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Fashion Business Advice

Fashion Business Owner Musings: When Your Ideas Don’t Work Out as Planned So Next Time You Aim for Perfection

Dear Designers,

Something I often hear from a lot of you is a lamentation about how you tried something, it didn’t work, and now you want to try again, but this time, “make it perfect”.

I understand the sentiment and applaud the tenacity. You should absolutely try again when something doesn’t work. But honestly, “perfect” is never attainable.  (And thank goodness for that.)

The problem with trying to make the second attempt perfect is that in doing so, you’re holding up progress.

Listen, I know that when an attempt at something fails, it feels like the logical next step is to do it again and, this time, make no mistakes. Plan everything so perfectly that success is inevitable.

But when has that ever worked?

Let’s say you launched your line and received one sale on your website and no bites from buyers. Most likely, you’re considering that a failed launch. Noted.

What would you do next? My guess is one of the following:

  • Close up shop and never try it again because, clearly, you have no idea what you’re doing. (Don’t so this. You will figure out what needs to be done.)
  • Relaunch but this time you’re going to make it perfect with a “perfect” product, a “perfect website”, a “perfect” promotional plan so that everyone will love it and it will be a great success.

But what the hell is “perfect”?

It’s such a nebulous term. Perfect to one is not perfect to another. And if you try to reach perfection in an attempt to correct what went wrong the first time you launched, you’ll never relaunch. You’ll never learn from your mistakes. You’ll never be proud of how far you’ve already come.

When it comes to correcting course, your best bet is to take a little bit of time to analyze the first attempt. Ask yourself what you think could have gone wrong, what you might be able to adjust moving forward. Chances are you’ll come up with an answer that you can work on– something like, “I didn’t really understand how to talk to my customer.” Or, “my website had really poor product descriptions.” See how things like that are much more focused than, “it wasn’t perfect, now I need to redo it but be perfect.”?

Making attempts is a process that never ends for entrepreneurs. We are constantly making attempts in every area of our businesses. It’s a learning process and an ongoing one at that.

But if we clog up those attempts with the determination to reach perfection, or with the belief that perfection is what’s needed to succeed, then we won’t succeed. I promise you that.

The best thing we can do when something fails, is to accept it, review it, learn from it, and try again.

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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