2010 Forward under 40 Award Honoree
UW Major: Economics
Age: 39 | London, England
Fashion Designer and Owner, Britt Lintner Limited; Hedge Fund Marketing, GLG Partners
"I'm not trying to be trendy. I felt there was a need in the market for a brand that allowed time-conscious women to dress quickly and confidently for work without compromising femininity or style."
Britt Lintner took her economics degree from UW-Madison and did what a graduate with her expertise should do. By age 30, with an eight-year career in finance firmly and successfully established at investment bank Lehman Brothers in New York and London, Lintner began to ask herself what she wanted to do.
"I thought I wanted to be a managing director at an investment bank," says Lintner. "Then I got there and said: 'This is it? This can't be it.' When I hit 30, for the first time, I asked myself, 'What do I want to do?'"
She didn't have an answer, but made a promise to herself that if one didn't find her by age 32, she would seek it out. Her answer never came, so in 2003, she quit Lehman Brothers and spent the next two years earning her master's degree in art history while working for the Fine Art Fund, a private equity company that buys and sells precious artwork. It was there that she found her answer.
"When presenting to eccentric art collectors, I found my Lehman wardrobe was full of male-dominated looking suits," Lintner says. "My closet was very polarized. It was either weekend casual or business wear. Nothing captured the gap in the middle."
Lintner set out to fill the void in the market by creating dresses that could abide by corporate rules yet remain stylish, comfortable and functional. She returned to the finance sector in 2005 with global investment manager GLG Partners, all the while preparing to launch her business. In April 2006, armed with sketchbooks of her fashion ideas and a business plan, she launched Britt Lintner Limited.
Balancing her day job at GLG with her growing fashion design business, Lintner creates dresses that emphasize individuality, femininity and style. She test-drives many of her creations at GLG, giving her the feedback she needs before taking a design into production.
"Working in a professional environment enables me to feel inspired on a regular basis," she says. "It is extremely rewarding to have a tangible product that I can touch and admire aesthetically after working with numbers for so many years."
From "Andrea" to "Jane" to "Julie" (all former Badgers), each piece is named after the friend or family member reminiscent of the design. Perfect for the office or the party, Lintner's dresses work for the women who buy them, enduring season after season.
"I'm not trying to be trendy," says Lintner. "I felt there was a need in the market for a brand that allowed time-conscious women to dress quickly and confidently for work without comprising on femininity or style."
In less than four years since starting her business, Lintner was been named one of the top 35 Women Executives in the United Kingdom by Management Today, awarded the prestigious 2009 Brand of Tomorrow in fashion design by the Walpole British Luxury Association, featured in numerous fashion magazines, including Vogue and Marie Claire, and is the personal designer of choice for Sarah Brown, the wife of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Lintner is looking to expand in the years ahead, moving production offshore and optimizing the company's online presence. She hopes the business will be ready to go global within the next five years.