CREATIVE DIRECTOR | FOUNDER, NANCY TRAN STUDIO
Share your legal background and describe your current role today.
I earned a J.D./M.B.A. at Temple University and served as a structured finance attorney at Sidley & Austin in New York City. After a successful professional career spanning nearly eight years at various premier law firms and an investment bank, I desired to take a life turn, one with more entrepreneurial challenges and personal rewards, in a very different career of my true calling: fashion and the arts.
As part of that transition, I enrolled in the Fashion Design Associate Program at the renowned Fashion Institute of Technology in New York where I studied the finer points of fashion design. In 2016, I founded Nancy Tran Studio, a New-York-based luxury fashion company. I launched the Nancy Tran label during New York Fashion Week in September 2017 with my debut collection: Transformation.
As the Founder and Creative Director of Nancy Tran Studio, I lead, manage, and oversea the complete operation of the business. I try to make sure that everyone who works for and contributes to the company — as employee, partner, or supplier — knows they are part of something bigger than themselves and their roles are critically important to the success of Nancy Tran Studio.
On an operational level, I sketch and design every style that goes into the Nancy Tran collection and supervise the production from the initial sketches to the patterns to the end garment. I organize all photo shoots, look book creations, showroom presentations, trunk shows, and runway shows for each new collection. I handle the sales and public relations efforts. I also manage a system for accounting and financial projections.
In addition, I allocate time to search for opportunities to reach new clients and stay abreast of new industry developments. I want to make sure that Nancy Tran Studio will constantly grow and evolve.
What inspired you to pursue your current career?
From my early days growing up, I was inspired by the uplifting power of fashion on an individual level from seeing how my mother dressed; she is a fashion forward fashionista. As a practicing attorney, I knew while selecting my wardrobe that how I dress profoundly affects how I see and feel about myself and how that affects people’s perception of me. Now, as a full-time fashion designer, I am able to help so many other women convey the artistic impression they aspire to project, either accentuating or protecting their inner beauty.
At Nancy Tran Studio, we take great pride in empowering women to look and feel their best in Nancy Tran designs by providing a personal customization approach beyond ready-to-wear offerings. We work with our clients, individually, listening to their needs, accommodating their requests, and ensuring a perfect fit for every Nancy Tran design. We make sure that when our client leaves Nancy Tran Studio with a garment that it is a worthy ambassador of the Nancy Tran Brand. Our client will feel empowered because she will look beautiful and feel confident that she looks her very best wearing a Nancy Tran design.
The three words to describe my career are …
How has your legal education/background shaped the way you perform in your current career?
All those years practicing law trained me to be very detailed-oriented, resourceful, and proficient at problem-solving. From nearly a decade of casework, I learned to execute tasks efficiently and meet deadlines under pressure. Beyond that, I was always curious and constantly eager to learn more, and this has helped me stay resilient and capable of bouncing back quickly after each setback. Not to mention, I am my own legal counsel, which is a helpful cost savings for my company.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before you began your current venture or role?
As a startup company, many people have given us advice – people with decades of industry experience who have been successful in their respective fields, people whom we hired to help us with the company. Their advice and ways of doing things may do wonders for other comparable companies, but not necessarily work for my company.
As a result, in the early stage of Nancy Tran Studio, I followed a traditional path that was supposed to be ideal for any startup, but I soon realized that it was not the right one for my company. I wish I had left that much-travelled path sooner in favor of pursuing my own untrodden way. I should have listened to and trusted my instincts from the start. Now, I am determined to create my own strategy, stay ahead of a changing market with shifting trends, and take advantage of evolving opportunities.
If my career were made into a book, movie or song, then the title would be…
If my career were made into a book, a movie or a song, it would be called: “The Journey”.
What lessons learned or unexpected challenges did you face in your current role?
I learn something new almost daily. But the most important lesson of all so far has been to trust my own instincts. I have to make sure that whatever advice we heed or steps we take will keep us going on the right track, heading in the right direction, to effectively build and continue to grow Nancy Tran Studio.
Name a memorable piece of advice that you have heard or received.
My father used to tell me to dream big, but take small steps. It has been the best advice I have ever received.
Nancy Tran is Founder & Creative Director of Nancy Tran Studio. She earned her joint JD/MBA degree at Temple University- James E. Beasley School of Law and BA degree at Boston University where she embarked on a successful legal career, and climbed up the ladder at various prestigious law firms, and an investment bank in New York City. Nancy’s interest in fashion led her to switch gears and enroll at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her business and legal experience proved valuable in putting the business infrastructure in place to formation & creation of successful fashion line, Nancy Tran Studio, Inc.