Like

America’s Latest Fashion News | Maria Cornejo Talks Staying Small

Better known are its compatriots Black Friday (11/25) and Cyber Monday (11/28), the two bookends that begin the holiday-shopping season. But American Express’ Small Business Saturday (11/26), which returns for its second iteration this year to bring awareness (and hopefully, customers) to local businesses, may be the weekend’s best shopping bet. American Express is offering Rewards Points to its customers who shop small on Saturday; and many retailers are offering promotions of their own to sweeten the deal. One is Maria Cornejo, who is planning a gift for those who shake off the post-Thanksgiving haze to make it into one of her stores in New York or L.A. Spend $500 on your Amex card, and receive her hair-print (above) or book-print silk scarf. Small business is at the heart of Cornejo’s operation. The designer spoke with Style.com about the challenges and rewards of staying small.
How important is it to you to be a small business?
It’s important for me, for my own creativity, to have our own point of view in the whole market. Being a small business, you’re offering a different a point of view that hasn’t been offered everywhere else. Having a so-called small business allows us to move quickly and respond to clients and what they need, rather than by trends. When things get too homogenized, everything [becomes] very corporate. You can find the same store in every major capital in the world.

By contrast, your three Zero stores don’t follow that corporate-store model.
Every [Zero] store looks different. The same elements are at play, but it’s not a standard shop-fit, like corporate companies have. It’s much more about fitting the area and having something that’s more personal to that space. Right now, people want a more personal experience, rather than something that looks…too standardized, especially our clientele. We compete by being more niche and more special. That’s our standpoint in the whole fashion business. To be quite honest, there’s 20 million collections out there—how do you differentiate yourself right now? That’s the only way we can: by being original.Continue reading ›