Losing a Friend

Four and a half months after I’d purchased half of the Anne Klein Company, Anne died of breast cancer. Everyone was devastated. I had not only lost a new friend but lost the heart and soul of my new business. Although I had been aware of Anne’s previous battle with cancer, both Anne and her oncologists assured me that the disease was in remission. She hadn’t appeared sick, and the doctors encouraged her to continue her normal routine. However, the doctors couldn’t have been more wrong.

When I first bought into the company, Anne and I would talk every day. There was always a problem to solve, whether it was in the design room or the core business. Bob Oliver was helping me make a few structural changes to the company, and Anne wanted to remain in the loop. She helped transition the operations from where they were to where they could be, and she also called me just to talk about what was going on in her personal life. Anne’s death brought an unfortunate end to a friendship and a partnership.

Although I felt a bit overwhelmed upon losing both a close friend and a business associate, I didn’t have much time to mourn. The deadlines for the upcoming season were fast approaching—and we did not have a chief designer. The Anne Klein Company had invested a lot of money in samples and materials already, and there was no way I was going to abandon the brand. Anne had built up an image for the company; I would not let her effort be for naught. After her death, there ...

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