Tom Ford has worked hard to achieve success, overcoming obstacles at every turn. Ford did not achieve international success overnight. Something took longer to pan out than he hoped- he had to change his approach several times. Against all odds he managed to achieve his dreams and live the luxurious lifestyle that he always wanted. Behind every item; Tom Ford bags, Tom Ford Suits and Tom Ford Sunglasses, there’s admiral determination and ambition.
Even if it’s not your dream to become a fashion designer or movie director you can still learn some important lessons from Tom Ford, the artistic businessman.
- Choose a career path that you’re going to enjoy
Tom Ford’s path through higher education was not clear cut. Ford had always known that he was artistic as he loved to create things from a very early age. At first, he chose to study art history at New York University but soon dropped out. After working as a freelance actor doing television commercials, he returned to education and studied architecture. However he transferred to the Paris campus in his final year to study fashion design.
Sometimes it takes time to realise where your true destiny lies. There are so many career choices out there, so it is important that you choose something that you’re truly passionate and enthusiastic about. Without enthusiasm you’re unlikely to achieve much.
- Be persistent
After graduating, Tom Ford set his sights on designer Cathy Hardwick as he was determined to work for her. Despite his lack of experience, Ford phoned Hardwick’s office every day for a whole month before securing an interview. Although Hardwick fully intended to reject Ford, she actually ended up hiring him as a Design Assistant.
Be persistent in the face of rejection. Just because something doesn’t work the first time never give up. In the early stages of any career, ‘experience’ can be the kiss of death. Sometimes you need to convince employers that whilst you can’t offer the experience they are looking for, you do have something unique to give.
- Take a risk
When Tom Ford accepted a job with Gucci as their women’s wear designer, the brand was failing. Their clothing line was certainly not held in high regard and the brand was struggling financially. Ford certainly took a risk when he accepted the job and moved to Milan. But it certainly paid off.
If you’re not prepared to take risks then you’ll limit yourself. Sometimes opportunities will seem uncertain, whether it’s the company, the position or the length of the contact. In some cases it is best to say yes and ignore the consequences. Don’t dismiss opportunities just because they carry a degree of risk. It could break you, but it could also make you.
- You must work for the rewards
When Ford joined Gucci in 1990 he very quickly turned around the brand, bringing their womenswear line to the forefront of fashion. By 1992 he was promoted to Design Director. Then, in 1994 he became Creative Director before taking the reins of Yves Saint Laurent 1999, a label that Gucci acquired. Ford’s success didn’t happen by chance. He worked long hours- up to 18 hours every day, he oozed enthusiasm and worked to achieve his long term vision for the brand.
Success is earned. There’s no easy way to get to the top of the ladder no matter what career you choose. To get noticed and to progress you have to give much more than just turning up to work for 37 hours every week. You have to stay focused, stay motivated and stay committed to your company.
- Know when to move on
In 2004 Tom Ford decided that his time at Gucci was up after he was denied the freedom by owners to run the company as wished. It was at this stage that Ford decided to create his very own fashion brand- one that he could design and manage by himself with no interference.
At some point in your career opportunities will run dry in your existing workplace and you will begin to feel stifled. When this occurs it is important that you plan your next career goal. What’s the next step? How can it be achieved? Where can it be achieved? When progress becomes stunted make sure you take action.
Tom Ford is one of the most celebrated fashion designers in the industry. Rarely appearing without his own pair of Tom Ford Glasses he certainly deserves success.