Are You Taking Risks in Your Fashion Business?


Taking Risks

Making the decision to carve your own path by starting a business can feel like a big risk.  It’s nerve-racking and no matter what anyone tells you, you’re taking a big scary step in a direction that has a lot of possible outcomes.

When it comes to taking risks in work, the decision to start your own fashion business is something that forces you to find that thread-thin balance between thinking with your brain (what can I offer that no one else does?, how much money do I need to make this happen?) and thinking with your gut and heart (I love doing this more than anything else in the world!, my passion will make this business succeed).

The truth is if you don’t find that balance, success will be difficult.  You need to step out of your everyday, think about what makes you happy, find a logic way to make it happen, and then feed off of your own enthusiasm and passion when things are looking scary.

It is my belief is that if you’re not leaving your comfort zone, you’re making it very difficult to accomplish anything significant.  With comfort comes the mundane.  There is no passion involved in the mundane.

When it comes to running a fashion business there are a lot of ways you can take risks beyond the initial decision to actually do it. Here are a few ways designers can think about taking risks that could possibly lead to opportunities, new ideas, recognition, and ultimately success:

  • Start a blog and speak from the heart.  Often designers are scared to share their voice and honest opinions because they’re worried about losing potential customers, saying something that goes against the grain of traditional thinking, or sharing too much of themselves.
  • Add a new component to your business. One of the best ways to create a broad reach and open up opportunities is to not pigeon hole yourself when it comes to your work.  If you’re good at another component of the fashion business, besides design, why not all yourself to explore the possibilities.  Maybe you’re a damn good sketch artist and could build a little side business on that.  Or maybe your sewing skills are so impeccable you could teach others.
  • Collaborate with another artist. How cool would it be to design a dress for your friend who is in a band or work with a local textile designer on a one of a kind piece?  Sometimes working with someone on a special project that may not be part of your regular collection is a fun and exciting way to branch out and try something new.  Not to mention reach an audience that may not have known anything about you before.
  • Open your business up to the digital space. Consider teaming up with one of the many fashion tech start-ups that are emerging in the digital world.  Work with them in a new and interesting way and gauge the audience’s response. It may lead no where or it may get a ton of media coverage. Who knows?  Not you, if you don’t try it.

These are just a few ways that fashion designers can step out of a comfort zone and try taking some risks when it comes to their business.

How are you taking risks? What have been some of the scariest and most rewarding decisions you’ve made?

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!