The Fashion Connection: An Executive MBA student shares his experience

EMBA student Hamilton Perkins asks Daron Pope ’01 a question during the presentation.

I’m a student in the Executive MBA class of 2014 and the founder and creative director of the eponymous accessory label Hamilton Perkins Collection.  After working progressively in retail for five years, I started HPC in 2009 with the goal of essentially building a lifestyle brand that would mirror the culture that inspired me growing up in Virginia Beach in the ’90s.  It was my desire to infuse the collections with contemporary art, classic luxury, and sensibilities from the golden era of hip hop.

The brand exploded on the scene by introducing travel bags, trunks, neck ties, scarves, and small leather goods that featured the brand’s minimalist staple HPC logo.  From day one the brand grew organically among artists, entertainers, and athletes by remaining conceptually sartorial.  It’s been an honor and privilege to work collaboratively in the Hampton Roads community and to create my expression of a positive movement.

I came to William & Mary to immerse myself the business environment and to polish the managerial skills needed to effectively manage the launch of future ready to wear collections.  I want to push and enhance my data driven decision making abilities to expand the firm nationally.

I received an email from the director of the EMBA program, Susan Hughes, advising me of the Daron Pope lecture and I didn’t think twice about driving up to Williamsburg on the afternoon of March 27th to attend.  I was glad to be in Brinkley Commons that day, I would leave the seminar with a deeper knowledge of what it takes to manage and lead a highly unique design driven business and to hear Daron weigh in on the triumphs and pitfalls that come along the way.  Not to mention having the opportunity to ask Daron any question that I wanted was icing on the cake, these moments are rare and I was fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity.

My inquiry was very specific, I asked Daron to describe the transferable skills that he had developed while working on Wall Street and what role his past expertise played in shaping the vision for Rosie Pope Maternity today.  I too was an athlete and had a background in finance.  This made all of his words meaningful and relatable to me.

He spoke about the knowledge that he gained working with some of the world’s brightest minds and how he still uses the analytical mindset to serve an ever changing target market that may spend roughly 6 months wearing the company’s apparel.  To hear Daron speak authentically about his career transition and how he still practices early morning preparation rituals similar to his days at Lehman Brothers was a serious benefit to me.

From my seat, the event was a total success, I was jubilant to speak with Daron about visiting Rosie Pope Maternity after the talk.  We made a connection and I was invited to meet the design team in New York.

Further, he gave me quality advice about learning what I can from entrepreneurs that have traveled a path similar to mine and to learn all that I can from them to in turn maximize my research efforts.   I am infinitely thankful for this pure positive experience and I look forward to the next Business Insight Seminar.  I couldn’t have asked for more.

Initially, I didn’t know what to expect from the presentation and generally, I like it that way.  I am blessed to be a part of the EMBA experience and I’m truly ecstatic every second that I get to spend with my classmates and faculty.  As we conclude the first semester of the EMBA journey next month, not only do I feel that I have already improved professionally, but also personally.

Every time I enter Miller Hall I learn just as much from reading the text as I do from interactions with my classmates.  The Mason School of Business has been supremely supportive of my entrepreneurial efforts and this talk illustrates the dynamic value of the alumni network.

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Hamilton Perkins

Hamilton Perkins is a student in the Executive MBA program with the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary.

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