Fashion Business Owner Musings: When we’re missing what’s important

There’s a lot we have to do as business owners, especially those of us with small (or non-existent) teams. Every day brings new challenges, new ideas, new tasks . . . and because of that, it’s easy to miss things.

Sometimes, it’s not a big deal to miss things.

But sometimes, it has a major impact on our business.

And at other times, it has a major impact on the people we’re serving.

And that’s a problem.

Because my hope is that you’re a business owner who cares deeply about the community you’re building and serving through your brand and your product.

And if that is the case, it’s important to make it a habit to pay attention to what’s being missed.

One way that this has shown up for me lately has been in the anti-racism work that I have incorporated into my life and business.

If you’ve read our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement, you know that I realized recently that StartUp FASHION’s core belief, the idea that everyone deserves the opportunity to go after their goals and dreams, is something that is drenched in privilege. Not just racial privilege but privilege associated with gender, sexual orientation, and ability, as well.

What started to become clear to me was that I had built a mission based on just my own lived experience. And that I needed help to learn about the lived experiences of others and a plan for how to make sure that my business serves those experiences, too.

So, the first part of this week’s musings is inviting you to think about where you might be missing important things in your business that are negatively impacting your community and the people you want to serve with your brand and your products.

Where are the holes?

What are you not realizing?

Where can you be doing better?

Where do you need help with these things?

If we want to run businesses that positively impact the world, we need to think about more of the world than just ourselves and what we know. We need to admit where we’ve messed up and acknowledge where we can do better. And then do better.

And the first step in doing better is knowing better.

The next part of this week’s musing is to ask you, if you’re willing, to share with me where StartUp FASHION has not served you based on your race, gender, ability, or sexual orientation. Share with me how you feel so that we can better support you.

How has our mission of helping you to build your business as an independent fashion designer, missed an important part of your lived experience?

I will never be able to walk in the shoes of many of you. My privilege as a straight, white woman who is not differently-abled is something that informs everything I experience. So it must be a habit of mine to pay attention to what I’m missing. And then use that information to do better.

So whether you’re reading this as someone who is now realizing that there are things you’ve been missing or you’re reading this as someone whose experiences have been ignored, my hope is that this musing serves you.

Inviting the former to have a good, long look inward.

And inviting the latter to share the challenges you face that have not been addressed by StartUp FASHION in your journey to building a successful 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!