Fashion Business Essentials Certificate

An intensive business builder for fashion entrepreneurs

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Since 2017, FIT's Fashion Business Essentials certificate has helped hundreds of fashion entrepreneurs build their businesses. This distance learning program (tune in from anywhere) brings the New York City fashion industry to you. Skilled instructors will share their extensive experience and know-how. Each session will provide relevant (implementable) takeaways and an opportunity for you to bring into the discussion your individual needs and concerns.

This certificate is designed for those just starting a fashion business, those in business for a few years, and anyone with an interest in better understanding the fashion industry.


  • High-speed internet connection
  • A standard laptop or desktop computer that is capable of running the latest browser and streaming media
  • Built-in or external webcam and speakers

*If you think you are eligible for the 10% Alumni Discount, please complete the Alumni Verification Form prior to registration in order to receive your discount code.

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Learn How To

  • Understand the legal basics for opening and running a fashion business
  • Develop a brand identity
  • Work with patternmakers
  • Do business with factories both domestic and off-shore
  • Get the most out of your sales and merchandising
  • Interface profitably with retailers
  • Effectivly manage operations
  • Start fundraising with round one basics

View Outline

Why FIT?

  • Classes taught by top industry experts
  • Our focus is on helping you transition or advance your career
  • Earn a certificate from FIT/SUNY, a world renowned college of art and design, business and technology

Meet Your Instructors

Sandra Holtzman

Sandra Holtzman
Sandra Holtzman is an award-winning copywriter/creative director, marketing strategist, and serial entrepreneur. She has started four companies, including Marketing Cures, a boutique marketing company that just celebrated its 23rd anniversary. Her customer-focused marketing research strategies have helped companies improve their returns-on-investment from 60%-1,000%. Her latest startup is called MarketingCures GPS (Grow.Pivot.Stabilize.) and consists of peer-to-peer advisory cohorts designed to help like-minded small businesses grow quickly. She teaches graduate level marketing classes at NYU, teaches Set a Course for Your Business, Know Your Market, Financial Strategies, and Fashion Business Essentials at FIT, and has taught marketing classes at LIM. She is also a certified Fast Trac facilitator for Small Business Services of NYC and for the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

David Colby

David Colby
David is an attorney-at-law, a professor, and a professional negotiator. Coming from an entrepreneurial background, David has started and operated several businesses as well as having over 20 years of experience engaging in strategic planning services with the for-profit and non-profit sectors including social enterprise and a diverse variety of art, design, technology, and media projects. As Managing Partner of Colby Law Office, David oversees a law practice with a concentration on intellectual property, contracts, and business development. His law clients range from fashion designers, internet entrepreneurs, software application developers, and many others engaged in creative enterprises. David is a professor at both the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design.

Katia Protsenko

Katia Protsenko
Katia Protsenko has helped build and staff the operations team at Launch Collective and currently serves as Partner and Director of Operations. It is the combination of financial acumen and an understanding of the creative process that allows Katia to successfully implement financial, operational, and logistical structures within the fashion industry. Katia’s overall goal for the brands she helps launch is to create sustainable, scalable, and efficient financial and operational structures.

Calli Roche

Calli Roche
Calli Roche is the founder of Fugitive Patterns, a pattern-making and product development studio based in Brooklyn, NY. Fugitive Patterns was created to translate conceptual vision into tangible objects. Our work focuses on a commitment to understanding a designer's vision and motivation. Past clients include Area, Lem Lem, Dion Lee, Rachel Comey, A-Company, and Veronica Beard. We also work with recent graduates, emerging designers, and stylists, taking them from concept to sample ready for production.

Peter Chan

Peter Wai Chan
Peter is Chairperson and an Associate Professor in the Production Management Department at FIT. Peter is co-founder of Sunrise Studio Inc., a high-end sample and production factory located in the NYC Garment District. Peter gained extensive production experience at Donna Karan Collection, Halston Signature, and Amsale.

Danielle Franken

Danielle Franken
Danielle Franken and her business partner Jeff Lasota are the owners of two businesses in the fashion space. One is a multi-brand showroom selling 10 international brands to retailers around the world. They also own and operate a 20k square foot experiential retail space at Miami’s Faena Hotel where they curate and purchase 200 brands, and sell to global luxury travelers. Most recently Danielle served as the President of East Coast Women's Shows at Informa. She was responsible for sourcing, curating, and activating the bi-annual Women’s Designer trade show. Previously, Danielle was Vice President of Belstaff and Stella McCartney for 10 years.

Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward
Andrew Ward is a veteran of the fashion industry and has worked for numerous branded businesses such as Evan Picone, Gant Shirts, and Joe Boxer in addition to 15 years of developing private label programs for department, specialty, and chain retailers throughout the United States and Asia. Andrew is an Adjunct Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fashion Business Management department. Andrew works on numerous programs supporting local apparel manufacturing including the CFDA’s Fashion Manufacturing Initiative and ITAC’s Rapid Intervention Program for Garment Center fashion manufacturers.

Gina Ramcharan

Gina Ramcharan
Gina B. Ramcharan founded Idea Manufacturer in 2013, knowing that the small business community could benefit from the strategic influence she provided in the luxury brand arena. As a thought leader, she partners with clients to develop new ideas and strategies that breathe life into their businesses while forecasting potential obstacles to avoid or eliminate. Basically, she’s the Marie Kondo of business consulting, but cooler. She has worked with clients in the personal services, retail, eCommerce, hair care, non-profit, construction, consumer goods and food & beverage industries—and loved every minute of it. She is also the architect and Program Director for THE LILLIAN PROJECT at HBA, Harlem’s first business incubator for African American women.

Lisa Hendrickson

Lisa Hendrickson
Lisa Hendrickson is an innovative strategic business leader with a focus on sustainability and technology. Her in depth knowledge of environmental, social and governance issues led her to her current role as a Strategic ESG Account Specialist at S&P Global Sustainable1 where she works with leading companies to empower impactful business transformations aligned to a lowcarbon economy.

Prior, she was the COO of HCC, an award-winning pioneering sustainable luxury interiors company that became one of the fastest growing inner city companies in America. At HCC, Ms.Hendrickson led the strategic development behind the inventive solutions used to create an environmentally responsible manufacturing facility while distinguishing the company for its commitment to innovation and social responsibility.

Ms. Hendrickson has taught leaders for over 10 ten years in the Sustainable Design Entrepreneurs Program at FIT where she authored three of the core program courses--The Purpose-Driven Organization, The Sustainable Organization and FutureLAB. She also is the creator of Morning Salon, a design-thinking inspired process where companies already committed to building sustainable organizations can share knowledge, break through intractable problems and mine opportunities all while building roadmaps to circular economy solutions.

Lisa Hendrickson is co-author of “Boom! Deciphering Innovation: How Disruption Drives Companies to Transform or Die” named one of Inc Magazine’s top innovation books of 2018. She’s been a featured speaker at both Inc 500 and Inc Magazine’s GrowCo conferences and TEDxEntrepreneurs. She has appeared in BBC World Business Report, The New York Times, CBS’s The Early Show, ABC’s World News Tonight, Crain’s NY, WWD and many other fine news outlets.

Dalia Strum

Dalia Strum
Dalia Strum is the Founder of RethinkConnect, an agency that focuses on experiential storytelling through digital as well as in-person strategies. She is a globally recognized Marketer & Innovator who embraces non-traditional education while working with professionals to focus on creativity and external innovation.

Dalia has spent the majority of her career working with a number of top tier brands including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Pepsico, Mondelez, Burberry, etc. Most recently her company RethinkConnect partnered with the Wharton Business School and Ralph Lauren to host an Ideathon focused on Rethinking Retail.

Dalia’s podcast, Motivated, along with co-host Pablo Henderson, VP of Marketing for Equinox hotels, features thought leaders and industry experts who discuss shifting mindsets and how to keep themselves as well as others motivated. She also focuses on speaking engagements and workshops with the senior management of luxury brands around the globe.


  • Fashion Entrepreneurship: An Overview
    In this overview, you will learn program goals and objectives, explore possible business strategies, and hit the basics of writing a plan to build a strong foundation for your business. Break up into working groups exploring each brand's identity and mission.
  • Legal Basics
    A straight-talking guide to staying out of trouble and knowing your rights. Learn how to set up your business, form contracts and agreements, obtain trademarks and copyrights. This course covers the basics, from collections to liability to intellectual property law.
  • Branding: Building Your Foundation
    Understanding what your brand means and how to articulate it is the key to developing a strong business. At the same time, you must understand your target market and culture. Learn ways to define your brand, explore your target, and tap into culture.
  • Branding: Mastering your Pitch
    Review the basic components of a brand, learn what brand equity is and why building it is important. You will solidify your understanding of a brand with focused group exercises that deconstruct successful brands and help you build your own. Break up into working groups and develop your brand identity based on the brand identity of both well-known companies and those that are emerging. Perfect your brand’s elevator pitch.
  • From Sketch to Sample: Working with a Patternmaker
    The pattern is the foundation of any garment, it transports an idea, a sketch, an inspiration into the physical realm. Learn what is required to create a development tech pack, identify important specifications, launch new styles, and conduct a productive development fitting. Learn the rules of thumb for working with a sample room to get the best product in the least number of fittings.
  • Production and Sourcing Options in Domestic and Overseas Markets
    Learn the basics: spec sheets, cutter-must, how to make, read, lay, and cut patterns, how to lay-up/spread fabric, the different stitching techniques, and how to figure wastage. Review options for sourcing fabrics and trims, discover the manufacturing opportunities and other resources available in New York City and globally.
  • Sales and Merchandising
    Learn the key considerations when merchandising a collection and how to approach a buyer. Use this knowledge to successfully sell to retailers and direct to customers.
  • Working with Retailers
    You must understand retail math to successfully work with retailers -- from open-to-buy to calculating gross margins. Learn how these standard formulas are used in evaluation and decision-making and avoid chargebacks.
  • Pricing Strategies in the Pandemic World
    Fashion brands are using near-term playbooks to help navigate this unique moment driven by macro-economic forces created by the pandemic. Learn how to work up a near-term plan to help implement new pricing and sales strategies that reduce uncertainty in your business, better to serve the customer’s new needs while getting some financial stability back on track.
  • Business Plan Writing
    Create a business plan that is focused, professional, and designed to analyze your business ventures strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Various business plan formats and outlines will be reviewed with regard to the plan's purpose, audience, and overall strategy.
  • Funding, Round One / The Basics
    The purpose of this class is to identify and describe the various funding options available to entrepreneurs at each stage of their business growth.

Center for Continuing and Professional Studies (CCPS)

FIT's CCPS offers credit and noncredit certificates and courses in fashion, business, design, technology, and marketing, to help you enter into or advance your career in the fashion and related industries. With short programs and flexible schedules, you can learn at a time and pace you can manage and afford.