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Fashion Business Owner Musings: Why Should I Bother?

2016-09-17
When it comes to business advice, there’s a lot of talk about creating something special. About how it’s important to find ways to stand out. And why you can’t just be another fashion brand or designer if you expect to have customers.
I understand this advice; it’s advice that I give too. As business owners in a very saturated market and at a time when “access” is a given for customers, there is certainly a need to differentiate your brand in a way that captures your customers attention, hearts, and loyalty.
But I think that this advice can sometimes be misconstrued. I think that sometimes we take this to mean that we’re wasting our time in building our businesses because what if we just don’t really have any original ideas?  I think some of us, while building our businesses, can find ourselves in a mindset of “Why am I even doing this?” or “Is it even possible to design yet another handbag that people will want?”.
That mindset is not fun. It makes you doubt not just yourself and your business but your desire for entrepreneurship as a whole. It makes you wonder if you’ve made a terrible mistake and whether you should be spending your time online looking for a job rather than spending your days doing what you love to do.
I’ve been there. At a birds eye glance, my business is a resource and community for independent fashion designers as they work to build their businesses. Yeah, so are a lot of other brands out there. Every time we turn around there’s a new resource and for awhile, every time I saw one pop up I wondered, “Is this it? Is this the one that will tip the scales and cause me to lose my audience?”
At first thought that seems like a legitimate concern. I mean there is only so much room for the same kind of business, right?
Wrong. I no longer let myself think that way. Not only because it’s destructive but because time and again, I’ve been proven wrong. Every time I discovered a new competitor, I would have the mini panic, then go back to work, then realize that their existence has not inhibited me in any way to continue to build my business.
So I want to make sure that you understand that the same is true for you.
Yes, there are a lot of fashion brands out there. There are many many makers of clothing, handbags, jewelry, scarves, shoes, swimwear, and lingerie. Yourselves included. But every single one of you have the ability to succeed with your businesses. Every single one of you can build the business that you want to build.
And that’s because it’s about your own, individual approach.  When you make your brand about your beliefs and your views and your ideas about life and design and needs, you’re creating a brand that no one can copy.  When you share your voice and let them see your facial expressions, and pick your favorite colors, and mix them with the fonts and imagery that make you happy, you are creating an experience that no one else can give them.
Now, not everyone will subscribe to your particular approach. They’ll be drawn to another designer. And that’s OK, that’s why there is room for everyone.
Your visual branding, your emotional branding, and your outlook on life are what make you, you. So let yourself take that same special and specific recipe and apply it to your business. When you do, you’ll start to see how much easier it is to find the success and confidence that you are (we all are) after.
Lots of love and encouragement,
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