Fashion Business Owner Musings: Not Everyone is Going to Understand Your Journey

There was a discussion in the StartUp FASHION Community about the lack of support from our loved ones as we work to build and grow our businesses. This is such an important topic because it’s a very common scenario for entrepreneurs.

I have been quite fortunate to have completely avoided this. I have parents who have always supported my dreams and encouraged me to take my own path and I’ve not had many (if any) close friends who felt I was ignoring them.  I also have a life partner who is my partner in this business; he built the website and handles all tech related needs with a patience and a level of calm in the face of disaster that I have never in my life possessed.

But I’m not in the majority here. I know that this is not the case for many, many people who have decided to create their own futures, who have quit lucrative jobs to pursue their dreams, who have declined dinner plans, skipped vacations, and spent weeks on end in their home offices working to exhaustion.

So often as we work to build these businesses of ours, we’re faced with the extra issue of not getting the support we need from the people we love and this issue adds an extra layer of stress that we really don’t want to be dealing with.

This is a problem. There are too many things that we are already dealing with- exhaustion, stress over money, questioning our own abilities, questioning our own sanity!- that when the people who are most important to us are wondering out loud if this is a good idea, then we really start to wonder if we’re making a big fat mistake.

Well, we’re not. I’m not and you’re not.

Please, designers, don’t let this negativity dissuade you from following your dreams and reaching your goals. People who don’t have the similar dreams and goals of creating their own paths and challenging what they’re “supposed” to do, do not understand your journey. And they most likely never will.

So rather than trying to explain yourself over and over again, rather than justifying their doubt with pleas and bargains, stand your ground and remind them that loving someone means supporting them. Tell them that you understand that they don’t understand but that you are gong to continue to work towards your goals, with or without their permission. And you hope very much that they’ll be there for you along the way, as you would for them, but that that is not a deciding factor in your decisions and your dreams.

Entrepreneurship requires a determination in everything you do; whether we’re talking the easy stuff or the hard stuff. Holding strong is not only important, but a requirement.

Your strength in their doubt may be just what is needed to prove that you are completely capable of taking on what’s to come; proof to them, sure. But more importantly, proof to yourself.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

First they’ll ask you why you’re doing it. Later they’ll ask you how you did.

Don’t give up, designers. This is your life.

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!

  1. Anthrapologist

    Thank you for sharing this! I quit a really good job a year ago to set out on my journey and build a business, and then quit a mediocre job a few months ago to dive into doing it full time. My friends and family are still at the point where they think I’m insane and question my choices. Here’s hoping someday we’ll be able to prove that it was worth the struggle!

    • Kathy

      Loved this article ! Have spent over 20 years in the corporate world and am finally trying to strike out on my own and am so shocked at the amount of people who truly think I’m crazy and should be hanging on to the pay check! Yes, it’s risky, but even spending the amount of time I am right now trying to get my business off the ground, my level of happiness is twenty fold it ever was in my “real job”! Onwards and upwards and thank you for these great posts – they really are inspirational and much needed when you are home alone with only yourself for company starting a small business!

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