Fashion Business Owner Musings: It’s OK to Take a Break to Get Clear on Things

Dear Designers,

We’re taught that real entrepreneurs know what they want and go after it with clarity and determination. We’re meant to believe that any confusion about the path ahead means we’re doing something wrong. The problem with that mentality is that it prevents us from taking what we need to actually get clear on what we want.

Here’s what I mean. The fashion industry is bonkers — the business is changing quickly and constantly, success is measured is a variety of ways, the competition is high, and the learning curve expensive. And when you decide to take the leap to start your own brand, it can feel like you don’t have time to breathe, once things get started. It’s go, go, go. And with every day that passes and every decision that is made, it can feel as though you don’t have one single second to think about the choices you’re making and the direction you’re headed.

And when that’s the case, if the business isn’t quite performing like you’d hoped, the idea of taking a break to think, assess, and plan, seems like cop-out. It feels wrong. We worry we’re not “real” business owners, because real business owners don’t have these kinds of problems.

Well, that’s not true. We all have these kinds of problems. It’s just to different degrees and about different things.

We all need to take breaks. Some short, some long. There’s nothing wrong with that.

So here’s the thing, being in business is hard. Sometimes we find that the path that we’ve started down is not exactly what we want or what makes the most sense for our lives. We realize that maybe our business needs to head in a different direction.  

And that’s OK.

If you feel like you are not sure that what you’ve built so far is right, if something just feels off, it’s OK to stop, take a break, and figure out what you want. It’s more than OK, it’s a must. Because this is your life. Don’t compromise with it.

When I say “take a break”, I’m not suggesting that just a couple days will do the trick. I am giving you the permission to stop for as long as you need to, to really think critically about your goals, and to change course if you need to.

I know that’s scary. And you’re probably thinking “what if it all falls apart?!”. To which I answer, “If it’s not right, then what does it matter?”

Listen, sometimes we need time. We need time to figure out what we want. We need time to figure out how we’re going to get what we want. We need time to create the plan that will get us there. If time is what you need, take it. You owe no one anything. Except yourself. You owe yourself honesty and clarity.

As long as you’re not using time as an excuse or as a crutch, but instead are using it as a tool to help you get clear and create something that you truly love, then you are doing nothing wrong. You are still a business owner, you are still a designer, you are still making progress.

To be successful, you need be in a place where you believe in what you’re doing, you’re creating a business that complements the life you want, you’re making money, and you’re enjoying the work you do. If you feel like the path you’re currently on is not getting you to this place, then stop.

Take a break, think about what you want and how you can get there, and create a plan for doing so. Don’t keep going at something that doesn’t quite feel right for fear that taking a break will ruin everything. It won’t.

Lots of love and encouragement,

Nicole Giordano
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 Comment
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    Thank you so much for this piece Nicole!!! This is absolutely me right now. I started up my clothing brand along the line I got confused, scared and worried. I thought I had failed but I knew what i wanted i just didn’t know how to go about it, all I needed was a break to get myself back together, glad I did. I can’t wait to be back better and stronger!! Success is a result of preparation, hardwork and learning from failure-Colin Powell

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