Don’t be fooled by the designer shoes and bright white smile or the tall dark handsome basketball player boyfriend, this is one fashionista that is just as comfortable negotiating vendor contracts as she is working the room at one of the many parties she get’s to attend as a fashion “it” girl on the Sydney scene.
Sarah Stavrow is the Founder and Director of The Fashion Institute, a place that already boasts hundreds of students and has now been operating for well over a year. Former fashion publicist Stavrow identified a clear gap in the industry of fashion education and sought to create something that gave those wanting to break into the fashion industry a clear understanding of the business side of fashion and provide them with a direct link to the industry through internships with Australia’s best in the game.
“I am quite happy with the results so far” states Stavrow of her first year at the college. “I started making a profit within the first three months, which is quite often unheard of in an operation like this. By surrounding myself with a great team including a great lawyer and accountant I have been able to cut a lot of costs and find different ways of doing things financially which I wouldn’t have otherwise known.”
Looking around TFI and seeing the very expensive looking furnishings in the classrooms and offices, I was compelled to enquire as to the costof the fit out. Stavrow was quite forthcoming with this information and taught me that you can look expensive without being expensive.
“I neverbuy the first thing I see, I always shop around for a bargain and ensure I get abetter price on everything, for instance the chairs used in the classroom are actually $600 chairs that I was able to get for$50 each from abusiness closing down.”Looking to the future she saysthat she would very much like to open multiple campuses of TFI across Australia, with fashion hungry youngsters from interstate making many enquires as to when they too can get a piece of the action.
Avoiding a distance education model at the moment means she is able to focus on ensuring the students are suitably matched to internships and get to gain real hands on experience and it is obvious that this touch of personal introductions to the industry is perhaps the most unique aspect about the college and is what makes TFI so appealing to anyone wanting to breakout into the fashion scene.
Students of the College have already scored not only internships with the high end fashion magazines, PR Agencies and Fashion Labels, but they have also gained employment with these organisations as well – living out the dream in less than a year of study.
[we originally published Sarah’s startup story in our first issue – 3 months into her business]