We had the good fortune of connecting with Diana Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diana, how do you think about risk?
“Don’t fear failure, fear being in the same exact place next year as you are today”
I spent 15 years in finance as an auditor, consultant, data analyst and compliance manager. Being in a role for 15 years that was all about managing risk, it was very hard to go from a very risk-averse role to embracing all kinds of risk as an entrepreneur. Being in a comfortable position for so long and enjoying a certain lifestyle and then jumping into the unknown as a budget conscious entrepreneur was definitely a huge change. In order to adapt, I had to get comfortable living in the unknown and remembering that it was feeding my purpose. I didn’t want to live a life of what ifs. Know your why and know what your north star is, and the risk will be worth it. I embrace change and I always strive for progress to make things happen. Everything stays the same unless I take the initiative and the necessary actions to create change.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Madison / Savile is a lifestyle brand of women’s blazers and suits. I myself love blazers but hated wearing them at the same time due to the limited movement in my blazers. When I was in corporate, I noticed a lot of women around me at work and in my network (including myself!) that would talk about how much they love blazers, but how hard it was for them to find the right one. They eventually gave up on shopping for blazers as they now held a firm belief that blazers are uncomfortable and lack the right style. I saw a gap in the market.
I love how a suit with the right fit looks on a man, so sharp and powerful. Fit is everything, not only can it make a garment look amazing, but it allows for comfort. I wanted the same for women! A blazer designed the right way is versatile; you can dress up any outfit by throwing one on – even over a t-shirt and yoga pants which is especially beneficial whilst we are all working from home! It’s something about a blazer that when I throw one on it really shifts my mindset to a higher state. I call it my armor, which inspired our tag line ‘Armoring You From the Outside and Building You Up From the Inside.’ What makes us different than other brands is our purpose and the design and fit of our blazers. Fit is very important to us, so we have spent the last 2 years gathering feedback, pain points and searching for the perfect fabric. Hundreds of iterations, numerous fittings and fabric swatches later we truly believe we have created a timeless jacket with a bespoke look and feel. Our two way stretch, wrinkle resistant fabric gives you unbelievable stretch so you can go about your day wearing the many hats that a woman wears. Each collection will have different words of affirmation lining the inside of our blazers to remind you of your true power and beauty that is already within you. Our first collection is Unstoppable and Fierce. It’s also what we do in the community and with our community that aligns with our purpose through our Madison / Savile Inspired Podcast, through our collaborations and partnerships with brands in the same ethos and non-profits to help women. Aside from words of affirmation lining the inside of our blazers, our blazers have: – 5 functioning pockets including one for your lip gloss, chapstick or pen. Our Classic Blazers have outside pockets that you can interchange between two different styles; welt pockets to pocket flaps Our Signature Tuxedo Blazer has a beautiful swan motif signifying bold and gracefulness which was a water painting, created by a female artist exclusively for Madison / Savile. As each of our blazers are impeccably tailored with many pieces, having it custom made for each person would be a very high price point for each of our customers, which we did not want to do. Instead, we designed it to be tailor friendly – wider seam allowance on the side seams and centre back seam on the body of the blazer and on the inseam of the sleeve to allow for alterations that would not alter the structure of the blazer. In addition, our Tailored Ankle Pants have extra seam allowance so you can let out the length if you prefer it longer.
All my life I knew I wanted to do more and that there was a higher purpose or calling that got louder, but I didn’t have clarity on what that was earlier in my life. I got a career coach that helped me narrow it down to being an entrepreneur, which eventually led to the idea of reinventing and redesigning a blazer because of the observations I’d made during my corporate career. However, that still wasn’t enough for me to make the leap until it aligned with my passion and purpose and that is to help and empower others and inspire a more beautiful world inside and out. Thus, the name Madison / Savile came about. It is the definition of two worlds I’m combining, Madison means gift of God and warrior (inspiring others to bring out their inner warrior, reminding them of the gift that only they can bring to the world) and Savile is for Savile Row in London known for its bespoke suiting. Madison / Savile was an evolution and still evolving. I was working on Madison / Savile on the side as I was working at my corporate job until it got to a point where Madison / Savile needed my full attention to get off the ground. It was definitely very hard to make that decision to leap into being a full-time entrepreneur, but it’s listening to that calling that reassures you that this is the right path. While I was working, I was also taking a fashion accelerator program and fashion classes at night to build my knowledge in the industry that I was jumping into. My experience in finance has helped me tremendously. Knowing the numbers and being able to put together your own financial model helps to see where your costs are, your profitability and set expectations for growth and long-term projections. Lessons I’ve learned along the way is to trust in the process, trust in the timing and trust in yourself. Know what your why is and what your north star is for what you are building. There will be many times when you are so in the weeds or have been pulled in so many different directions that you will lose your vision and knowing your why will bring you back. Your will ensures you get back up, your why will pull you forward. Be patient with yourself, you are learning. Stay true to your values, your core, who you are and your vision. Besides wanting to create the perfect blazer for women, my passion and my purpose is to make an impact and inspire women to be their best self, her true self. A great blazer can only go so far, the true beauty comes from within. Madison / Savile stands for the moms, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces, and career women of the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, this is good practice as I have a list of friends planning to visit when things open up again and I have a running list of places to go. I’m a foodie that is a coffee lover with a sweet tooth so the itinerary will be filled with different restaurants, bakeries and coffee places. I also love to experience everything music, art, nature, and the great thing about LA is that each area/neighbourhood has a different vibe. I would break it down by area and depends on how casual or fancy you feel each day. Malibu – Go for a hike in Topanga Canyon followed by lunch at The Inn at the Seventh Ray or Malibu Farm Cafe/Restaurant. If you want a little fancier I would go to Geoffrey’s or Nobu. Venice – Shopping down Abbot Kinney with brunch at The Butcher’s Daughter, coffee at Intelligentsia Coffee and ice cream at Salt & Straw. Santa Monica – Rent a bike and bike along the beach, explore the Santa Monica pier, grab a bite at Red O You can do a museum day. Explore the car museum (Petersen Musuem), Getty Museum, Broad Museum and eat at Otium. Walk down Rodeo Drive, eat at Il Pastaio, grab coffee at Alfred’s Go to Griffith Observatory for a sunset hike and watch the stars I’m Vietnamese so I would do a trip down to Little Saigon for Vietnamese food for the bakeries, Vietnamese coffee. Some restaurants I love Oc & Lau and Ha Noi Corner. A go to deli/bakery place is Banh Mi Che Cali and dessert is Thach Che Hien Khanh Other Restaurant Recommendations: Vegetarian: I recommend Gracias Madre Mexican: Toca Madera, Leo’s Tacos French: The Little Door Best Croissant: Chaumont Best Cookies: Milk Jar Best Cronut: SK Donuts Republique has a good pastry selection as well as brunch spot.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to support a successful entrepreneur. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by the most amazing people in my life: my mentors, career coaches, friends, my husband (my biggest fan) and even my previous colleagues when I was in corporate.
Other: Join the Madison / Savile Insider Group on FB. This is where we really share BTS and ask our insider group questions on the blazers and incorporating feedback from our community as we are building Madison / Savile together. https://www.facebook.com/groups/madisonsavileinsider
Ruby Somera, Shaun Vadella, Soike Photos