Fashion Business Owner Musings: It’s Really Difficult But it Gets Better

It’s difficult but it gets better. Yes, I’m talking about this business. Fashion.

An industry that is historically secretive and exclusive while also seemingly glamorous and exciting. Some people enter into it as trained designers. Others enter the fashion business as someone with an idea, usually shocked at the way the industry works, how difficult it is to find production they can count on, or unsure how to market themselves among a vast sea of fellow brands.

It’s a challenging time, especially if you’re coming at it with the determination to be self-made, whether by choice or necessity. When you don’t have an endless pool of money to pull from, concessions need to be made. And that’s hard.

The startup stage for any business is very challenging. That’s why so many fashion business owners quit in this stage. It tends to feel like nothing is ever going to work.

Finding production you can trust. Experimenting with marketing to find what works. Figuring out how to make more sales. These are the things you’re up against on a daily basis.

But I promise you, it gets better.

In all transparency, you’ll always face challenges. It’s just a given. That’s life. That’s work. The difference is that the challenges will not always feel as though they are detrimental to your ability to succeed. They start to feel less all-encompassing and more easily surmountable.

What changes?

It’s the way you internalize these challenges that changes.

It’s the way that you plan the directions and the goals for your business that changes.

It’s the way you delegate, negotiate, and adjust that changes.

Essentially, you become a better business person and things start to come together.

It’s in this stage, the startup stage, where you need to find an example you can look to. Someone who’s done it and seems to have figured out how to be happy. Someone who’s set big goals for themselves and reached those goals. Look to this person and their business every time you’re wondering if it will ever get better.

You also need the support of people who understand. You need people to lean on. You need to hear that you’re not the only one going through this.

And, at the risk of offering cliched, “obvious” advice, you have to stick with it. If you really want this, if you’re truly determined, sticking with it through the early years is something you have to do.

I’m not saying it’s easy. But I want you to know that it does get better. Things shift, they improve, something just clicks. And you find that, suddenly, things are moving in the right direction.

Remember that.

Lots of love and encouragement,

updated 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!