With only $400 startup capital, founded a fashion label in 1989, developed from a cupboard into one of the leading fashion houses in New Zealand. Grew from 1 large store to current 4 with 40 FTE in 32 years. (Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet)

fashion fte 31-40 new zealand podcast sales <$0.5m aud May 03, 2021

In this episode, I interview Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, a Fashion Designer and Co-Founder of fashion label WORLD – one of the leading fashion houses in New Zealand. WORLD was best known and admired by people after they won the Avant-Garde section of the 1995 Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards with their 21st Century Origami Outfit. Shortly after, the Auckland Museum bought the piece because of its unique design that got the attention of many.

The Fashion Label WORLD was founded by Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet and her ex-husband Francis Hooper in 1989 in Auckland, New Zealand. They started in a 100 square foot shop, a tiny shop at the back of an arcade. Dramatically, due to their hard work and passion, they managed to increase their work and now have 4 large stores and 40 FTE in 32 years of innovation.

Dame Denise says in order for the business to be recognized, having your own signature is very important so people will know immediately. By doing so, you’re doing a smart move to run your business for a long time. “Always think of your business as an extension of your personality, don’t copy or look at other people for inspiration.”- Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet.

This Cast Covers:

  • How her passion for business is a key to her success.
  • The importance of focusing on quality over quantity.
  • How leadership without hierarchy improves management and methodology in business.
  • Formulating a brand that stands out on its own.
  • Making brands of the greatest value, how people see it and perceive it.
  • Recognizing the efforts of the staff is vital for their own growth and for them to feel they have achieved something.
  • Seeing the growth of a business by opening a new branch.
  • How good customer service helps in development and maintenance.
  • Involvement of the staff in every discussion results in well-constructed planning.
  • Embracing change and being innovative for growth and development.

Additional Resources:


“Always think of your business as an extension of your personality, don’t copy or look at other people for inspiration.” – Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet 

“The greatest value is obtained if you are passionate in everything you do.” – Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet

“Be true to yourself and to your service.” – Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet

“I always treat the business as a child, it needs to be fed, it needs to be watered, it needs to have daily contact, it needs to be looked after. Otherwise, it won’t perform for you.” – Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet

“As long as you keep growing, you’ve got to make sure that your business keeps growing, otherwise you stagnate.” – Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet 

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