Every woman knows having the proper undergarments is just as important as the dress itself. And when seasoned fashion designer and LA-native Kiana Anvaripour set out to start her own evening wear line in 2011—after ten years of working in the industry—she immediately recognized the need for a more advanced shaping piece. Kiana’s patent-pending designs met the demand for beautiful shapewear that lifts, shapes, and creates a smooth silhouette, all without the need of a bra or underwire; and after her first meeting with buyers at one of the nation’s leading luxury retailers, ResultWear was in business.
Now, just one year later, ResultWear products are sold in high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, and celebrity fans include Halle Berry, Fergie, Ginnifer Goodwin, Michelle Williams, Kelly Osbourne, and Sofia Vergara. Here Kiana tells us about her experience in the fashion industry and how she set out to single-handedly design and market a product that is quickly becoming a staple in every woman’s wardrobe.
Name: Kiana Anvaripour
Current title/company: founder and designer, ResultWear (luxury shapewear)
Year you started ResultWear: 2010
Educational background: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from Otis School of Art and Design in LA
What was your first job out of college, and how long did you hold that position?
I decided to forgo my first job offer out of school at Nike, and I moved to London with the hope that things would work out. Fortunately, it did. My first apprenticeships there were with Preen and Roland Mouret, both of which were wonderful. I soon started working with intimates when I took a job at Madame V. There I learned the shaping techniques that resonate in my work today. In 2008, I moved back to Los Angeles and spent the past few years designing and consulting for a wide range of luxury lingerie and evening wear brands before starting ResultWear in 2010.
You created a product that Everygirl can relate to, one that makes each of us feel beautiful. Where did your inspiration come from?
It was a product I made out of necessity. After working in the fashion industry for nearly ten years I decided to finally start my own collection and I needed a fabulous shaping slip, foundation piece, that gave shape to the female form in all the right places. It needed to be a piece that could stand on its own as a fashion item (under sheer garments) but had function as well. I have always been inspired by old Hollywood and the ResultWear Marilyn slip, the piece that started it all, gives every girl a bit of glamour when getting dressed (or undressed).
You began your fashion career in evening wear. How and why did you decide to make the transition to shapewear?
As I explained above, I came to design shapewear because I needed it as a styling tool for my own designs and my own wardrobe. It was so obvious to me. How can you focus so much on what you’re wearing if your foundation garments are all wrong?
Please share with us about the process of starting your own business from the ground up. What should an Everygirl know about becoming her own boss?
It is no walk in the park, let me tell you, but it’s very rewarding. You have to be a great multitasker and be prepared to work 24/7 because especially in the early stages you are doing everything yourself. All the while you must stay positive and confident in what you are doing no matter what people tell you. When I decided to quit my job after working in the business for nearly ten years it was a sink or swim situation. I was about to turn 30, was not married (although my fiancé and soon to be husband proposed the night before I left for Dallas to present the collection to Neiman Marcus. It was my good luck charm and it worked!), and I thought if I don’t do this now, I will always regret it.
How were you able to turn a fabulous idea into a concrete business?
The idea became a business overnight when I had my meeting with Neiman Marcus. I flew down to Dallas to present the collection to them after getting the near-impossible appointment with their team. When they presented me an order and asked that we be EDI compliant (a very technical computer program that enables you to do business with department stores), I quickly realized that we were in business and had to get very concrete very quickly. Producing for one of the best department stores in the country for the first time is exhilarating and terrifying all at once.
How did you overcome the financial hurdles of starting your own company?
As a woman I was lucky to apply for minority loans but that only gets you so far. It is always a challenge especially as you grow. We produce everything domestically and are meticulous with quality control. There are no short cuts which is the biggest financial hurdle.
What are the biggest rewards from being an entrepreneur? Biggest challenges?
The biggest rewards are having your product on the floor at the best stores and on the bodies of women whose style I love. The biggest challenge is turning off. What lead me to design and create is that time of reflection and development. When you are constantly managing every aspect of the business it becomes hard to shut off and recharge and get that time. When I do have that time I use it to sketch—my creative outlet.
What is the most important thing you have learned over the course of starting and running your own business?
Be patient and always have a plan B, C, and D in the pipeline.
You’ve been in business for a year, yet ResultWear has graced the bodies of A-list celebrities (Sofia Vergara, Halle Barry, Michelle Williams) and are on sale in two of the nation’s premier luxury retailers, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman! How were you able to market your product to such influential clientele and set up meetings with buyers?
After working on all aspects of the business for the companies I worked at before, I developed a great client list and when it was time to go at it on my own, I got on the horn and basically would not take no for an answer. The press and celebrity has followed suit because of great stylists and tastemakers that have been supportive of the product and what it does for the body.
How did you make your product unique?
ResultWear came out of necessity. I used all the skills and experiences I had to develop it so it could speak to women and give them that va-va-voom feeling every time they step into the pieces.
What advice would you give other Evergirls who want to make their idea stand out among competitors with a similar product/concept?
The advice I would give is to have a clear focus and message, and always keep that in mind as you develop the product and the brand. You can never please everyone but putting your own stamp on everything is what makes the product unique.
Where do you see your business in five years?
I see ResultWear growing into a lifestyle brand with products that all have the same ethos: to make women feel confident and beautiful.
What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Don’t take things so personally.
What words of wisdom do you live by?
Lead by example and never give up.