Succeed in the Business of Fashion No Matter Your Location

Success in Fashion

It’s easy to believe that success in fashion is practically unattainable unless you live in New York City (or some other major fashion city). I’ve heard many emerging designers say that if only they were in NYC, business success would be easier. Well I call bullshit.

Sure, being around a garment district for things like sourcing is helpful. So is being surrounded by others who are working toward the same goals. But you know what? It doesn’t matter where you are. Business success takes the same amount of effort, tenacity, creativity, and resourcefulness whether you’re sitting in mid-town Manhattan or  Middlebury, VT.

Reasons when it does matter

  • You have dreams of being accepted into the CFDA
  • You want to go to Parsons, FIT, Central Saint Martins, or some other prestigious fashion school
  • Your life wouldn’t be complete without regular rides on the subway or tube

Reasons when it doesn’t matter

  • You have talent and skills for fashion design and want to make a business out of it
  • You’re determined to create your own path in life and build a business you love
  • You understand the need to marry your creative talent with business smarts
  • You are totally capable of being focused and tenacious
  • You constantly educate yourself on what’s happening in business and the world
  • You’re open to new possibilities and embrace change
  • You are inspired by challenges
  • You believe in your ability to drive your life in the direction you prefer
  • You understand that some level of failure is inevitable
  • You know how to use those failures to your advantage

See how the “doesn’t matter” column is way longer than the “does matter” column?

Think about it this way. Can you do the following?

  • Attract like-minded fashion people to build a sense of community
  • Meet with these people regularly and plan and scheme great and exciting things
  • Find brick and mortar locations to hold trunk shows
  • Host private sales and popups of your line in your home or someone else’s
  • Tell your story in a way that matters to your potential customers
  • Pick up the damn phone and make sales calls
  • Travel to new boutiques and meet the buyers
  • Hire a talented photographer to shoot your line
  • Work with a great web and graphic designer to create an awesome website
  • Go out (a lot!) and meet people, talk about what you do, listen to what they do
  • Wear your work all the time
  • Go to coffee shops, gallery openings, community softball games (whatever!) and be around people
  • Start a blog that will attract people to your work, and stay committed to it
  • Read books, blogs, and newspapers constantly and apply what you learn to your business
  • Review your finances regularly to make sure you’re on track

You answered yes? Of course you did. You can do most if not all of those things. Well, guess what. That means you have what it takes to be successful in the business of fashion.

Don’t use your geographical location as an excuse for not doing everything in your power to be successful. If you work your ass off to build and grow your business, it doesn’t matter where you are while you’re doing it.
Image via martinak15

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!