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Fashion Business Advice

4 Tips for Starting Your Own Fashion Mastermind Group

fashion mastermind group

Once upon a time three internet friends, each entrepreneurs in the fashion industry, were successfully growing their businesses. Tasks were getting done and growth was happening, but they each felt like something was missing.  All three of them were part of their own  fashion communities and liked being so, but they realized that they were looking for something in addition to a community; something more close-knit, a smaller group of trusted colleagues where they could comfortably share their ideas, frustrations, and needs.

Then they had an epiphany.

They realized that they had been informally helping one another whenever they could with the inevitable problems that come up when running a business. And that, if they put some structure around this help, they would each see incredible growth in their businesses while simultaneously helping the other two to grow as well.

It was a classic win-win-win situation and they happily set out to make it happen.

The end.

Well, sort of. A lot more goes into it than that.

These three friends are me, Shannon Lohr (Factory45), and Lorraine Sanders (Pressdope). And our epiphany was the moment that we realized that we could create an intimate group of business confidants, that guided, suggested, and gave feedback to one another in a safe space.

It would be a group we could trust with business ideas, a group we could collaborate with, a group we could present seriously stupid ideas to and not get laughed at but instead guided in the right direction.

We became best business buddies and it’s awesome.

And we decided that we want to share what we did, why we did it, and how we did it, with you. So that you can do it too.

Here are 4 Tips for Starting Your Own Fashion Mastermind Group

Step One – Find People You Click With

One of the reasons that our fashion mastermind group works so well is that all three of us click. Now, that doesn’t mean that we’re all similar people, it means that we respect each other’s opinions, expertise, and accomplishments. We truly care about what the others have to offer and we take into account their feedback and ideas.

In addition to this, our businesses are complementary but not competitive. So our conversations come from a good place. We offer real advice and insight without worrying that we’re being naive or too trusting. That’s important.

Finally, we often think differently. And because of that, we’re not just telling each other what we think we want to hear but instead are offering our own points of view.

Some misconceptions about what you need from the people in a mastermind group are:

  • I need people who I’d be friends with outside of work.
  • I need people who are working on the same kind of fashion business as I am.
  • I need people who think just like me.

Don’t fall into that trap. When you look for people to join your group, look for people you click with, not people just like you. There’s a big difference.

Step Two- Get Organized

Mastermind groups can go awry quickly if you don’t spend time creating a structure. Especially in the beginning. To make your group work, set meetings in advance (first Monday of every month is one example), and stick to it.

Also consider having structure during your meeting. Give each person a certain amount of time to speak, and decide on a flow or process for how each person will get help and guidance. Make sure each member comes prepared with something to discuss.

If you just sort of randomly hold meetings and then get on the call without a focus or a topic, it quickly becomes a fruitless hang out session. Which is fine, but not really the point, right?

Step Three- Be Committed

If you join a group, then join a group. It’s not going to work if all members aren’t committed. Put meetings on your calendars, show up on time, be present, and contribute to the conversation.

Being a part of a mastermind group is a commitment and, in order for it work, you have to treat like one.

Step Four- Listen, Learn, and Leave Judgement at the Door

The best part of a fashion mastermind group is how much everyone can learn form one another. It’s so easy to come to meetings with a list of things you want help with but that’s not always where the gold is. Listen to what others are struggling with or asking about, and pay attention to the responses from fellow group members.  It’s not only about you. When you’re listening, you’re learning.

Finally, you have to leave all judgement at the door. A mastermind is supposed to be a safe place to talk. Confidentiality is paramount, and when people share, keep an open mind. Don’t judge their choices, tell them they’re wrong, or suggest they change something they haven’t asked for your input on.

And there you go. Those are my first four tips for starting a successful fashion mastermind group.

 

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online community and support system for independent designers around the world. She’s a traveler, a weaver, and a foodie. A deep love for the craft of fashion pared with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION were 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!

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