Positive Mindset — Fashion is a tough industry. There’s a ton of competition, constant changes, and a million things that can go wrong on any given day. It’s easy to let negative thoughts takeover, but these are detrimental to success. We didn’t initially believe in the importance of “mindset”, but you quickly start to realize that what you put out in the world does come back to you. This year, we made a conscious effort to verbalize, as well as write down, our business goals. One goal was to have a “sold out” 2019 DreamWalk Fashion Show in NYC. We said it repeatedly, put it in our journals, made graphic announcements, all before actually selling out the venue. And guess what? We ended up selling out Live Nation’s Gramercy Theatre almost an entire week before the event!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Alyse and Lexi Scaffidi. They are sisters determined to make a difference. Known for their delightful social media presence, the duo’s goal is to promote inclusivity, a healthy lifestyle, and positive vibes through their content. Alyse, a Pharm D, and Lexi, an accountant, are lovers of fashion, traveling, and family time. Since 2017, they have helped promote the topic of “body inclusivity” through the expansion of their DreamWalk Fashion Show, which gives everyone the chance to be a runway star.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Our fashion interest was definitely shaped by our parents, especially considering our dad won “best dressed” in high school and our mom used to create handmade matching outfits for all three of her children. It’s also safe to say that our parents are the ones who also instilled the concept behind our “body inclusive” fashion show into our DNA. However, our parents are also old school in the sense that they wanted us to get professional degrees and have careers in corporate/medical fields. The concept of entrepreneurship, or starting a business within the fashion industry, was not something we were familiar with, but something we fell into with the creation of social media.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?
Our first body inclusive fashion show in 2017 was dubbed the “Anti-Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” by the media. The recap video went viral receiving over 45 million views and gaining international media attention. Almost overnight, our idea to highlight people of all shapes, ages, sexualities, and abilities on the runway, became a rallying cry for the future of fashion.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When we first started, we had to fund the inaugural show ourselves to prove the importance of body inclusive fashion. We remember staying up late and trying to figure out how to create a Victoria’s Secret worthy set on a very small budget. The only solution was to create the backdrops ourselves, so we got to work making art projects in our garage. While it was incredibly frustrating to paint then repaint, glue then re-glue, the final products were perfect. It just goes to show you that you can always find a solution if you refuse to give up!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our company is different than most in the fashion industry in that we’re using our runway to highlight people’s stories. We believe everyone deserves to experience the “star treatment” at least once in their lives. There aren’t many events that afford everyone the chance to have their hair and makeup done, wear a wild outfit on stage and pose for photos like a celebrity. Additionally, we let our Dreamers share their stories on stage, which helps them connect with others in similar scenarios and inspire people struggling with the same challenges.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
You have to find a way to “unplug” from work and social media. When you’re online, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by competition or jealous of someone who’s further along in their journey to success. It’s important to take a vacation, spend time with family and exercise. We’ve realized that work will always be there, but missed time with loved ones is something you can’t get back.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We measure our success based on the amount of goodness we can bring into the world. DreamWalk is meant to inspire people to believe in themselves, and to believe they deserve the chance to feel like a star. There are so many people in our world struggling to overcome challenges, so it’s great to give people a platform to share these stories with the world. We have people flying in from across the country, Canada and Europe to be part of this event!
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of our favorite quotes is by Walt Disney and reads, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” We thought of the idea for DreamWalk when sitting on the couch watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. We knew we’d never be allowed to walk on their runway, so we decided to create our own! For us, it didn’t matter that we weren’t trained in fashion or film. We believed in the vision and decided to do whatever it takes to make it successful.
Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?
We feel that diversity and inclusion will become an essential part of all brand marketing campaigns. We have already seen a pretty big shift with large companies including people of different sizes and ethnicities, but we know it’s just the beginning. There’s also a big push for more inclusive lines, especially when it comes to sizing and adaptable clothing.
What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry”. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Positive Mindset — Fashion is a tough industry. There’s a ton of competition, constant changes, and a million things that can go wrong on any given day. It’s easy to let negative thoughts takeover, but these are detrimental to success. We didn’t initially believe in the importance of “mindset”, but you quickly start to realize that what you put out in the world does come back to you. This year, we made a conscious effort to verbalize, as well as write down, our business goals. One goal was to have a “sold out” 2019 DreamWalk Fashion Show in NYC. We said it repeatedly, put it in our journals, made graphic announcements, all before actually selling out the venue. And guess what? We ended up selling out Live Nation’s Gramercy Theatre almost an entire week before the event!
2. Risk-Taking — People who don’t take risks are rarely remembered. In fashion, more so than other industries, you have to be willing to go for it! When we came up with the idea for DreamWalk, we had no idea if it was going to work or not, especially since nothing like the event had ever been tried before. The beauty of taking a risk is that when it fails, what you learn from it is usually much greater. And when you succeed, it can be exponentially beneficial, especially in a world that really amplifies “wow” moments.
3. Networking Skills — It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or are a seasoned expert, there are always benefits to meeting new people and building new relationships. The majority of our success as a business has come from relationships, so we always make it a point to attend events whenever possible. It can be tough to extend your workday by a few more hours to attend a cocktail party, especially when all you want to do is put on sweats and sleep, but there’s no better bang for your buck than making new friends.
4. Social Media Presence — What’s the first thing you do when someone mentions a company or brand you’re not familiar with? If you’re like us, then you probably turn to social media to make your initial assessment. It’s funny how a few photos on Instagram can instantly determine whether or not we take an interest in a company. Fortunately, fashion is perfectly positioned to succeed on social media because of the attractiveness and variety of the content you can create. While sometimes tedious, we’ve found it’s important to post content regularly to engage followers and ALWAYS answer comments/DMs in a timely manner.
5. Pure Determination — It’s cliché, we know, but you really can’t give up. There are going to be some days that really take a physical and mental toll on your body, but you have to have a “keep going” attitude if you want to succeed. One trick we use to stay focused and remain positive is to make sure we take the time to appreciate our successes. The losses are always easy to dwell on, but we quickly forget about the 10 purchases today or exceptional images received from the photographer. Always learn from your mistakes, but try not to dwell on them.
Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?
When we initially came up with the idea of creating a truly inclusive fashion show, there weren’t many brands promoting this message. Since then, we’ve seen a huge evolution away from “one size fits all” messaging, including major brands like Nike, Pretty Little Things, Third Love, and Good American to name a few. Based on the statistics, we still have a way to go before the numbers are even close to being fair representation, but we’re finally moving in the right direction.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Our readers can follow us on Instagram & Facebook at @dreamwalkfashionshow @bitesizedfitness (Alyse) & @bitesizedsis (Lexi).
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!