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Last Update: Tuesday June 15, 2021

Key Idea: Prepare For Perpetual Problems

Nicole Miller and Bud Konheim have taken a company from an idea to over $130 million in annual sales and they warn us all that it never gets easy. More...

Key Question:


Expect to face problems no matter how big your company becomes.  In fact, the bigger the business, the more complex the problems.

Q: Why do these two make it look easy?

Every person at the top of their game makes it look easy. The good thing about this is, people like Nicole and Bud are an inspiration to many who would never try to start and grow a company if there were no success stories out there! We most loved Bud's attitude about what he'll do with the company over time.

He said if they get it right today, that will dictate the future and he also said, if you want to know the end game of Nicole Miller, "come to my funeral." He has no intention of retiring and this is true for many entrepreneurs.

Partnerships are like marriages because they begin with good feelings, respect and admiration. However, they are different because when the business succeeds, it is because the partners focused all of their energy on one thing: making the business work. It's strictly business. Emotions often have to be set aside, played down. For a business to grow and prosper over years, means the partners have to hold on to good feelings, respect and admiration. In the case of Nicole Miller, the power of two prevails.  Their lives are entwined with work and they love the thrill of it.

No cruise around the world or golf game can bring them the satisfaction they get from running a business. We believe this is true because of the complexity of it all. You have the hard side which is all about numbers and the soft side which is all about people. You have to balance many balls in the air and smile at the same time!

Think about it

What is your succession plan? Even though you may be like Bud and always plan to lead your company, what would happen if you died today? What would happen to your employees? Would the company shut down because there are no clear plans in place?

Clip from: Nicole Miller - Fashion & Quality

Nicole Miller on her visit to her boutique in La Jolla.

New York, NY: In this episode we go to the heart of the fashion industry and behind the scenes of Nicole Miller, a fashion house on Seventh Avenue to meet the founders, Nicole Miller and Bud Konheim.  In an industry where even top designers have taken production overseas, Nicole Miller pieces all proudly wear the label, "Made in New York."

It's a stroke of genius for these times, but the reasons go far beyond patriotism. For Nicole Miller, it's all rooted in the fabric of the American entrepreneurial dream: pride of idea, of process, and of execution.  They earnestly try to make women happy and  they are key advocates for causes important to women.

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Nicole Miller Fashions

Nicole Miller, Founder

525 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10018

Visit our web site:

Office: 2127199200

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1982

Prepare For Perpetual Problems

Life is tough.
Business, like life itself, is always a struggle.
It Never Gets Easy
NICOLE: You know, licensing is not easy.
Everybody thinks, "I will get some licensed products and I will make tons of money." It does cost us and it does take a lot of time and a lot of work and it takes a lot of nurturing to get these licensed products.

I have to say about this business, that it only gets harder.

Because – I think when you start out a business it is all so simple – there is one person that does this and one person that does that and one person that does that. And then before you know it, there is like a hundred people and five of them are doing this and you don't know what people are doing anymore. And you are saying, “like – how did we manage when we just had one person in this position?”

And you would like to go back to that and simplify everything and you just feel like you've built all of these layers. And then you're – it's just – you know the longer you are in business, the more problems that develop.

BUD: There was a time in 1988 when I said to my wife, “If I get out of this – I am some kind of hero.” And you know what, I wasn't scared – I was excited about the idea that I could get out of the problem we had after the crash of '87. We got into – really – a whole bunch of stuff that was really bad. And we worked it out, we worked it out and everybody was on board.

I didn't keep a secret from everybody, everybody knew it was.

We got down to eight people. Everybody was – we would stay here at 8 or 9 o'clock at night to make a four dress sale to some boutiques out in the hills. It was unbelievable. And we pulled it off. And it was great. So, those things keep -- those things keep you excited through thick and thin. It is almost more exciting when there is a challenge than when it is just rolling in.

What people are always asking us is, “What is your vision – what's the – where's the end game?” – you know, it's always. The end game is “Come to my funeral.” That is the end game. (laughter) So – anyhow – the end game is if we can do it right today, it's going to dictate the end game. If we could just get it right today.

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