I love it when I discover fabulous entrepreneurs through my clients. A few clients are StartUp Fashion members and they introduced me to Nicole, the founder. As you know, one of the reasons I started Piqued PR was to support and help other talented entrepreneurs, Nicole also does just that with StartUp Fashion. She offers a community for independent designers where they can go for advice, contacts, skills classes and so much more!
Your business is truly inspiring! Can you tell us how this all came about and share some hurdles you experienced while getting there?
Thank you. A long story short, I have learned over the years that the only way to be truly successful in business is to build a business around the life you want.
I started out as a designer, worked in social media, content creation, textile sourcing, and other aspects of the industry. Ultimately I realized that I had built a business (Startup FASHION) in a way that really complements my lifestyle. Which was an awesome realization to come to.
I don’t believe that the traditional path (especially in the fashion industry which if so full of rules and “musts”) is the only way to success. I want to help designers figure out what success looks like to them and then help them make it happen.
As for hurdles, there are so many. Every new business faces them, but I think the biggest one for me was overcoming this feeling that I somehow didn’t deserve the success I was seeing; that my process, my beliefs in how to build a business were not accurate and someone was going to call me out. I think it was because I don’t come from an MBA background. What I’ve learned has all been through experience, trial and error. And for a little while I thought that wasn’t good enough.
I’ve since gotten past this, because I realized that this belief is the cornerstone of everything I preach. I had to be 100% in, and not allow my own insecurities to cloud our mission.
What advice do you have for StartUp FASHION entrepreneurs that are just starting out?
Make sure that you have spent time developing your customer profile, in detail. Knowing what your customer cares about, believes in, values, and struggles with will be the most important information you can collect. You cannot effectively sell to someone if you don’t really know who they are.
Your business is focused on the fashion industry - what designers do you look up to and why?
I look up to our community of independent designers. Making it in this industry is damn hard. I’m so inspired by the designers who are taking the risk, working tirelessly to make it happen, and focusing on building the business and the life that they want.
What future do you envision for StartUp FASHION?
A place where designers are helping one another, forming friendships, collaborating, letting off steam, sharing victories, and feeling like they belong to a community of people who get it; who are doing it too.
Describe your own personal style.
Simplistic. Comfortable. A lot of black, navy, gray, with the occasional colorful globally-inspired textile.