Imagine having a thriving career and suddenly something happens that is completely out of your control and you no longer can rely on the skills you have to make a living? For many of us, we found ourselves in that very same position 18 months ago during the pandemic and faced many of the decisions that Marla Wynne had to make. What do you do? How do you pivot? How do you push past the fear and POWER Your PASSION?
Meet Marla Wynne… the women on our November 2021 were all specifically chosen to represent the Marla Wynne brand because she is them and they are HER!
Marla is passionate, funny, sassy, and wildly successful with NO EGO! She’s always learning, trying and if things don’t work out she never gives up… she keeps going.
We are incredibly honored to have Marla’s support over the years and share her story with us this month… Enjoy!
PLUS Model Magazine: In 2009 you bought a sewing machine and taught yourself to make clothes and now you are sitting on the 50 over 50 Forbes List. How does it feel and what is the secret to your success?
MW: I find myself feeling quite humbled by this recognition, to be amongst such accomplished and distinguished women. I think I landed on this particular list because I created something at a time when many of my peers were thinking about retirement and what to do with the “rest of their lives”. Retirement is not on my bucket list! I love what I do, and quite simply stated, I think my passion for the work is the secret to my success. Passion, coupled with surrounding myself with very smart younger people who broaden my perspective and keep me engaged and challenge me every step of the way. Staying open to them and listening to them is my secret weapon.
You’ve always been very transparent about the challenges you faced after the writer’s strike and starting a new chapter in your life which has led you to this moment. What have you learned about yourself along the way?
I have discovered that I am relentless and fearless. Problems are challenges and opportunities – not obstacles. I don’t compete with others, I compete with myself. My last accomplishment. My last failure. They are equal in motivating my desire to continue to grow and evolve.
Being an entrepreneur is complex, and finding success and balance can be challenging. What is your advice to those that are looking to take the step into being their own boss?
There is very little balance in my life beyond my work and family. Time is my most precious asset and there is never enough of it. Being the boss of others is what is most challenging. Knowing you are responsible for the livelihood of other people and their families is a very real responsibility. When you are the boss, there is no safety net. No one is blamed but yourself for failure and your successes don’t belong solely to you – they belong to your team. You are only as strong as the weakest link on your team – but it is your team-your draft picks. You hired the team and you must nurture, support and inspire that team and NEVER FORGET that without them, you are the boss of nothing.
You have worked with PLUS Model Magazine on several projects and one of the things that has always impressed me is your ability to be open to ideas and the changing landscape of fashion. Talk to us about how important diversity in fashion is to the Marla Wynne brand.
Embracing diversity makes good sense on every level. Why would anyone want to limit the reach of their vision when inclusion represents a broader canvas? Our business has grown far beyond what I might have ever imagined. To ignore diversity is to lose some of the richness of life, creativity, and opportunity. Reaching out to those who do not mirror your race, religion, politics, sexuality, and “comfort zone” allows you to grow. I truly believe that unless you are uncomfortable you aren’t learning. The fabric of my life and my business is very diverse and inclusive and it is because of that diversity and inclusivity that I have survived the most challenging moments of my journey in both my personal and professional life.
How would you describe the Marla Wynne brand?
While it has been described as a brand for “aging Boomers” – that is a reference I really don’t like or agree with. I do have a very distinct sartorial sensibility that is informed by having lived most of my adult life in Paris coupled with my very American desire for ease and comfort. We don’t chase trends. Our pieces are not “of the moment” and as a result, they stand the test of time. I travel the world (or did before COVID) looking for inspiration everywhere and translating the pieces I would find in Paris, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan, New York, or LA into quality fabrications at affordable prices. We consider ourselves a very inclusive brand – and that does not limit us to size or shape nor age. The brand has an easy and accessible elegance that is timeless, ageless, and classic with an edge. Our goal is to make style and quality accessible to any woman who appreciates our aesthetic.
Thank you for your time Marla and we can’t wait to have you back in NY for a one-to-one!