How to Select the Best Partner for Your Fashion Business

spacer 1You’re a rock star fashion designer, but maybe you feel like you don’t want to do everything by yourself. Maybe you’re considering bringing on a partner. The right fashion business partner can help you move ahead in the business world. They can provide new ideas and an extra set of hands that help lift you to success. But choosing a fashion business partner is also an important decision that can have lasting consequences. In this article, we’re going to help you understand how to pick the best person to work with for your fashion business, if that’s the route you want to go.

Why You Need a Business Partner

You may know a lot about fashion, but you may not know much about business. And while business skills are great to have, any time you take to study business will be time that’s taken away from creating your designs. There are only 24 hours in the day, and you may not want to spend that time learning things that don’t interest you. If you choose a partner with great business skills, however, you’ll benefit from their knowledge and you’ll both be able to move ahead.

Even if both partners in a business are designers, you can still benefit from having a partner by taking advantage of two minds. A second person thinking about a problem gives you more ideas, more creative power, and better solutions.

Another benefit of having a partner is a second person to get things done. As a team, you’ll be able to accomplish twice as much as you would have on your own. Having a partner in fashion is just good business.

How to Choose a Business Partner

Hiring your best friend as a partner sounds like a great idea, but it might not be the best option. Going into business with someone is an important relationship that will have lasting consequences on your life. It’s not something to be taken lightly. The following is a list of things to consider when choosing someone to work with for your fashion business:

Find a Partner Who Shares Your Vision

Discuss your goals for the business and evaluate if this person is looking to go in the same direction that you’re thinking. New ideas are great, but you and your partner should be able to agree upon the big issues, like the company direction and goals.

Find a Partner Who Shares Your Values

If you have a highly motivated personality that works quickly to get things done, you may become frustrated by someone who doesn’t share your entrepreneurial spirit. Find a partner who values hard work as much as you do.

Find a Partner Who Brings New Skills

You can’t do everything on your own, so look for someone who has the knowledge you’re missing. If you draw great designs, but you’re not very good at networking and building business relationships, look for someone who’s more outgoing and can create those networks for your business. Think about what your strong points are, and the skills you don’t have. A partner should be able to fill in those gaps and complement your own skills.

Find a Partner You Can Count On

A good business partner should be someone who is consistently reliable. If they say they will meet a deadline, they should be able to meet that deadline without excuses. A partner who is constantly late for meetings or doesn’t answer calls will only cause problems down the road.

Find a Partner Who is Stable

A stable person has their life together. They have a stable place to live, and stable finances. If someone has a lot of drama in their life, they could end up getting distracted, or bring the drama into the workplace.

Find a Partner You Get Along With

A good relationship is paramount to a good partnership. If little quirks or habits about the person drive you crazy, over time it can build until you can’t stand to be around the person, and that’s when arguments or drama happen. Find a partner you enjoy spending time with.

Find a Partner You Trust

More than likely, your partner will have access to the business finances, so find a partner you can trust to handle that responsibility. If you think they may steal from the company in any way, and that includes supplies or just being dishonest on time reports, then they’re not the right person to go into business with.

Find a Partner Who Brings Value

Select someone who is able to bring resources to the table. This could be financial resources, or it could be a good name, credibility, or reputation that can benefit the business. Maybe their value is a great skill set. Whatever it is, the partner you work with should be bringing as much to the partnership as you are.

Find a Partner Willing to Meet You in the Middle

Your relationship should be balanced. This means that both of you should be putting in equal time to the business. If one of you tends to take over projects and do the whole thing, or sit back and wait for you to do it, resentments will occur. The same goes for arguments- find someone who is willing to meet you halfway. They don’t need things to be their way or the highway.

Find a Partner You’ve Worked with Before

When you have experience working with someone, you have a better idea of what kind of a partner they’ll be. You’ll be able to judge each of the factors mentioned above with greater accuracy. If you haven’t worked with this person, but you feel they may be a good match, give it a trial run before you commit. Choose a specific amount of time to try working together and see how it goes before you make a long term decision.

How to Find the Best Partner

By evaluating each one of the traits listed above, you’ll be able to find the best possible partner for your fashion business. Although you do want to pay close attention to how well you get along, this shouldn’t be an emotional decision. That’s why it may not always be the best idea to partner with your best friend. The hardships that come with business can destroy a friendship. If you ignored the fact that they aren’t good with money because they’re such a good friend, you’re only going to regret it.

One last piece of advice: plan ahead in case the partnership ever dissolves. A business partnership is a legal bond involving finances and resources. Just like a marriage, when a partnership breaks up, it can be an emotional experience that can sometimes leave one of you in ruin. Be sure that you’re always planning ahead in order to protect yourself in the event you decide not to work together any longer.

By choosing a fashion business partner carefully and deliberately, you should be able to find someone who can help you succeed and celebrate with along the way.

Running a successful fashion business will be one of the most exciting things you do in your life. There will be ups and downs and celebrations and disappointments. And they’ll all be worth it. As long as you get yourself out of the phase of confusion and overwhelm and into the mindset of focus and determination, you will do this.

And I’d love to help you. Click here to learn more about what it means to join The Designer Membership. I hope to see you in there. 


StartUp FASHION is an online community where independent designers and emerging brands are coming together, helping one another, forming friendships, collaborating, letting off steam, sharing victories, and belonging to a network of people who get it; who are doing it too. We’re a place to access and discover the tools and information you need to build your fashion business. We help you define your path and give you the guidance, encouragement, and resources to follow that path.

  1. Gabriel

    Hi, I’m a leather hand bag designer and I’m looking to share and may be partner with some new fashion business starters that are looking for advice, partners or team up with.

  2. DL

    This was very helpful about finding a business partner.
    Can you let me know how many season’s of collections does a designer have to do to start making profit/?
    I was shocked when one of our group members in another consulting Co , said be prepared to lose money the 1st and 2nd and even third , she was so discouraged.
    Nicole you have always be honest and encouraging so I expect the truth form you.

Comments are closed.