Make The Impossible Possible
Carly Vidal-Wallace is a French-loving second-generation fashion entrepreneur who lives her life as a global citizen alongside her French husband and two young boys. And if that wasn’t enough, this award-winning business woman has just single-handedly turn the fashion industry on it’s head in her (sometime) hometown of Brisbane, Australia, with a month-long fashion event – Brisbane Fashion Month – the first of it’s kind.
Life Extraordinary: Who is Carly?
Carly: There is no easy one title that sums up my bio! I am a passionate Queensland [Australia] fashion advocate, a local designer for my own label Urban Prima, a Telstra Business Woman award-winning woman, a second-generation running textile business owner, fashion mentor, fashion editor writing for online and print publications and fashion events manager running events from runways to charity events.
I feel like a bit of an international citizen, being married to a French man and spending my time between hometown Brisbane and Orange County (California) with our annual trips back to France. I love meeting people, exploring, eating, drinking a good wine, spending time with my loved ones – and most of all trying to make the impossible possible.
I love … to make the impossible possible.
LE: Tell us about your business and the reasons behind starting it.
C: I grew up in a textile business family, and am now second generation to run the business. I was one of those children where at age 6 I designed a raffle and went around to all the local shops near our family shop and made money from my business idea. Of course I got in trouble and had to take it all back … but I was never shy of thinking big and great ideas. My mother is a talented seamstress and we have a wholesale/retail stretch fabric business which has won multiple awards – Telstra, Australian Retail Association etc.
From this platform I created my own business entities – Urban Prima which is a small bespoke fashion line which uses our stunning sequin fabrics into evening and luxury day wear, as well as my fashion events business where I run fashion events for the university, and for other great local designers. I have recently launched the first ever Brisbane Fashion Month, a place to really showcase our local talented fashion industry community for the entire state of Queensland.
LE: What significant events have shaped your life along the way?
C: Meeting my now husband in France was one of the moments that changed my life, staying on to live there for many years learn the language fluently and become a French citizen have changed the way I think of myself and the world. I feel like I am half French and half Australian in so many of the choices I make.
Another great moment for me was having lunch with Edwina McCann (editor-in-chief Vogue Australia) and Courtney Miller (GM Australian Fashion Chamber) where I expressed how passionate I am about the Queensland fashion industry and to try and work on ways I could include high level speakers like themselves into our local industry. That meeting changed so much for me, and for the whole community in Brisbane.
LE: Who has inspired you to set your values and life today?
C: It’s hard not to mention your parents I guess when talking about values, and my current life. My mother is the most passionate, dedicated entrepreneur. Completely self-taught at everything she does and so incredibly successful. I really try and I continue on my path to learn from everyone I meet and to readjust values as I need to. My husband and I do everything as a team and have great conversations with the kids, so we take on everything together.
My mother is the most passionate, dedicated entrepreneur. Completely self-taught at everything she does and so incredibly successful.
I am forever learning new, better ways to run my life, and balance out the time with my most important members (immediate family, family, friends etc) and to make sure I have an amazing challenging career where I really feel I am making a difference and love what I do. The balance to get that right is something I always revisit to make sure my values are inline.
LE: Tell us, what does living an extraordinary life mean to you?
C: Having the audacity to try everything I ever wanted to, and live every day to its fullest. Visit every place I’ve ever wanted to see and meet amazing inspirational people along the way, all whilst surrounded by my beautiful family.
LE: What would you say your purpose is?
C: I love meeting people and putting people in touch with the right people to get on the path they need to be on. I certainly work a lot in the fashion space, and fashion events, editorial, and design – but really what I am most passionate about it helping others. I think this really is where my success comes down to. In everything I do, I make sure there is always a portion that ‘gives back’ from opening dance schools in Sri Lanka to being passionate about supporting YWCA Queensland which is a vibrant, women-led community organisation focused on supporting and empowering Queensland women and girls.
[Living an extraordinary life is …] having the audacity to try everything I ever wanted to, and live every day to its fullest.
LE: Being an entrepreneur is usually fraught with challenges. How do you overcome set-backs?
C: I always take a look at where I have come from and where I am headed. Nothing ever, ever comes easily and without hard work. You need to get used to taking a lot of kicks and setbacks to get to where you want to go. I love investing some time in watching great people speak – like Simon Sinek or Gary Vaynerchuk, or spending time with my really inspirational friends and business colleagues. This always perks me up to keep me on track.
LE: For you, what do you believe has been the secret to your success?
C: Never giving up, being humble but determined, letting go of the people who aren’t supporting you and being so passionate about something that you are willing to put in the crazy hours that it take to make it happen.
ABOVE: Carly picture with her husband, Vincent Vidal
LE: Often we female entrepreneurs have a ‘fork in the road’ moment in our careers. Looking back over your career, what stands out for you as a turning point?
C: About six months ago when the current Brisbane Fashion Festival closed after 10 years and so many people from the industry locally and from other States reached out to my personally to ask if I could build something great for the industry. I am so passionate about the Queensland fashion industry, and have never been shy of some hard work, but I never thought I would be the one to launch the biggest fashion events the state has ever seen, – stretching over the entire month with 12 events. Brisbane Fashion Month was so inspiring to have founded and directed this year, I met so many fashion industry professionals and felt like via my networking, popup shop, runway and editorial based events I really helped pull Queensland Fashion into its own entity.
I so excited about the future and can honestly say 2017 and 2018 will be even more exciting with big names booked in to speak and more learning and engagement with the whole state than we’ve ever seen before. We are bright and colourful in QLD, the time is here to rejoice in this and to be proud of our boldness and take this colour to other similar climates around the world and export our uniqueness. Stay tuned!
LE: Looking to the future, what do you see possible for yourself?
C: Everything! Raising international-bilingual children with my husband, and my family being proud having an entrepreneurial mum who gave every day her best shot to make sure our life was and is always extraordinary in every way.
Learn, continue to meet people, engage, grow and never stand still too long.
LE: If you could give the gift of advice to other female entrepreneurs about how to live out your best life, what would it be?
C: Have a plan and lots of goals and keep striving forwards. Without a road map it’s hard to get to an exceptional life. Learn, continue to meet people, engage, grow and never stand still too long. You only have one shot, so give it your best.
Carly’s top 5 tips to live an extraordinary life:
- Have passion.
- Be true to yourself.
- Work so hard … no one else will make it happen.
- Have great people around you to count on.
- Never give up on your dreams.