Fashion Business Owner Musings: Are you Listening?

Have you thought at all about how important it is to listen?

I imagine you have, considering the Black Lives Matter movement and the important discussions about the need for white people to listen rather than defensively react to what they’re (hopefully) learning. The importance of listening has really come to the forefront, and rightly so.

And as I have spent the last several weeks learning to become a better listener, it became clear to me that listening is a skill. And it’s something we all need to work to improve, not only for the imperative mission of social justice but for our ability to build and run sustainable, profitable businesses.

As I said, listening is a skill. And it’s something that we as fashion business owners often don’t realize is strongly connected to success.

Think about it. What do you know about the people you are serving? Quite possibly it’s not nearly enough. Why is that?

Could it be because you’re not listening?

When you meet someone in person at an event (or when you used to before COVID!), are you left with an understanding of who that person is?

When you log onto social media are engaging and asking questions and listening to the people who follow you?

OK, I understand that when you’re getting a fashion business off the ground, it’s sometimes hard to get anyone to talk to you. But could that be because you are only trying to talk to them about yourself? Your business, Your product.

Listening is what makes you connect with someone.

When you’re truly listening you will be in sync with what they are feeling.

True listening is empathetic.

So what’s keeping us from listening?

Well, I think a big part of it is how social media has made communication so much about projecting our thoughts and voices rather than listening to others’ thoughts and voices.

Wouldn’t it so much more powerful if social media was more about listening, being curious about others, and asking good questions so that we can learn about the person and understand their story?

Your curiosity about others is what inspires thoughtful questions. Acting on that curiosity by asking those thoughtful questions is what helps you learn more about them. Listening to what they tell you when they’re answering those questions helps you build a business that better serves them.

So I’ll say it again: Listening is an essential skill for running a sustainable, profitable fashion business that truly serves your audience.

When you’re truly listening, you’re making people feel as though they’re the most important person at that moment.

Be curious. Ask good questions. Listen.

Use what you learn to fight for social justice, to run a strong business, and to be a better human.

Lots of love and encouragement,



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!