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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Goldfarb

Cruella de Vil: More Than Just a Fur Frenzy — Business Bark & Bites from a Fashion Maverick



We're smack in the middle of Halloween planning, and I'm pondering whether to take a bold fashion move, embracing the contrasting hues of Cruella de Vil. But it’s not just about the outfit — it got me reflecting on the iconic Cruella’s life journey. What business nuggets can we dig up from her black-and-white story?

Unleashing the Origins of a Fashion Maverick


Our modern-day Cruella, originally known as Estella Miller, wasn’t born into privilege or villainy. Her childhood, marked by a tempestuous nature, was abruptly scarred by tragedy when she witnessed her mother’s death, believed to be caused by provoked Dalmatians. Seeking refuge in London, young Estella found companionship with Horace and Jasper and even took steps to blend in, dying her iconic hair. Her entry into the fashion world was no less dramatic, her talent catching the eye of the famed Baroness von Hellman, only to realize their pasts were entwined in a tale of betrayal and secrets. Adopting the alter ego 'Cruella', Estella started her vengeful journey against the Baroness, culminating in a flamboyant takeover of the Baroness's fashion empire.


Fetching Business Insights from Cruella's Journey

  1. Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Estella's early life was marked by challenges, but she showed incredible resilience. In business, setbacks are inevitable, but bouncing back with determination is key.

  2. Razor-Sharp Focus on the Prize: Cruella's undying obsession with fur might have been her downfall in some regards, but it also showcased her ability to stay fixated on her goal, come what may. In the business world, maintaining a laser focus on your core objectives, while not getting sidetracked by every little distraction, can be the difference between success and stagnation.

  3. Craft a Compelling Personal Brand: "Cruella" wasn't just an alias; it was a brand. Estella understood the power of a compelling narrative and used it to dominate the fashion scene. Your brand's story can be its most potent asset.

  4. The Value of Networking: Even though her methods were... questionable at best, Cruella understood the importance of connections. Roger and Anita (owners of the Dalmatians), for example, were vital to her goal. In the business world, networking can open doors and present opportunities that might not be available otherwise.

  5. Strategic Alliances are Gold: Estella’s alliance with Horace and Jasper wasn't just about friendship; it was a strategic partnership that propelled her mission. In business, the right partnership can amplify your reach and impact.

  6. Unlocking Past Secrets for Future Success: By unraveling her past, Estella gained the ammunition she needed to take control of her future. In business, understanding your history and market insights can give you a competitive edge.

  7. Reinvention is Key: From a girl with a traumatic past to a rebel in the fashion industry, Estella's reinvention as Cruella was a masterstroke. In business, staying relevant often means evolving and embracing change.

Avoiding the Pitfalls: Business Muzzles from Cruella's Missteps

It's not just her fashion sense that's been a talking point for decades; Cruella de Vil's life choices, particularly in business, offer cautionary tales that any entrepreneur should heed.


  1. Ethical Operations Matter: Cruella's main objective, acquiring a massive fur coat made from Dalmatian puppies, is a stark reminder that unethical pursuits in business are a strict no-no. Not only are they morally reprehensible, but they also can lead to significant backlash, legal consequences, and reputational damage.

  2. Don't Let Obsession Cloud Your Judgment: Cruella's razor-sharp focus on fur, especially from Dalmatians, led her astray. A relentless pursuit is commendable, but not if it blinds you to more significant problems, opportunities, or moral dilemmas. For a business to succeed, a balance between passion and rational decision-making is essential.

  3. Loyalty and Team Dynamics: Cruella had a contentious relationship with her henchmen, Horace and Jasper. In business, fostering positive relationships, trust, and a sense of purpose in your team is crucial. Employee morale and loyalty can significantly influence a company's success.

  4. Personal Vendettas Have No Place in Business: Discovering her lineage and connection to Baroness von Hellman led Cruella down a path of revenge. While it's human to feel slighted or wronged, holding onto grudges and allowing them to dictate business decisions can be destructive. It's always best to operate from a place of professionalism.

  5. Brand Image and PR: Cruella's public antics, while eye-catching, weren't always positive for her image. In today's digital age, where every move can be captured, shared, and can go viral, maintaining a positive brand image and ensuring you're sending the right message is more important than ever.

  6. Know When to Pivot: While adaptability was one of Cruella's strengths, her inability to pivot from her fixation on Dalmatian fur was her downfall. In business, recognizing when a strategy isn't working and being agile enough to change directions can be the difference between success and failure.

Wrapping it Up with a Bow-wow


As fascinating as Cruella de Vil's journey is, her story serves as both an inspiration and a warning. Embrace ambition, passion, and resilience, but always be wary of crossing the line.

Inspired to make a bold business move or craft a story as compelling as Cruella's? Email me at debbieg@bizmadeez.com.


Let's paint your business world with shades of success.

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