Fashion Business Owner Musings: Weighing Cost vs Impact

Dear Designers,

I’ve been thinking about how we make decisions for the “unnecessary” things in our businesses. If you’re like me, you tend to play it safe. You tend to do the smart thing, which is to weigh the necessity of things before spending the money. That’s a good thing. Great, really. Being a responsible fashion business owner is commendable. But sometimes I think we need to weigh more than simply the necessity of something. We need to also weigh the impact.

Here’s what I mean. There are things that we don’t need in order to run our businesses but, if we had them, the impact they would make on things like our emotional health, confidence levels, productivity, socialization, and/or even physical health would be massive.

An example of this is for me is office space. I’ve spent the last 5 years telling myself that we are a digital business, with a global team, so there’s no reason for me to spend the money for an office space when we don’t need one. Coffee shops and a home office will do just fine, thank you very much.

I was wrong.

Well not wrong, because for a while, that was true.

But I’d say around a year ago I started yearning for a place to go several days a week that wasn’t my home and wasn’t the local coffee shop with its $4 iced coffees. Prior to that, I really didn’t “yearn” for a space. Though still, when this feeling did start, I talked myself out of it.

“I don’t need to spend precious overhead dollars on an office.”

“I won’t even be there every single day of the week and I travel a lot.”

“I could certainly use that money for something else that’s more important.”

“If the temperature falls below 40 or rises above 90, I’m not going anywhere, so why bother?”

Honestly, these are the things I kept saying to myself.

But then something happened. I realized that it’s not just about the logic and the necessity. It’s about how it makes me feel. It’s about the ways it impacts my productivity. It’s about the act of getting up, getting dressed, leaving the house, having time away from my home. It’s about meeting people and creating face-to-face relationships.

These feelings and actions matter, and by continuing to tell myself that the expense is irresponsible, I was doing myself and my business a disservice.

Now, this isn’t an invitation to just go and spend money all over the place. As a startup, you do need to be responsible. But as you start to develop your business, I want to you avoid the automatic “nope!” for everything that costs money, and instead start to think about the impact too.

Ask yourself, what impact would this have on me and my business?

If it would really make a difference in a positive way, then consider it. Maybe budget for it for the near future.

The point is this: money is not the only deciding factor for every single thing in your fashion business.

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!