The former Chairman and CEO of Donna Karan International, former CEO of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy USA and the author of Always in Fashion, Mark Weber, paid a visit to the MBA and MPS students of LIM College on Tuesday night, February 17. Mark really captivated the students with his passion, wit and stories on how he has climbed the ladder of success.
He explained how “the Godfather” analogy helped him aspire to be the best that he can be. In the logo of the Godfather, you see the image of a puppeteer running the show. Well, Mark did not want to be at the bottom of the strings—having a puppet master dictate his every move. In terms of relating it to the fashion industry, Mark said that he loved design but explained that he was not an expert on finance or merchandising. He already realized that by not understanding these two important disciplines, he would inevitably end up at the bottom of the strings. He needed to study these aspects in the industry. Mark went out of his way to excel in these fields because he knew what he had to do in order to succeed.
When asked why he got into fashion, Mark said, “He ended up here by accident.” Actually, he had always wanted to be a newscaster, but was lucky to get into the fashion industry because, as he said, it’s relatable and easy.
He quickly found what his strengths were and used them to his advantage. Mark said that he has always been a student of life and people. In the first chapter of his book, he emphasizes, “You have to know how to relate with people if you want to be in business.” According to Mark, it’s all about building and forming relationships and it’s equally important to find people that you emulate and respect.
Mark went on to explain that one can truly be successful only when you are able to identify what you excel in. On our own journey to success, he said, you are always going to meet people who aren’t good—but great at what they do.
It’s essential to keep adding to your experiences and wisdom, said Mark. “The more experienced you are, the more it adds to your package.” He explained that your package is your brand and it’s extremely important how you present yourself in the dog-eat-dog world of fashion.
He continues to give advice on making negotiations in business, and said that leverage is always with the person who can walk away. When you show that you are in need of something only that person can give, Mark said, you are already giving away the possibility to make further compromises. A good negotiation is when both parties leave the room satisfied.
He concluded by saying that balance is another important factor in being successful. According to Mark, business life and family life have to be attended to with equal weight. Mark Weber is a proud father and loving husband. One of his sons was in the audience, smiling at his father, as he was giving his talk. Mark’s success would be incomplete without the love and support he continues to receive from his family.
Mark Weber's autobiography will be available at the LIM Bookstore until Friday 2/27. $30.50 plus tax.