Fashion Business Owner Musings: Dealing with the Fear of Rejection


I think every time we make an excuse about why we can’t do something, it stems from fear of rejection.

Fear of rejection paralyses us. We can’t seem to move past the the idea that someone will say no to us, or laugh at us, so (whether consciously or subconsciously) we avoid situations that could put us in that situation.

The thing is, our fear of rejection is probably doing a lot more to harm us than we realize.

  • When we fear rejection, we don’t put ourselves out there.
  • When we fear rejection, we don’t try new things.
  • When we fear rejection, we don’t take risks.

These may seem like vague ideas but they’re not. Apply them to the specifics and see what I mean. 

We don’t put ourselves out there = we don’t talk about about the work we’re doing or build brand recognition.

We don’t put ourselves out there = we don’t let ourselves become vulnerable or create relationships with our audience.

We don’t try new things = we do the same old posting on Instagram, wondering why it’s not an effective sales channel for us.

We don’t try new things = we don’t pitch a trunk show or invest in a pop up shop or find new and interesting ways to make sales.

We don’t take risks = we don’t pick up the phone and actually call a buyer.

We don’t take risks = we stick to the same boring language and corporate copy we’re used to rather than speaking from the heart.

Do you see what I mean? These are just a few of the examples that came to mind as I am writing this post. But our fear of rejection reaches far more areas of our business than just this.

Rejection is going to happen. This is business, not everyone is going to get what you’re doing. And not everyone is going to care. It’s important that we all understand that and work to move past it.

The designers I see reaching their goals and growing their businesses, are the ones that don’t let a fear of rejection stop them from doing whatever they need to do to make things happen.

When you’re hesitating to do something, or find yourself nervous about what could happen if you try something, remind yourself that this fear, this anxiety in your belly, is all part of the process.  Ask yourself how important the success of your business is to you.  And when you answer “very!”, then you know it’s time to ignore the fear, accept the possibility of rejection, and then do it anyway.

Lots of love and encouragement,

Nicole Signature

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. Oluwatobi Omotayo

    This came at the right time when I was doubting my abilities especially when I see products made by notable fashion designers. Thank you very much.

    • Casey Cline

      I’m so glad you found this post at the right time!

  2. Clare

    Nicole, thanks for this. You are right; the fear of rejection is a big thing, indeed. I know I have suffered from it, and it stems from a lack of belief in myself and what I want to do.
    I know where it came from; childhood issue stuff that I finally had to face when I got divorced; in a way, the whole thing was a blessing because when this fundamental fact was finally brought to light I had the wherewithal to do something about it and address the childhood issue stuff and get it resolved.
    Sometimes we have to face the fact that those we thought would be most encouraging are not; and rather than waste valuable time trying to figure out why, we just have to move on and know that some of those close to us will be very encouraging and supportive and some will not. The same is true in business of any sort; some people will be delighted to become our customers and clients, and some will not. We cannot allow those who do not choose to do business with us – those who reject us – to influence us in a negative way. We can choose how we react to rejection; we can learn to fine-tune our presentation, our branding and our style, or we can choose to allow ourselves to get depressed. Depression is not a valid option! If we believe in ourselves and our vision, we can always find those who would enjoy doing business with us!

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