Fashion Business Owner Musings: Acknowledge the Scary Things

spacerSo I recently floated in what seemed like a wicker basket, attached to a balloon, 5,000 feet above sea level with nothing keeping me (and the 5 other individuals inside) up in the sky except air and fire.

Let me just say that I get dizzy standing on the second-floor balcony at the theater. So this was not an easy decision for me.

While visiting Turkey, my partner Jim thought this would be a good idea. “Doesn’t it sound awesome?!” No, it most certainly does not. No, I don’t want to hang my face over the side of the basket looking down at the miniature, barely visible trees and people below. Nope. Uh-uh. Pass.

That is freaking scary and I don’t like being scared. I don’t do scary things.

But then I realized, yes I actually do do scary things. I’ve been doing scary things my whole freaking life.

I got an apartment when I was 18 years old while in college and worked three jobs at once to pay for it.

I moved to Singapore having never spent any real time in Asia.

I started a business from a blog that made no money at the time.

I’ve made a habit of doing scary things in my life when it comes to what I want my life to be. But for whatever reason, that didn’t translate to doing scary things where I felt physically unsafe.

Jump into running a fashion business, people counting on me, livelihood most definitely in a questionable state. Sure.

Jump out of an airplane with a parachute strapped on my back, finger crossed it opens? No. Damn. Way.

The difference is that floating 5000 feet in the air is obviously scary. Meaning, you can fully understand why that would scare someone.

But other things, like starting a fashion business, don’t as obviously feel like a threat to your safety. You may know deep down that it’s a scary thing to do, but it usually doesn’t cause a physical reaction. It worries you. You question your ability to make smart decisions. It makes you nervous. But most of the time you don’t feel like there’s a chance that you’ll die.

So, back to that balloon. There I am faced with the decision as to whether or not to actually pay someone real money to take me up in that balloon (I still believe someone should have paid me), and so I had a conversation with myself.

I thought, I need to do this.


Because everything I’ve ever accomplished in my life has come on the tail end of a series of very scary endeavors. Making decisions to build a fashion business when the bank account is way skint. Speaking at a conference because you know it’s a good way to grow. Hiring someone new.

I need to acknowledge the scary things I have done and continue to do. Give myself those props. Tell myself I’m proud of myself.

And so do you.

YOU need to do this. YOU need to acknowledge all the scary things you have done and continue to do. Give YOURSELF those props. Tell YOURSELF you’re proud of yourself.

Because that’s when you realize what you’re capable of.

That’s when you realize how strong you are.

That’s when you realize how brave you are.

And that’s when you realize that even when your circumstance seems completely insurmountable, even when the steps you’re about to take seem certifiably insane, even when it’s clear that if this goes wrong, it’s gonna really suck… even when all this is true, you will do it anyway because you.are.brave.

Lots of love and encouragement,

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P.S. In case you’re wondering, no I will not jump out of an airplane with a parachute strapped on my back, finger crossed it opens. There are plenty of other scary things I can do first. 😉

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!