Fashion Business Owner Musings: You Don’t Need to Know How To Do Everything

I think that as fashion business owners, we sometimes have a really hard time accepting the fact that we don’t know how to do everything in our businesses.

We want to be able to do it all and have all the answers.

So when we don’t, we get down on ourselves. We set expectations for ourselves that are unrealistic.

There’s no way we can know everything about everything but for whatever reason, we expect ourselves to.

Maybe you expect yourself to know how to find fabrics, get samples made, go through the manufacturing process, create a website, find an audience, and make sales all within a year’s time and with minimal help from others.

When you think about that, does it sound reasonable?

It shouldn’t.

Those are all big, involved endeavors that require education, experience, trial and error, and time.

Without those things, mistakes will be made, questions will be posed.

And that’s totally fine.

But expecting yourself not to make those mistakes or have those questions, is silly.

Yet, I see it often.

I see emerging brand owners try to do it all but ultimately becoming disappointed in themselves when they can’t quite pull it off.

I say all of this knowing that I too fall into this trap from time to time.

Take our StartUp FASHION members and LevelUp FASHION students, for example. I really enjoy interacting with our members and students. I love to learn about what they’re working on, get to know them, and share advice and insight. I love to help in any way I can.

But it’s when I can’t help, or at least I can’t “solve” everything, that I start to feel bad, like I’m failing them.

This is an issue because I’m setting myself up for failure.

No one can solve all problems.

I’m putting too much pressure on myself.

I need to see that what I can do is connect our members and students to other experts or resources for helping them, if for some reason I can’t. And this in itself is helping! I am, in fact, using my network and relationships to help them with their problems.

One of these days I’ll learn this lesson. 🙂

But don’t be like me.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to know and do everything.

And listen, I do get it. As an independent business owner, you are wearing all the hats (and shoes, and jackets, and scarves).

You are doing it all and when something comes your way that you don’t know how to do, it’s easy to get down on yourself.

The reality is that sometimes you need help and there’s nothing wrong with that.

You don’t need to know how to do everything. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and be OK with asking for help.

It will be a difficult shift, I know. But you got this!… Except when you don’t. And that’s OK too.

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. Genevieve

    Great post Nicole! I love your authenticity, it’s great to hear a voice in the crowd stand up and say, “this is dang hard!” I feel the same way a lot of the time, it’s impossible to have everything be perfect. I think this is probably why we are both passionate about helping up and coming designers because we know how hard it is!

    We JUST launched the landing page for Sadie Express so we can now offer high quality product photography for websites, line sheets, wholesale catalogs, etc. for as little as $39.99/month, including models and stylists. I think it’s really important to focus as tightly in on what you do really really well, give yourself a break about the rest, and find a way to get help with the stuff that’s totally outside your wheelhouse!

    Sadie Express- Fashion Product Photography:


  2. Dara Branson

    I’ve definitely been beating myself up lately for not being able to do everything, so I really needed this today. I work full time in addition to trying to bootstrap a design business, and I recently moved to a new city where the only person I know is my husband. It’s really hard, and it’s nice to know I’m not as alone as I often feel I am.

  3. judit

    I woke up this morning after beating myself up for months about my website, lline sheets, social media presence, catalogues, streamlining my two brands and many other issues and decided, ok so I cant do everything myself so where do I start to unravel the different strands of my business to make it the best it can be without me doing it all and hey presto I open my email and you are saying the same thing, what an inspiration!! I think as women we are taught that we can do everything and maybe we can but not all at once, and sometimes we may not want to do it all and sometimes it is simply more efficient and effective to get someone else to do it. Thanks Nicole, what a great start to my day!
    see a few of my designs on


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