Two years ago, Rory Beca started a fashion company in her mother's Santa Monica house.

Today, the Rory Beca company is on track to sell $5 million worth of her clothing this year.

She doesn't want to grow too fast, though. She's afraid that introducing too many products, such as shoes and handbags, before she has established her brand could lead to wasted money.

Right now, Beca plans on growing her business in international markets, including Asia and Australia, where she recently opened accounts. Also, she just had a show in Paris.

Beca said the company is open to new investors, who have approached her with generous offers, but she wants to make sure they feel like family.

"We don't want anyone to change the company from what it is," she said. "We go on instinct, really."

Financing growth is a challenge that many L.A. fashion companies face at this stage of the game, said Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association.

"How do you convert a $5 million business into a $3 million check to write for raw materials?" Metchek said. "That's the big next step."

According to Metchek, a company in Rory Beca's position needs to reach out to higher-level fashion industry professionals.

"It's time for them to let the industry experts come in and let them know they exist," she said. "It's like one hand clapping if they don't know you're there. You need to know where the pots of money are."

Though Beca is being cautious about her company's growth, Metchek wondered if that was best, noting, "If she's just going along and seeing what happens, that's wrong. But that's what a lot of people do."

Natasha Silver, director of sales and merchandising for the company, said that she would like to see the company make $7.5 million in sales next year. Beca wants to do $10 million in the next two years.

One way Beca plans to get to that level is through licensing deals, which will allow other companies to manufacture products using her brand, keeping her capital costs down. Though she is wary of entering the accessories market right now, she does plan to put her name on a variety of products when she feels her brand is strong enough.

Beca is in the process of meeting with agents who represent licensing companies and is looking for a new financial adviser.


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