Tips for entrepreneurs
Business and fashion are more similar than you might think. Both operate under a wide range of cycles (think seasonal trends in fashion), both have new product lines introduced all the time, and both generally have a target demographic.
What if you ran your business like a fashion designer?
Here are my top tips on how you can do this.
Cultivate a unique vision
The first step to running your business like a fashion esigner is to cultivate a unique vision. This process involves adopting a creative approach and focusing on what makes you stand out from the competition. Your brand identity should be later aligned with this vision, and you want it to be distinct from the identities of other businesses in your industry. You also want your approach to be consistent. The best way to do that is by developing a process that’s based on your unique vision or perspective. If you’re able to communicate this vision clearly, it can express itself through both the products or services your business provides and its overall brand image. In addition, communicating this vision clearly can help you maintain focus as you grow your business over time.
Fashion designers are creative and curious leaders
Fashion designers are creative and curious leaders. Designers often have a reputation for being artistic introverts, but the best ones know their way around a spreadsheet and have big dreams of upending the industry—and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make them come true. This includes learning new skills and wading into uncharted waters.
Designers, by definition, spend their days creating—but they’re not only creative. In addition to knowing how to bring something new into being, they also have an intense curiosity about what makes things work or doesn’t work in the world around them. In fact, it's this relentless curiosity that drives them forward as creatives.
Unite contrasting themes
Designers are always looking for ways to unite contrasting themes. Maybe it’s taking a military-inspired silhouette and placing it in a floral print. Maybe it’s combining two colours that don’t “go together.” The results can be magical, when done well and with purpose.
Or maybe they want to bring together different materials, like the combination of leather and suede we saw over at Valentino or the use of silk and metallic thread we saw at Balenciaga. These combinations create unique looks with little fuss or effort on behalf of the designer (and consumer).
And let us not forget colour! Designers — as well as painters, interior designers, architects and artists — have long used complementary colours to create exciting contrasts that energize their work while also bringing them into harmony.
Explore new forms
Innovation is a result of your willingness to try new things.
“No one has ever been killed by a bad idea,” says Dutch designer, John Körmeling. This simple statement is not just about taking risks in the creative process of coming up with designs and theories. It’s also about how we design our businesses and how we approach clients.
So put your fears aside and get out there! Try something new, don’t let the fear of failure stop you from following your dreams. If at first you don’t succeed, try again! You can always pivot. Even a bad idea can lead to a better one down the line.
One of the most important aspects of design is that it constantly evolves. The same can be said for running a business, which is why this lesson is a good one to take to heart. Constantly evolving means that you're not stagnating and letting your business rest on its laurels. It means that, over time, you change things up to keep up with your competition and stay fresh in the minds of consumers. Evolving can mean growing by adding new services or products for example, or it can mean advancing by changing your branding strategy and marketing tactics. In both cases though, evolution is the process at work. This process is what leads to what's called "progress," which in turn allows you to develop more effective ways of doing things in order to meet your goals.