After many years in the fashion world, Linda Bergskas, of Visionise, was looking for a change and saw an opportunity to use her experience and talents to build a business that would allow her to share her knowledge of the industry and guide designers to success.
In doing so she is putting Newcastle on the map as a fashion-forward city while encouraging sustainable and responsible business practices in India, Indonesia and China.
Linda had reached a point in her life, as a Mum to two young boys, when she was trying to work out how she could best utilise her extensive industry experience, continue to work in fashion but also stay in Newcastle.
“The reason Visionise came about was…I don’t like anything going to waste…whether it is a physical object or experiences, skills, talents whatever it is,” said Linda.
“I had sold my previous business and I was looking at what to do in my industry…in the fashion industry as a designer and producer and I wanted to stay in Newcastle. I thought with having little kids as well…maybe I should just get a job, go to work and get paid so I looked around but I found if I was to stay in Newcastle and get a job I would put a lot of my experiences and skills to waste.”
“So, I mapped it all out and I looked at what I have done in terms of my industry experience, my education, my contacts, my resources and when I mapped it all out I realised all of that could be highly valuable to other people. I went to the Business Centre and worked out a strategy for how I could bring that all together and that became Visionise.”
Since then, Linda has developed her business, Visionise, and guided designers to build their brands through mentoring, training and assistance with production and design, all while espousing the values of sustainability and responsibility alongside gorgeous design.
“I know the fashion industry is highly responsible for a lot of waste and pollution, so I want to use my position to influence the brands as well as the end consumer - influence the brands by choice of material - using ethical, recycled material, organic material, biodegradable packaging, ethical and sustainable manufacturing processes and I also want to influence the end consumer by choice of what they purchase, to buy less but buy quality….who is so rich they can afford to buy cheap really?”
“So that is my main focus - I want to help business owners in the fashion industry to obtain the skills and strategies to improve and implement ethical and efficient business solutions to improve growth and sustainability.”
“The Business Centre helped me a lot with strategising my business to start with because it is a highly complex business model offering lots of services. Also (they) have sent me clients which I am very grateful for.”
Linda is working with a lot of Newcastle and Hunter based designers and is clearly thrilled with the talent and vitality of the fashion industry in the region.
“I have been positively surprised with the amount of local clients because I guess in the past anyone who wanted to break into the fashion industry expected that they had to go to Sydney or Melbourne or some major city.“
“That now is really changing. I really want to put Newcastle on the map for fashion and it’s been really exciting to work with these local brands face to face and see them make a dramatic change in a very short amount of time - to see how they can realise their dream of their own successful fashion business, be their own boss and do it locally.”
“There is a lot happening in the local fashion industry so that is very exciting!”
Two Tips for YOUR vision from Linda
The key thing would be to have a solid business plan…think about where you want to be in 10 years time rather than now because I feel everyone just thinks about the first few steps. That includes having a budget in place and production plan and timelines. Timelines are crucial.
Do the research and make sure that your product is commercially viable and feasible for production. That it is different enough that there is a demand for the product… it’s different enough but also not so risky. There is a fine balance there between staying safe and too safe. It’s easy enough to come up with beautiful designs another thing is if it is feasible for production. Is it feasible within the price point because what you are going to design is going to have to fit within a budget?
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