What She Said
Forbes 30 Under 30 luxury-brand CEO shares her journey.
When we think about successful people, whether it’s a musician, award-winning actor, or a Forbes list CEO, we crave to know their secret. We gaze in amazement, sometimes envy, and ask ourselves the question: How’d they get there?
Vivien Laszloffy (BSBA’13), CEO of Budapest-based, high-end fashion brand, ÁERON, is giving us the answer. The Questrom alumna just earned her place on Forbes 2017 European 30 Under 30 list for Retail and E-commerce. She shares with us her story, her insight, and sound advice.
If you could pick an adjective to describe your journey from Questrom to ÁERON, what would it be and why?
This is a tough one to pick because there are so many different stops that happened between Questrom and ÁERON, but if I had to pick one it would definitely be EXCITING. The reason for that is that, aside from all the tough and hard moments and challenges you had to go through every day, the ups and downs, it was always full of surprises and unexpected turns. Hard work always pays off and it has been everything but boring and extremely EXCITING.
I remember the day I graduated like it was yesterday and how excited we all were to get out in the real world, but super sad to leave BU at the same time. But very honestly looking back, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. But that in some way, this “naive” approach you have as a fresh graduate, is what also makes it so exciting because every day you learn something new and you are hungry to see more, experience more, and never stop being curious about the world. It is the best gift and one that I will cherish forever and never let go.
What has been the most beneficial skill that has helped you reach success at such a young age?
I believe communication is everything, so I believe in being able to stand up for yourself. Communicating your points effectively is crucial. Especially when you are young, people need to see that you are confident in what you do and say. If you can’t convince people than you will have a tougher time.
Vivien’s 5 points of advice for students looking to pursue a leadership position:
1. Never make age an issue.
You will no doubt be meeting top executives and investors in their 50’s and 60’s, but age is only an issue if you make it one!
2. Be open minded.
When you make a mistake (and you will make them) – don’t sit on them, learn and move on (you have 1 million other things to do…) just make sure you don’t repeat them!
3. Don’t give up!
You’re in the wrong business if you think it will ever get easier.
4. Put on a thick skin and don’t give up!
Hustling for your business in its early stages is crucial to get your brand out there.
5. Invest in your people.
The more you invest in them the more they will work hard to grow the business.
Do you recall any advice from your mentors or professors at Questrom that really resonated with you?
I must say I really enjoyed most of my professors, but if I had to mention a few then it would definitely be Prof. Wilson, Prof. Furman, and Prof. Griner. All three of them had a different approach, mentality, and personality but that is exactly what I liked about it. All three of them were big supporters of me being on the Varsity Tennis team and balancing academics and sports, which is not easy but always encouraged me to work hard, be patient, and go out in the world and explore.
How do you manage work-life balance?
It is tough to manage work-life balance because when you are young, you feel like you can do it all and there is no stopping. But I learned quickly that this is not good and my health will be affected. You need to find calm and peace during the easier times and take care of yourself. Sleeping and exercising are key and something you can’t get around if you want to be 100% all of the time. It is an effort, but the only way to stay mentally and physically healthy which is key to your long-term success.
What’s next on your radar?
There is so much going on and I’m very excited for this year since I’m off to NYC this week for Fashion Week. I travel to all Fashion Weeks to introduce our collections. From the beginning of February to the middle of March I’m constantly on the go. But we are expanding into even more markets such as South America and the Middle East, while focusing and expanding our presence in existing markets, such as the US. Who knows, maybe a store in Boston sooner or later?
Photo courtesy: Elle Hungary