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Fashion Business Owner Musings: Stop Holding Back

Dear Designers,

Are you guilty of wanting everyone to like you?

Your immediate answer to that question may be, “No.” And in some ways, that’s probably true. But in other ways, I’m willing to bet it’s not. In business, we often hold back when it comes to being ourselves and that’s usually because we’re guilty of wanting everyone to like us.

We don’t want to make ourselves look foolish. We’re worried that if we try something new or different in our fashion business or show our true personality in our business content, our community will think we’re nutty. They’ll judge us as silly or flighty or just plain weird.

And that makes us nervous. Because if they don’t like us, they won’t buy from us. If we’re ourselves, we’re showing weakness. If we draw back the curtain, we’re inviting criticism and judgment. So it’s best to hold back and make sure they like us, right?

Wrong, actually.

I am going to dare to say that I believe that being unapologetically ourselves in front of our communities is one of the top factors in fashion business success.

When we stop caring so much about what others think, we’re able to relax and be ourselves. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

The thing is, too many business owners don’t realize the level of importance here. The default approach to business leadership is to be “put together” and “professional.” Brands worry about coming across as unprofessional and then overcompensate and wind up looking boring or inauthentic. Harsh but true.

Don’t believe me?

How many ideas have you had for promoting your business that you haven’t actually done because you feel “stupid?” Um, video, anyone?

How many times have you been quiet in a situation where you have the opportunity to promote your business because you are worried about being “salesy?”

Wanting people to like you and being worried about what people think pop up in our day-to-day business far more than we realize. And this mindset holds us back from real progress.

I get it. I’ve been there. And sometimes I’m still there. (I haven’t exactly killed it with video content either, guys).

But I’ve at least become aware of it. So now I can call myself out on it.

And hopefully this post will help you do the same.

Stop holding back, designers.

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!

2 Comments
  • Obasi Nazareth

      REPLY

    wow this is totally me, i have being there a lot and at the end i will feel stupid and wish i had said simple "no" its like i am scared they will leave and my sis always nag me for that

    1. Casey Cline

        REPLY

      Hi Obasi- I'm glad this one resonated for you!

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