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How She Got There: Tanya Ramloui, CEO & Head Designer at Aoui Clothing


Name: Tanya Ramloui
Job Title and Description: CEO/ Head Designer of Aoui Clothing
College Name/Major: F.I.D.M Apparel Manufacturing

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

TR: A day in the factory is a big part of it, working with sewers, pattern makers etc. It’s not as glamorous as other parts of the business, but that’s sort of where the magic happens. We design and come up with ideas, get to see clothes on models and then styled in store... But it’s those sleeves-rolled-up creative moments in the factory, where we first see our vision come together, that we really enjoy most at Aoui.

What is the best part of your job?

TR: Connecting with customers and seeing first hand that they love something from Aoui is always very special. When we create a piece we really enjoy, and then meet a person or boutique that loves it, that’s very rewarding. We have so many choices today, so when Aoui is chosen, we always take that as a tremendous compliment. And that never gets old!

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

TR: I started with an internship at a small women’s contemporary label in downtown Los Angeles, and was hired full time as assistant designer immediately after graduating FIDM. Being that it was a small company we all had to wear a lot of hats, so this gave me the opportunity to work on many aspects of the business including design, sales, production, shipping, sourcing, etc. This taught me a lot about the industry and what it takes to run a business.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

TR: That one’s simple. "The secret to getting ahead is getting started," by Mark Twain.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

TR: I wish I started my company sooner. You can wait forever for that perfect moment, spend eternity planning, or continue working for someone else to learn a little more, but you really just have to start making something you believe in. You definitely want to prepare and plan, but there’s a clear shift once you go from thinking about something to doing something. Even if it’s a small step, just find one thing to do and get it done, and then the next. I learned that shifting into ‘doing’ mode gets the momentum started and, before you know it, you have something real coming together.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

TR: The first sale will always be the most surreal moment. We researched online and found dozens and dozens of clothing boutiques along the coast of California, then planned a road trip trying to visit as many as we could. The plan was to give out our lookbooks along with mason jars filled with candy and the name of the boutique handwritten on the side. We hoped it would break the ice and give the store something to remember us by, and it worked. We sold to a few stores that trip, but that first sale will always hold a special memory. After the sale I walked around the corner to my car, let out a tiny scream, and couldn’t quite believe that a retail sales professional wanted to buy from Aoui! That’s when I knew I’d made the transition from student, to employee, to having my own brand!

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

TR: We’re a small company, so we all have to wear a lot of hats. Somebody who is eager, a go-getter and energetic is essential. We’re in the process of growing Aoui, so anyone we bring on board has to bring that optimism and excitement for moving the brand forward.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

TR: We all have to work for someone else when getting started and it’s important to bring the same energy and enthusiasm to a job as you would bring to running your own company. Not only does this make you a better employee but it better prepares you for the challenges of running your own business. As your business grows it will help greatly when hiring others and you’ll be asking of your employees nothing more than you were willing to give of yourself. How you do one thing is how you do everything!

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

TR: Formatting! A poorly formatted resume is hard to read, if read at all. Always remember that anyone making hiring decisions has to take a risk on you. If your resume looks polished it creates confidence that you’re someone who pays attention to detail and will do a good job representing yourself, the person hiring you, and the company.

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