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"Project Runway" winner Gretchen Jones spills her business secrets

dot429 Exclusive

Tall, stunningly gorgeous, sophisticated and kind, Gretchen Jones, the most recent winner of "Project Runway," spills her future business secrets to dot429.

Jones is positioning herself to be more than just a designer; she is ready to become a businesswoman.

Without hesitation, she plans to take what she has learned from Heidi, Nina, Michael and Tim and apply their entrepreneurial strengths to her own business. After competing to the end in one of the most dramatic Project Runway seasons ever, Jones is ready to take the fashion world by storm.

She tells dot429, “I am marketing myself, so when I do launch it will be truthful, contracted, and calculated.”

In her own words: Gretchen Jones shares 5 key plans for building her business:

1) “For any business, regardless of the industry, making sure you take the time to research and develop your concept is vital. It is necessary to know that your idea is even viable, and that it is healthy for you and the business.”

2) “Acknowledging the necessity of a business plan. A lot of young artists get into owning our own businesses by default. Trying, later, to make our business legitimate because we started with a product before the plan. In order to create a successful business, it is important to know the necessities around what you need.”

3) “Understanding your strengths and weaknesses. There is great value in understanding where to delegate out, so you can be more successful.”

4) “Willing to make the business your number 1 relationship. I understand that it is vital to the success of a small business to be willing to make it your life. If you are not willing to do that, you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur.”

5) “If you have 1-4, number 5 should be that you have fun with it. Let your business be your passion and enjoy doing it. It is perpetually going to need your attention.”

From her "Project Runway" judges and mentors, Gretchen plans to apply the following:

Michael Kors

“He is extremely confident and believes in himself. If I don’t wake up and feel like I have what it takes, I will never make it.”

“How he’s grown as a personality and as a business over the years. He possesses a ‘go bigger or go home’ mentality. The boundaries we put around ourselves limit our success. I am going to go for what I want and not just what I think I can achieve.”

Heidi Klum

“The No. 1 reason Heidi is so successful is because she has learned how to market herself and remained relevant for quite some time. Especially as a model, it is not an easy task. I am going to adapt with the times.”

“Heidi is extremely playful. Her personality keeps people captivated. Having a personality behind the design that people can relate to is important.”

Nina Garcia

“I connect with Nina. She researches and knows a lot about the industry. She is not just in it, but she constantly works at it. The only way I’m going to stay successful and persevere is if I keep researching.”

“Nina possesses a team sense of opportunity. She also holds off and waits. She doesn’t take [every] opportunity that presents itself. I plan on doing the same.”

Tim Gunn

“Tim is very diligent and a very hard worker. He keeps his nose to the ground and he’s persevered over the years.”

“Tim knows how to interact with people in a market where there isn’t a lot of poise. Manners are important in any business setting.”

Gretchen finished her countdown by telling dot429: “Through my Project Runway experience, I definitely learned that you have to stay true to yourself and be able to block out outside opinion. I’d like to get product out there soon and my aspirations are very high. I want to reach the level of design that is similar to Michael Kors.”

Gretchen plans to launch her line in spring 2012.