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Tibi (article)

Amy Smilovic, 39

Tibi, NYC

Projected 2007 Sales: $21 million

Description: Designer of an upscale boutique clothing line

Hustle And Bustle: Even as a child, Amy Smilovic was a budding entrepreneur, forming everything from mini babysitting networks landed her a successful marketing career, but self-staring side of Smilovec dreamed of bigger things. When her husband was relocatd to Hong King in 1997, Smilovic joined him—and stumbled upon the idea for Tibi. As she walked the streets of her new hometown, she noticed that no one made clothing to fit a modern Western woman’s lifestyle in Asia.

Spreading The Word: Just one month after the move, Smilovic designed and manufacturer a line of dresses meshed American sportswear with hints of international influence. After showcasing the line to a group of women she’d met in Hong Kong, the collection became an overwhelming success. When summer arrived, many of the women returned home overseas, bringing the Tibi brand with them and establishing Tibi’s worldwide fame.

In 2000, Smilovec headed back to the States to open a 3,000 square food loft in NYC’s SoHo. Her designs now hang in department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue. And they can be spotted in Istanbul, Turkey; London; Moscow; and Hong Kong. The brand has come a long way, with a second store in St. Simons Island, Georgia, and even a shoe collection making its debut next month.

Style, Not Trends: “If you just design for yourself, someone will identify with it,” Smilovic says. “The world is big enough, and you’ll find a group of people who want to dress like you.” As a woman who has seen much of the world, Smilovic certainly is a testament to this.

Follow Her Lead: When you fill a hole in the market with a quality product, customers will take notice.

Entrepreneur Magazine Issue Oct '07

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