22. Sigrid Olsen Gets Back to Business
Fashion designer Sigrid Olsen talks about losing her beloved brand, surviving cancer, and her new women’s line that taps into both her spiritual practice and her artisan roots.
Fashion designer Sigrid Olsen was a prominent name in fashion from the mid-80s through the early 2000s. A textile designer by trade, she built her successful women’s brand Sigrid Olsen from the ground up, and the clothes, known for their breezy silhouettes and colorful prints, developed a loyal following. At the company’s peak, dozens of Sigrid Olsen boutiques were scattered across the country and sales were $100 million.
Then, in 1999, as part of a string of acquisitions, the Liz Claiborne conglomerate purchased the Sigrid Olsen brand for $54 million. Olsen stayed on as creative director and head designer, but when the Great Recession hit in 2008, Liz Claiborne decided to dismantle the brand. It closed all the retail stores and laid off dozens of employees, including Olsen. Because she had signed a noncompete agreement, she was left unable to use her own name to design clothes.
In this episode, Olsen opens up about those years right after the sale of her beloved brand, how she regained the right to use her name, and how she got centered again through yoga, nature, and a new venture hosting restorative retreats for women. During our candid chat, she also talks about the beauty of returning to her roots as a textile designer and the excitement surrounding her new resort line, Beach to Bistro.
We also discuss:
How she survived breast cancer, a double mastectomy, and the death of her husband
How she feels the fashion industry has evolved over the past two decades, and how there’s more variety and opportunity for women of all ages (both consumers and designers)
How creating the new Beach to Bistro line required her to tap into both her spiritual and business sides, and what she’s planning for the brand
What’s more important to her now than profit margins
Why she refuses to put an age on her target customer
Listen now to our conversation by clicking the play button above. For more episodes of the More Beautiful Podcast, head here.
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