Fashion Business Owner Musings: The importance of finding compromise

Dear Designers,

As fashion business owners, accepting that everything is not going to be exactly how we want it to be when we want it to be can be painful. Vision and intent don’t like to be overshadowed by practicality and ability. But often, they are.

And we need to be OK with that.

I’ve been battling with the idea of compromise a lot lately – both in my personal life and in work.  Honestly, the concept seems to come up a lot more than I would have guessed, if asked.

It usually starts as a decision . . .

From the privileged personal things like, Do we use this month’s house renovation budget to fix the fireplace or tile the bathroom? to the strategic business things like, Which projects are we willing to put on hold until next year when we can devote more of our budget and time?

When we’re in these moments of decision making, maybe we don’t quite realize that we’re up against a compromise. They often feel like either/or (fireplace or tile) (new website or fun video campaign) and it’s frustrating to have to make that choice.

But what if we tried compromise instead? I know, you want it all and you want it now. But that’s not always possible. And as fashion business owners, it’s our job to recognize that and make the best possible decision we can. Sometimes that decision is a compromise.

So what if it becomes a pared down new website and a smaller video campaign? Do you really need a full production set and professional videographer to create that video or could you start with your phone, a stand, and a great idea for now?

Do you really need to launch with 15 styles or could you start with 6 and then build out from there?

And do you really need that expensive software or will Google Docs work just fine for the time being?

See what I mean? So much of what we want, or believe we need, in our businesses, can be adjusted with compromise. It’s the bootstrapper’s secret weapon.

Sure, we see these seemingly large businesses with budgets we could only dream of, pulling off all kinds of incredible things for their brands. And we’re kinda jealous. It’s understandable. But remember, inching your way there through responsible decision making and a whole lot of compromise is not a bad thing. It may be a frustrating thing at times, but it’s not bad.

Let’s all try to recognize the opportunities to compromise and use them to them to make progress. Before we know it we’ll be good at it and just may continue to use compromise as a thoughtful growth strategy.

As for me, I think I’ll go with fixing the fireplace and getting the less expensive (and less awesome) tile for the bathroom. See, it’s working already.

Lots of love and encouragement,

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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!