15 Oct MEET THE MAVEN | Abigail Bisogno of The Trading Company
From an illustrious career in fashion to opening her own store, we chatted to Abigail Bisogno about working in the fast paced world of fashion and her key to success,
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up on Fairview Wine Estate in Paarl. My love for Fashion and Design started at an early age as my uncle owned I.L. Back & Company and I was exposed to the factory floor and design departments throughout my teens. I am a mother of two young adult daughters and am married to a wonderful Italian Man called Gigi.
How did your venture into the working world begin?
I studied fashion design and joined the Foschini Group straight after graduating. I worked in many divisions in the Foschini Group. The highlight was being the MD of Exact, then moved back to Foschini as MD and being part of the Foschini Board for many years.
Did you always know what you wanted to be when you ‘grew up’ and did things turn out the way you expected?
At one point I wanted to be a Lawyer but soon my love for Fashion overwhelmed the legal aspirations I had and I went on to study pattern making, garment construction and Design. I had 35 extremely satisfying years working at the Foschini Group as I love every aspect of being a Retailer.
Can you elaborate on The Trading Company? Why did you decide to begin this venture?
My love for retail was what led me into opening The Trading Company at the Spice Route Destination as I didn’t want to lose my retail skills entirely. During my corporate years I always had a fascination with locally made product and had a desire to showcase this in the most attractive way possible – hence my shop was born.
Had you ever done anything like this before?
Yes, I had opened up 100’s of stores across many divisions during my 35 years at Foschini.
Can you elaborate on your involvement in #MEETNATURE?
I did a beautiful installation with Orchids which hung from my ceiling and really completed the look for the store in honour of a Spring launch. I absolutely love flowers and always have fresh flowers around.
How did you navigate the waters of starting a retail store?
In my case I was lucky it came naturally to me from all my years of experience.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to those wanting to start their own business?
Be sure you have done sufficient research, that you have sufficient cash flow. You need to have a point of difference.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your career?
The only thing that works is hard-work, passion and attitude.
What has been your biggest achievement in your career and why?
Raising two wonderful daughters whilst working full time. Being focused and disciplined to enable for a balanced life-style is key to my success.