SDIHW 038 – Lisa Rissetto

Customizing Your Career

In college, Lisa Rissetto dreamed of being the next big movie star. When she realized those dreams would not come true, she studied her other passion: fashion and merchandising. Lisa has worked her way up the ladder in the fashion industry, starting  in a buying office fresh out of college, to becoming president, CEO, and owner of G. Hensler & Company. On top of that, she brought life to her own vision and created a luxury leather accessory brand, Rissetto.

 

 

Tailored Topics With Lisa

-How working in different areas of the industry helped her figure out where she wanted to be

-Her life altering decision to leave New York and work in San Francisco

-The story of how George Hensler and her started G. Hensler and brought accessories to GAP, American Eagle, Express & Nordstrom

- How Hensler not believing she could afford to buy the company pushed her to make a plan and buy him out completely

- Why she wanted to develop her own brand

-How she is able to run two companies

-The hard decisions she had to make and the lessons she has learned from running two companies

Custom-made Quotes:

One of the things about making products for other people is that I always had this feeling that I wanted to make something that had my own stamp on it.

 

“I have a tremendous team. I have learned to delegate over the years, just because you have to.

 

We have success just by knowing the category.  We look for what each customer’s DNA is going to translate into, in terms of accessories, and then we execute on that.”

 

“It’s a very collaborative effort. Everything that we do is customized.”

 

Just when I think I have got it all dialed in, something comes up. You either have to adapt or retreat. I am a fighter. I never give up.

 

Don’t be afraid to change course and sometimes you have to make very difficult decisions. If you don’t make these difficult decisions, or wait too long to make them, you risk the entire organization.

 

In 2008, when the whole economy fell apart, I had to let a lot of people go, scale back the organization and figure out a way to dig out of [the recession]. I had 31 employees and had to drop to 15. It was brutal and the hardest thing I had ever been through as an executive.”

 

I learned that you can never assume the orders are going to come. You just have to track things closely and make your best case decisions along the way; course correct as necessary.”

 

“I am very old school, don’t buy what you can’t pay for, buy the best you can. I believe in getting the best quality of any purchase that you can, but don’t do it if you can’t afford it. At some point someone is going to say ‘you know what, you need to pay me back now.’ That’s the type of stuff that keeps me up at night.

 

I believe in getting some experience. Whether you work for a small company or big company, just to truly understand every aspect that goes into it. A lot of people go into this industry because they have a product idea. That is great, but that’s only 10% of it.

 

 

[Connect with Lisa: Twitter (@49squaremiles), Facebook (Rissetto), www.rissetto.com www.ghensler.com]

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