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Women Who Inspire Us: Maria Pinto

What better way to celebrate the upcoming Women's Entrepreneurship Day than to reflect on women who inspire us every day? To commemorate this important day, Project Style has teamed up with Viking Showroom to honor an incredible group of Chicago-based women entrepreneurs.

Fashion Designer, Maria Pinto is one of our honorees and panelists for tomorrow's event. We sat down with Maria to pick her brain and give you a sneak peek on what it took to become an industry success story...

What made you pursue a career in fashion design? What was your ultimate goal? Since I was 13 years old I knew I wanted to make art and design clothing - and be independent and creative!

What advice can you give to young women trying to follow in your footsteps? It’s hard, because fashion has become such a crowded, competitive space. But I would say to set the bar high and never compromise. This applies both to the creative and business sides, because you can't have one without the other and survive. I recommend the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, which looks at what separates the most successful companies from the rest—it's one of my favorites.

What’s the most important lesson you learned as an entrepreneur? It never stops, and you had better love what you do, since business is not for the faint of heart.

What makes you feel confident? How do you overcome moments of self-doubt? The response I receive to my work is incredibly fulfilling and keeps me going. You never overcome self-doubt; you just have to be bold and meditate your way through it.

Your designs have been worn by influential women like Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, how does that feel? Beyond and back! Who needs drugs!?

You’ve dealt with some difficult situations throughout your career, how did you overcome those obstacles? What motivated you to keep going? For me, friends and family get you through everything! I keep going because I believe and love what I do.

After 25 years of designing, where do you draw inspiration from? How do you overcome creative block? Fortunately creative block is not an issue for me. I surround myself with so many beautiful things and experiences that I am never short on inspiration—travel, books, museums, architecture, dance, and so much more.

What’s next for Maria Pinto? These next three years are really about scaling this new baby, M2057! Then we shall see!

To learn more about Maria Pinto's key ingredients for success, join her tomorrow, November 15th at Viking Showroom in the Merchandise Mart as we celebrate Women's Entrepreneurship Day!

Tickets available at:

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