Dana Spinola’s goal is simple: “I want clients to walk into my stores and say, ‘Wow.’” As CEO and founder of women’s clothing boutique Fab’rik (it’s the phonetic spelling of “fabric” and pronounced the same), Spinola stocks her stores with pieces that look expensive but aren’t. “To have a dress that appears like it could be 400 dollars and then hear it’s only sixty dollars—that’s the double wow that I love,” she says.
And it’s a business model that works. Spinola opened the first Fab’rik in Midtown in 2002; today, the forty-year-old has five boutiques, thirty-three franchises, her own clothing line, and a nonprofit organization, Free Fab’rik, that offers clothing and “the chance to feel beautiful and special” to girls in need.
Spinola cops to a lifelong obsession with fashion, but she insists opening a boutique wasn’t always the plan. After college, she took a job at Deloitte because, as she puts it, “I wanted to make a lot of money.” She did, but it didn’t make her happy. “I have two hippie parents,” she says. “They both own their own businesses. It’s just how I’m made.”
In addition to helming a fashion empire, Spinola runs a busy household—she has four kids under the age of nine. In order to stay on track, Spinola says she focuses on what’s most important. “I believe in my gut that business is driven by people, as opposed to numbers. I’m in a women’s business and I want to make sure we’re celebrating that.” One word: Wow.
Words of Wisdom