Meet Yahav Ron. Funder of Paris 99, a salon shopping experience which invites clients to view high-end luxury fashion resale in a private and personal setting. This is his entrepreneurial story.
How did your business idea come about?
The journey of Paris ’99 started five years ago but my fashion journey started much earlier. I’ve been obsessed with fashion since childhood; collecting magazines, books, fabrics and clothes, and knew I was going to be in the fashion industry. I studied the Bachelor of Design (Fashion) and after graduating in 2009 I worked in Antwerp for a year. I met and befriended lots of other fashion lovers who bought amazing designer pieces regularly. When I returned I thought about how some of these garments weren’t being used, just stored in wardrobes and not living their potential and purpose. I started buying pieces from my European contacts for my own design inspiration and to share with fashion-loving Melbournians. The idea for the private salon experience came from needing to really connect with visitors in a way that expanded beyond simply ‘shopping’ as we know it. It had to be a private, comfortable and safe space where people have an amazing and positive time and make fashion discoveries.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love looking at and choosing the pieces from my international contacts. Receiving packages and opening them is always exciting, to see the clothes in person for the first time. Hosting visitors at Paris ’99 is a special experience; preparing a meal, getting to know them and their lives in order to be able to really help find the perfect garment. Everyone is treated to a unique experience and their own ‘fashion moment’ where suddenly it becomes clear the amazing power good clothes have in making us feel special and at our best.
What has been the greatest challenge within your business journey and how did you overcome this?
The greatest challenge I have faced with Paris ’99 is how to take an unfamiliar haute couture salon experience and make it accessible to anyone who loves luxury fashion, or really anyone who has an interest in being individual with what they wear and how they find unique clothes for themselves. In the current fashion landscape where online shopping and the removal of physical contact and emotional reaction can make the experience feel disconnected, I think it’s very important to show people that you need to have these ‘moments’ that connect you back to humanity and ‘offscreen’. I started in my parents’ living room 5 years ago and slowly worked my way into the space where Paris ’99 is currently at by continually working hard on showing people this other, and I think better, way of finding beautiful clothes. And when people come to the salon for the first time and understand how special the experience is they always ask themselves why didn’t I come sooner?!
What are three tips you would offer to anyone interested in starting a business in the fashion industry?
- Make sure what you are doing is unique; if the concept already exists, think how you can better it and make your business truly yours.
- Ask for help and take advice from people around you but listen to your own gut feeling and intuition.
- Be ready for rejection and people questioning your idea but persist and persevere and remember your original goal and why you started.