We’re business owners. We knew getting into it that launching and running a business was not going to be easy. We knew that the days would be long, the questions and confusion would seem endless, and the chance that it wouldn’t work was a very true reality. But it didn’t stop us. We’re doing it anyway because we love it and because we couldn’t quite imagine doing anything else.
But that doesn’t change the fact that there really is so very much to do every single day. There’s so much running around, so many questions to ask your fellow designers, and experts consult. It can be draining and at times make you forget why you’re doing this.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to find ways to truly enjoy what you’re doing.
With the Texworld USA trade show coming up, I started thinking more about why I (and so many designers I know) enjoy attending each season. Yes, tradeshows are about making business connections, ordering materials, attending seminars, and learning a lot. But they’re also about reveling in what it’s like to run and grow your own business in fashion. If you can’t enjoy it, then why would you be doing it, right?
Trade shows are about Inspiration…
I see this each season when I walk around the show floor and I come upon the Trend Forum at Texworld. Designers standing in the forum, gazing at the fabric swatches, touching the textured wovens and lightly tugging on the stretchy knits. They’re taking it all in, scribbling in their sketchbooks, writing down thoughts and opinions on the colors, the textures, the fabric structures, and the patterns that they’re seeing. This is one of the most fun parts of running your fashion business — the designing, the ideas, the inspiration. That alone is something you should never forget.
Trade shows are about Connection…
I love meeting new people, don’t you? But even more than meeting people, I love connecting with people. When you meet someone and connect with them around a similar passion, point of view, or value system, the possibilities for friendship, business relationships, and collaboration are endless.
Fashion trade shows are a no-brainer place to not only meet fellow business owners but to connect with them around something you feel passionate about — business, entrepreneurship, design aesthetic, challenging the status quo. These are all things that independent designers tend to have in common and based on which you have the opportunity to build a solid, long lasting connection.
Trade shows are about Community…
Is there any better feeling than realizing that you’ve “found your tribe”?! Those people who are doing what you’re doing, who understand the hurdles and the triumphs better than anyone else in your life, and who are going through exactly the same things as you’re going through at any given moment? When you get to surround yourself with successful people who are doing what you’re doing, the energy you feel is thrilling. You’re pumped, you’re inspired, you’re anxious to get back to your desk and make amazing things happen in your business! I can’t stress enough the power that this has.
“You can’t be what you can’t see” is a well-known and very true sentiment. When you spend the day at a trade show, you see others who are doing amazing things, you see new designers with big dreams and exciting plans, you see seasoned designers who have built incredible businesses, and you see that you are not alone in this journey.
Trade shows are about Discovery…
Exploring and discovering new things is one of the most fun parts of running and growing any business, but it’s especially true for creative businesses like fashion. As you walk the aisles of fashion trade shows you discover all kinds of amazing things visually– innovation in textiles, new color combinations, and interesting silhouettes. You also discover all kinds of things by listening — the kinds of questions to ask, how to interact with vendors, and ways to talk about your brand and business.
Exploration tends to be something that we as business owners don’t put a lot of time into. It seems frivolous to spend a day discovering and taking in new ideas and new ways of thinking. But it’s not frivolous at all, it’s an important and necessary part of growth and success.
I wanted to write about this topic because as I think about why Texworld USA and Apparelsourcing USA are sponsors of StartUp FASHION, I’m reminded of the importance of enjoying your business. Yes, sourcing fabrics and attending seminars are fantastic reasons to attend these shows. But so are inspiration, connection, community, and discovery.
I’ll be walking the show in July, like I do every season, to be inspired, discover new things, and hopefully connect with a lot of you!
I hope to see you there.
As I mentioned,Texworld USA and Apparelsourcing USA are our sponsors because we really believe in the importance of attending shows like this as a means of learning, connecting, and building a stronger business.