4 Habits Fashion Designers Should Embrace to Truly Grow Their Businesses

habits fashion designers

This blog post is sponsored by our partners at Texworld USA. The content is inspired by three independent designer discussions that StartUp FASHION will be giving at the January show in NYC. But this post is just the beginning– if you’re in NYC this winter and would love to learn more about what we’re discussing below, join me at the show! I’ll be deep diving into these topics.

Creating habits in your fashion business is a really good idea. Every single day there’s so much to do and certain habits can have a real, tangible impact on the success of a business.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that some habits are more powerful than others. And certain habits impact certain areas of business, and help address important challenges, more than others.

There are four challenges that I absolutely know to have an impact on your ability to keep a business going and growing.  They are:

  • Your mindset and level of motivation
  • Your understanding of what really makes a brand
  • Your relationship with your customers
  • Your ability to sell

You can often overcome these challenges by getting into habits that push past them, get you activated, and help avoid feeling confused and lost.

Seek Newness and Positivity

Launching, running, and growing a fashion business is not easy. What is easy, is to fall into the negative feelings that can come along with business ownership, rather than focusing on the positive and embracing change with excitement and a sense of adventure.

This may sound obvious but I promise you, when you’re in it, it’s much harder to pull off.

When you’re finding yourself caught up in the day-to-day craziness and the constant hustle and stress, one of the best things you can do to pull yourself out of it is remind yourself of why you’re in business in the first place. And find ways to tap into the things that you enjoy most about your business.

Things like sketching new ideas, playing around with fabric swatches and draping on the dress form, talking shop with other designers who are just as excited to be in this industry, talking to your current customers or people who are anxiously awaiting your launch, are all easy ways to get back in touch with your excitement, feel rejuvenated, and pull yourself out of the redundancy of the everyday business operations.

If you can make this a habit in your business, and create a plan to jump into as soon as you’re feeling drab and without motivation, you will start to see how much less the hard parts chip away at your drive. And how much more you feel good about what you’re doing, even when things aren’t perfect!

Take a look inside last summer’s Texworld USA and Apparelsourcing USA shows. You’ll totally get what I mean when I say “seek newness and positivity“! Watching this video reminds me of all the reasons why I love this event.

Treat Your Customers Like Friends

One of the best habits a designer can get into is to think about and treat your customers like they’re your friends.

Honestly, when you think about how much someone is interested in what their friends have to say compared to what a business that is trying to sell to them has to say, it’s kind of a no-brainer. People absolutely hate being sold to. So think about your customers as people, speak to them that way, and it will become obvious that the sales talk is not what gets you far in business.

Instead, think about how you like to be spoken to, think about the relationship you want to have with your customers,  and think about who your customers are as people, not as your customers. Then make it a habit to speak to them in a way that correlates with both of those things.

So every pieces of copy your write, every speech you give, every email you send should take this into consideration. get into that habit, and watch how your business starts to transform.

Expand Your Idea of a Brand

So many designers make the mistake of thinking their brand is their logo, colors, and fonts.

Your brand isn’t even what you think it is. Nope. It’s what others perceive it to be. Meaning, it doesn’t matter what you think your brand is if that message isn’t being received by the people you’re trying to sell to.

Your brand is a feeling. Your brand is a set of values. Your brand has a purpose. These are things that make up a brand long before you pick colors, or fonts, or images, or graphics.

I’m not saying that you, as the designer, don’t get to define your brand. What I’m saying is that you, as the designer, must take the time to define your brand before trying to communicate it through the visuals.

If you can learn to expand your idea of what makes a brand and make it a habit to use that information in all of your communications, you will start to create a community and an audience around your business. And we all know what that means: sales!

Create Your Strategy for Selling

All too often I see designers and brands jump into their business without taking the time to figure out how they’re going to make money. Kind of important, right? Now, while I’m not a fan of overly detailed and incredibly long business plan, I am a fan of creating a basic strategy.

Will you be selling direct to consumer? If so, how?

  • On your website
  • Through pop-ups
  • At markets and fairs
  • Do you have an understanding of paid digital advertising, organic social media reach, and search engine optimization?

Will you be selling wholesale? If so, how?

  • To department stores
  • To specialty shops and boutiques
  • Through trunk shows or pop-in shops
  • Do you have an understanding of how to reach buyers, what to say, and how to keep the conversation going and orders flowing?

These things are what makes it possible sell successfully. Without know what you’re doing, you will be left wondering what went wrong. Making it a habit to create strategies or plans around your sales channels will make all the difference when you launch a new collection.

There you go. Those are four habits that you can start ti implement that will make an obvious and tangible difference in your business. You’ll see more sales, feel less stressed, and enjoy your business way more than ever before.

Texworld USA is favorite show of mine not just for sourcing fabrics and attending amazing seminars, but also to connect with fellow designers and create relationships with people who working towards the same goals. Community is so important, and Texworld USA is a great place to find it. Register for free here!


Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Brittany

    Hi! You said you will be speaking Monday, January 24th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm, but January 24th is a Wednesday. Just making sure I can come!

    • Nicole Giordano

      Thanks for pointing that out, Brittany! I’ll be speaking all three days @ noon. The 22nd, the 23rd, and the 24th. 🙂

  2. Vera Ginter

    This was such an interesting and encouraging article! I loved your first point. It helps to be reminded of the basic but important details which are easy to forget.

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