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Fashion Business Advice

Fashion Business Owner Musings: Be Aware of the Emotional Costs

In our membership group recently, one of our members (let’s call her Isabella) expressed to the group that she was struggling with something. A few years ago she had a negative experience with a service provider that impacted her finances and left her without product that she needed.

Even though years have passed, Isabella was still engaged in a back-and-forth conversation with this person. She’s been struggling to let go, hoping to get back some of what she lost. It was especially hard to let go because the service provider was apologetic, which made the ongoing conversation feel at least somewhat hopeful.

Isabella was struggling. Does she keep the conversation going, trying to get back all that is owed to her? Or does she let it go and move on?

My advice: Move on.

Accept it as a hard lesson learned and let it go.

I understand that whether we’re talking about a couple of years or a couple of months, when things like this happen, we tend to dig our heels in and want what’s fair. I get it, and I’ve done it myself.

Whether we’re talking about paid-for samples that never arrive or product we lend out for photo shoots that are never returned, these things cost us money. As independent businesses, there is usually no wiggle room for things like this. It’s infuriating and often crushing.

But there’s something you need to think about.

It’s important, as you grow your fashion business, to be aware of the emotional cost of things.

When you spend time stressing over things that you can’t really do anything about, it’s costing you something in your business- whether you realize it or not. Emotional cost is a real thing, and it can have an even more negative impact on your business that monetary cost.

Just the other day I found myself spending 35 minutes talking about something that someone did that was very unprofessional and had a negative impact on my business. Instead of accepting it and moving on, I wasted even more of my time and energy (two precious commodities for business owners) thinking about it and talking about it to a member of my team (therefore wasting his time too).

I spent so much energy on this that, upon realizing that was the case, I actually felt embarrassed. I said to myself, “Stop. There’s nothing to be done. Move on.”

As you can see, this is a practice that we all need to try to get good at. I am still trying to get better at being aware of the emotional costs of things in business. It’s not easy for me, but I’m learning.

So my hope is that if you see yourself reflected in this story, you’ll also try to stop and move on. Remind yourself of the emotional cost and save yourself the stress of it all.

Lots of love and encouragement,

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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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