My first failure in afghanistan .. Professor Eli Zelkha

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Adventure story about the unlikely start & evolution of a fashion company, based in Kabul, Afghanistan and Boston, MA in the 70's.

Published in: Business, Travel, News & Politics
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  • But please NOTE: We did have DIVERIFICATION!!! 3 times at bat!!QUESTIONS FOR FUTURE VENTURES:Is it LEGAL?Will the dogs eat the dog food?Does the “product” actually work? Is it WEARABLE by HUMANS?
  • Centrality of reducing system friction. (heavy bargaining, back stabbing biz culture)
  • Centrality of reducing system friction. (heavy bargaining, back stabbing biz culture)
  • Centrality of reducing system friction. (heavy bargaining, back stabbing biz culture)
  • Centrality of reducing system friction. (heavy bargaining, back stabbing biz culture)
  • Centrality of reducing system friction. (heavy bargaining, back stabbing biz culture)
  • Centrality of reducing system friction. (heavy bargaining, back stabbing biz culture)
  • Centrality of reducing system friction. (heavy bargaining, back stabbing biz culture)
  • My first failure in afghanistan .. Professor Eli Zelkha

    1. 1.  Born & raised in Iran Colgate, developmentstudies, and idealism…hard winter Spring fling trip to Floridawith David Angell Meet Archie, pre-medstudent, and #1 vacuumcleaner salesman The Scheme & $5,000
    2. 2.  1,000 Wedding shirts $ 800 184 Afghan rifles (used) $1,800 1 Bengal tiger skin $2,600
    3. 3. Guns Clothes… and a Fantastic summer!
    4. 4.  US student visa delayed…Grad school deferred Failure 1: Bengal tiger skin: Confiscated by US Customs Failure 2: Guns: No one wants them Failure 3: Wedding shirts: Quality a disaster
    5. 5.  Occasional clean wedding shirt sellable at boutiques Collection problem  NY Show Opportunity
    6. 6. • Amateur city… Late night…• Major backing by one key fashion pub…
    7. 7.  Retail hit: 35 storesnationwide Bloomingdales Bendell„s, Many emerging new“boutiques” …and TONS of morepress
    8. 8. Not Guns… Not Tigers…
    9. 9.  Bringing 2 worlds together: Production Nightmare Mired in complex high friction negotiationsVS.
    10. 10.  Try raising purchase price… Experiment w/ direct hire… 1 tailor on salary… ... to 3 tailors... … to a team of 20 … in a rented house
    11. 11. Shift to collaborative environment……. Transformative!
    12. 12.  Hire our firstdesigner in Boston… ... and the editorialsupport rocketsAnne Sheldon
    13. 13.  ... and the editorial support further rockets
    14. 14.  Development Dream:“Afghanistan, Iran of 100 yearsago” 20‟s Dream: New York / LAfashion scene
    15. 15. A team of close friendsEli Zelkha KarimSaddiq Tom Pat Jim Anne Eli David EllynO‟DaySala Hathaway Sheldon Zelkha Angell Hessler
    16. 16. Demand goes CRAZY!!Yves San Lauren goes Ethnic…
    17. 17.  Enter the major European exhibitions:Pret a Porter, Igedo, London Fashion Week Starting with press offensive…The Sunday TimesElle German Vogue
    18. 18.  7 years of expansion in Kabul & Boston Establishing clear leadership & retail following Wealth effect Strategic sloth and growing cost structure Aging of the trend
    19. 19.  Iran revolution & fall of the Shah Soviet invasion of Afghanistan Logistical difficulties
    20. 20.  Failure to diversify production Cataclysmic failure for Afghan teams… Failure to build nest egg .. Family in jeopardy Self worth in tatters Unable to make a living!!! Wandering the desert for a couple of years…
    21. 21.  Attempt at “salvaging” something… A year of convulsions… “Kick of the dying mule”
    22. 22.  Failure? Opportunity Chinese farmer

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