricia Trepanier, Stylist & Wardrobe Consultant for Men; Nadia Signore, Fashion Recruitment Director at Prestige Recruitment; Vanessa Recine, Visual Merchandiser at La Maison Ogilvy and Elise Gasbarrino, founder of; Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova

From the left: Selo Karakatsanis from Ageselao; Bianca Cordileone from EMY ARMOR and Jodi Goodfellow, founder of SFW; Photo credit: Eva Cavojcova

I was very happy to be a part of this extraordinary conference and I can not wait to show you my another experience with SFW Montreal - the runway show! Coming soon!

Jodi Goodfellow and me

Enjoying the rooftop terrace bar after the conference

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