Fashion Business Musings: Don’t Stifle Your Success for Fear of What Others Think


Caring about what others think of us is natural. We want to make a good impression, we want to put our best foot forward. I get that. When we’re young, this tends to be more prominent. It’s hard to be 13 and be OK with the fact that you don’t fit in. As we get older, we get better at ignoring it. But to some degree, I think we’ll always care a little bit.

Caring a little is OK. But the problem arises when we let how much we care about what other people think, stop us from doing what feels right to us.

While this point applies to life in general, right now I’m talking specifically about how we succeed in our businesses. Most of us are navigating this journey with a faulty compass, working like crazy to build the life and business we want for ourselves and our families. And because there is no one way to build a business, we’re often second guessing our decisions and allowing ourselves to listen a little too much to the feedback, advice, and “constructive criticism” of others.

This can present itself in so many different ways.

  • not trying new marketing ideas for fear of them flopping and people smulgy saying “I told ya so.”
  • redesigning collections because someone thinks it’s ugly or unflattering or boring or nothing special.
  • making decisions about the direction and growth of our businesses because of feedback from someone whose MBA automatically makes them an “expert.”
  • not launching a business at all because some people in your life “don’t get it.”
  • not trying every possible sales angle for fear of looking crazy or desperate or clueless.

I once listened to a podcast with Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, where she talked about the early days of starting her business. She talked about how she had no idea what she was doing, how people told her she was crazy, how people didn’t get the product, how she would run around department stores re-merchandising her product to better position it for sales, and so much more.

Everything she said, I found myself saying in my head, “Wow.” Because no matter how much other people thought she would fail, no matter how much other people thought her idea was a stinker, no matter how much people thought her techniques were crazy and “wouldn’t scale”, she didn’t stop. She didn’t let her possibility of success shrivel up and die.

She didn’t let what other people thought of her, her idea, or her methods keep her from going after her goals.

And you shouldn’t either.

There are always going to be a lot of things that pop up in our businesses that could seem silly or desperate or like “bad ideas”. And some of them may be. But it’s our right and privilege as business owners to find that out for ourselves, to try what feels right to us. If it flops, so be it. We’ll learn and move on.

But what if it succeeds?

What if everything you’ve been working so hard for is just right there within arms reach; just past that belief that what other people think matters more than what we believe to be right for our own businesses?

Imagine that. Keep it in your mind the next time you find yourself listening just a little too much to others’ opinions, the next time you “feel stupid” about trying something in your business, the next time you’re ready to give up on an idea simply because someone else doesn’t like it.

If you can do that, if you can catch yourself when you’re giving others permission to stifle your success, I promise you that you’ll start to see the progress in your business that you’re  wanting so badly. Opportunities will open up for you and goals will be reached.

Try it, OK?

Lots of love and encouragement,

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!

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