Her Different Story – The Voice of Fashion with Cathy Schepis

Journeying her way inside the fashion industry, Cathy Schepis breaks down the exclusivity of fashion through hosting American Fashion Podcast.

A black model with an exaggerated hairstyle surrounded by vintage hairdryers while holding a NOIRANCA handbag Patti

1. How did you first started hosting American Fashion Podcast?

I was mentoring an executive for Ralph Lauren, and she invited me to a menswear designers launch party. It turns out they were also recording the 100th episode of American Fashion podcast. I met one of the founders at the party and met with the balance of the media team shortly after. Before much time passed I was co-hosting and have now hosted more than 100 episodes. (truth is I met with them and they were not very direct and shortly after they introduced me at another event as a host, and I was like “what??) )

2. What have you learnt about through hosting American Fashion Podcast?

Pre pandemic we did a lot of networking events. Before starting to work independently, I was President at a high-end direct to consumer apparel company. I was busy managing the business and teams in offices in New York, North Carolina, Italy, and China. My time was consumed, and I did not do much networking at all.

The podcast made me realize how important it is to engage with companies of all shapes and sizes. The more exposure you have, the broader your thinking is. Founders of businesses have so much to offer, it becomes inspiration and education at all levels. The key is to be curious and ask a lot of questions, never a problem for me, lol.

Also…. never judge a book by its cover. A few times we had brands or individuals come on that I had never heard of, or there was little written about, or a limited social media presence; and then wow, you find out they had either started, or already accomplished building an incredible business!

3. How did you first start Lean Canvas Advisory?

Lean Canvas Advisory is an umbrella under which I do my consulting work and work with other partners.

Conceptually, it is about working with a business and starting with a clean canvas. Together we look at their strengths, examine their challenges and work together on a path forward. It’s about refocusing their business from a financial perspective while also insuring they are maximizing their creative direction and intention.

Additionally, I partner with Platform Media, a creative branding and strategic marketing company. They work with multiple industries, inclusive of non-profits, and now we are looking to expand work in support of the restaurant industry in NYC.

I am also working with Transworld Business Advisors, one of the largest independent business brokers in the US (founded by my cousin, I am proud to say : ) ), helping small businesses to sell their business as well as expand their current business.

4. What makes a female entrepreneur stand out from the rest?

Many that I have met have mostly had a business background, either from education or experience. Females often have a different way of developing a partnership, I might say it is founded on in depth knowledge as they ask a lot of questions. There also seem to be a lot of women’s led groups and organizations that nurture and support growth. I’m not saying this is only females but seems quite prevalent amongst female entrepreneurs.

"The more exposure you have, the broader your thinking is. " 

A black model with an exaggerated hairstyle is blowing her hair with a vintage hairdryer while holding a NOIRANCA handbag Amanda

"Females often have a different way of developing a partnership, I might say it is founded on in depth knowledge as they ask a lot of questions."

5. Is women empowerment a huge part of your business?

Always. Having been in the fashion industry for so long, though it was dominated by females at times, they were not always supportive (that is putting it mildly). As a result I have always and always will create a supportive environment for people to grow and learn.

6. What do you think are the foreseeable challenges that female entrepreneurs might face in the future?

I believe there are fewer challenges as of late, as far as being recognized or acquiring financial backing. I think the challenge remains in communicating your concept/ business effectively and efficiently at times when you may be in a mostly male audience. I have been surprised at times at the lack of inquiries made in meetings, so be sure you have covered every aspect of your business or business idea so that all participants understand every aspect of your business.

7. What do you think Lean Canvas Advisory will lead us to in the future? Is there any future development we should be keeping our eyes out?

I think what we will see in general, not just with Lean Canvas, is an incredible support and growth of small businesses. They are key to keeping communities together and to satisfying the needs of customers with personal service!