Fashion Business Owner Musings: Break Down Your Own Barriers

Business owner musings

The only person standing in your way is you.

I say this statement to myself often. It’s a tough thing to hear but it’s the truth. It’s tough because it means you have no one to blame for your lack of advancement but yourself. You can’t say things like…

The buyers aren’t emailing me back.

My production partner totally screwed up my samples.

I don’t have the money.

I don’t have time for that.

Nobody is visiting my website.

I mean, you can say those things but ultimately what those sentences boil down to is that you need to find ways around the issues. YOU. You are the one who is responsible for your business. And you are the one who is responsible for your own success.

You have the power to break down your own barriers. You have the power to make choices and changes to improve your circumstances. You have the power to look every obstacle straight on and come up with a plan to get past them. 

That’s the only way this is going to work. It’s the only way that doors will open, emails will be returned, and your circumstances will change.

I know what you’re thinking. “How can I change the fact that a buyer isn’t returning my emails? How can I redo my samples when I used all my money on the first round?”

Here’s the thing, you have to think about individual, specific things you can do to improve the situation. That way it feels less like a giant mountain to get over and more like a series of small steps you can take.

So maybe that means that you need to tap into everyone in your network to see if you can get a warm intro to that buyer. Maybe that means you pick up the phone and call the buyer rather than hiding behind email. Maybe that means if this buyer never does respond to you that you need to find a different buyer or a different boutique, or a different means of selling your product.

Maybe that means if your samples came back incorrect, you very professionally request a refund or a fix from the sample maker. Maybe that means if they give you push back you talk to a lawyer. Maybe that means you join a community or an organization that helps designers with production. Maybe that means you need to get a side job for extra money as you work through the early and often confusing stages of your business.

My point is this, there is always something you can do, someone you can talk to, a step to take, or a decision to make that puts the power in your hands. You just need to recognize that fact and work out exactly how you’re going to improve your own circumstances; how you’re going to make the necessary changes to move your business forward and reach the goals you’re after.

Last week I wrote about how things aren’t really that big of a deal. If you keep that mindset, if you remember that no one is going to die based on your business decisions, getting out of your own way and breaking down your own barriers becomes an easier thing to do.

Keep moving, keep making things happen for yourself, designers. Because no one can do it for you.

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!

  1. Cindy Fessler

    Hi Nicole,
    I get so much encouragement from you posts. I was really down today, struggling with my business and beating myself up for not doing more and made at suppliers for giving me confusing information. I read your blog and felt so much better knowing that I am responsible for and empowered to solve everything that is a challenge with my business.

    Thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration to me and for keeping me going when it seems kinda hopeless.


    • Nicole Giordano

      Thank you so very much for your comment, Cindy. you have no idea how much that means to me.

      I’m sorry to hear that yesterday wasn’t a great day. But I’m glad the post was timely and helped you to feel empowered. Sometimes when I’m struggling or questioning what the hell I’m doing, I think about how fortunate I am to have the power to make these choices and the ability to create the things I want, even if it takes more time than I’d anticipated.

      Hope today was a better!

  2. Billy Bones

    Great read, I like this. Especially ” someone you can talk to, a step to take, or a decision to make that puts the power in your hands”, very true statement. Thanks

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