Fashion Business Owner Musings: We All Crave Encouragement

One time, a fellow fashion business person who also happens to do work helping independent designers succeed, asked me, What’s with all the rah-rah?

It was in response to my weekly letters to independent designers. She wanted to know why I had built StartUp FASHION around the concept of encouragement? In a nutshell, she claimed that what designers actually need is information and education.

And of course you do.

All fashion business owners need info and education. But encouragement is just as, if not more, important.

Let’s be real. Google has made access to information commonplace. With enough time and patience, anyone can find almost anything they’re looking for.

But support, encouragement, and yes “rah-rah,”  does not come from a google search. Unless of course, you find StartUp FASHION through Google. Then, that’s exactly what it offers!

I realized a long time ago that if I was going to succeed in building a lifestyle business that made me happy, I couldn’t do it alone. And “alone” is something we feel regularly as independent fashion business owners. I do, you do, we all do.

And needing someone or several someones to turn to when things are crappy — and to jump up and down with when things are amazing — is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, when you find it, it’s something to be proud of and to hold on to.

It’s an important component of your business. Just as important as knowing how to cut that sleeve or draft that pattern or set up your e-commerce.

Because all the talent and technical skills and perfect financial spreadsheets in the world won’t matter one bit if the weight and pressure and fear and confusion of entrepreneurship is not addressed and dealt with.

When I first decided to launch StartUp FASHION, it was very much focused on resources, tools, and information. And it still is- we offer all kinds of tools and templates and guides and tips.

But, it didn’t take me long to realize that what brought you all back day after day, what triggered you to become members of the StartUp FASHION Community, is the support, encouragement, trust, friendships, and love.

Reworking our brand message to focus on these assets was the smartest thing we ever did. Why? Because we started to attract the right kinds of designers, those of you who know the struggle is real and want to help your fellow designers as much as you want help from them.

And having you all here, especially within the community where the conversation is strong and helpful, has caused a community to expand into a movement.

You all are amazing. Your heartfelt emails to us thanking us for what we do are the fuel that keeps me going when the pressures of my business are weighing on me. That’s my “rah-rah” and I know without a doubt that if not for your support and encouragement to me, I couldn’t keep going.

So we work hard to give you that support and encouragement in exchange.

Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like what you do isn’t important or that needing help, needing support, needing encouragement isn’t a valid need in your business. Invest in these things the same way you would invest in tools and education because without them, it’s so hard to get through the crap to get to the good stuff.

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!