Dear Darling Designers,
I want to tell you something.
I know that having your fashion business is really damn hard. There are all these rules people tell you that you have to follow. There’s all this pressure to get celebrities to wear your designs, editors to write about them, and investors to fund them. Wholesale accounts, press coverage, runway shows, department stores, bloggers, tradeshows… exhausting.
And I know what happens. When you look for guidance, you’re often steered in 37 different directions. You’re left feeling dizzy and confused, causing you to “just pick something” only to feel blah (or worse!) about that decision because it didn’t turn out as you’d hoped. You don’t know what to do because you can’t find people you trust.
That whole shitty scenario sucks. So much crap comes flying at you, you have no idea what’s actual advice and what’s just fluff.
Here’s the thing, the reason this happens is because, for like the last 7 billion years, the fashion industry has run a certain way. That way involves a lot of B.S. like the definitive “need” for lots and lots of money, rampant industry exclusivity, Anna Wintour’s chosen ones, and Barney’s shelf space.
Shit, when these are the rulers with which we measure success, of course we feel lost!
Who the hell can feel excited about anything when you’re worrying about everything?
Who wouldn’t want to cry? Who wouldn’t want to slam the computer closed and crawl under the covers? This sort of “guidance” is debilitating.
Well, ladies and gents…
I call bullshit.
These people, places, and things DO NOT get the privilege of determining your success.
That’s for you to decide.
You shouldn’t be suffering at the hands of those who make these arbitrary rules.
Let me tell you something—you do not need anyone’s permission to succeed. And you do not need to wait to be chosen.
Because once you make the decision to Choose Yourself, the helplessness starts to melt away. You see more clearly what you want and how you are going to get it. You stop caring what the rule-makers say and you start to transform yourself into a ruler-breaker.
Things start to happen!
And once they start happening, you get excited about your business, rather than nervous about it. You start to seek out others and build relationships, you make a commitment to educating yourself in everything you don’t yet know, you hustle, you try, you make things happen.
And this, my darling designers, is when shit gets fun.
This is where you want to be, surrounded by your fellow makers — learning, sharing, experiencing, thinking, trying, and loving.
That right there, guys, is why I created this community. I wanted all of you to have a place of your own; a place to start celebrating the path you have chosen. I wanted to give you a place to connect with others, learn from each other, grow, and build a business that makes you happy.
This is a damn movement, you guys; a shift, a new way of thinking. Never before have we all had the incredible opportunity to decide how we want to spend our time on this earth and then do the things necessary to make that happen. We have access in a way we never have before, so let’s freaking use it!
When we come together- and help each other to believe– we are so much more powerful than any of these individual rule-makers. We become our own rule-makers.
We’re in this together. We can do this. We will do this.
We don’t need nods from the industry and checks from the investment bosses. We are the bosses. What we need is hard work, guts, and utter determination. Case closed.
You got this.
All my love and encouragement,
This is a movement, designers. Would you like to be part of it?
What’s it all about?
StartUp FASHION is an online community where independent designers and emerging brands are 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 discover the limitless ways you can build your fashion brand by helping you create your path and giving you the guidance and resources to follow that path.
Our Promise to You
We promise to always support you in your goals, cajole you into committing to your work, push you to have more focus, remind you to embrace your edginess and celebrate your different-ness, and to do whatever is in our power to help you build a business and create a life that make you happy.
How We Support You:
- YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE ALL ALONE IN THIS BUSINESS AS YOU WORK YOUR ASS OFF EVERYDAY
- Virtual Office Hours: Monthly Video Consulting sessions with StartUp FASHION. You can ask questions about your business; get advice on something you’re working on, get feedback on an idea. Or just stop in to chat. Entrepreneurship is lonely. We’re there when you just need someone to talk to.
- The Designers’ Discussion Forum gives you an actual place to go to get answers to your questions – you know, the ones that keep you from getting sleep, having down time, or enjoying your life!
- Accountability Groups: these are private, intimate groups of 3 or 4 members– you have monthly phone calls to talk about business, keep each other on track, and push each other to do your best. We all know what it’s like to be our own boss; sometimes we need someone holding us accountable for the things we say we’re gonna do.
- Regular reminders and lovingly challenging encouragement to help you thrive.
- YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO BUILD YOUR BRAND WHEN NO ONE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE YET
- Emerging Designer Contests and Competitions. Because we’ve been in the industry for some years now, we’re always getting emailed about cool opportunities for emerging designers. We always look to our members first!
- Press Opportunities. Editors are often emailing us looking to learn about new and cool brands. We are always thrilled to share our community members with them!
- If there’s one way to start spreading the word about your brand, it’s through social media. The thing is, it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. We’re always sharing ideas and direction to help you use social in a way that actually works.
- YOU NEED TO MAKE MORE SALES AND START BRINGING IN ACTUAL MONEY ALREADY
- Collection of 500 boutique retailers that carry emerging and independent labels; it helps makes it easier to find the right stores. We add it whenever we find new ones and we do a sweep of the list every 6 to 8 weeks to delete closed stores or update their contact info.
- Videos interviews with buyers and sales experts who have answered several hours worth of questions about how to sell.
- Guidance on creative ways to get out there and sell, rather than waiting for buyers to come around. Remember, don’t wait to get chosen, choose yourself!
- Popup Shop and Trunk Show opportunities are often sent our way. We share them exclusively with our community members.
- YOU DON’T EVEN FREAKIN KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW. HELP!
- We made this thing called a flow chart. You can find your stage of business and link to all kinds of resources and tools for improving specific areas of your business. So basically, if you’re struggling with something, look at the chart, follow the arrows, and find ways to improve what’s not working.
- Free and discounted online and offline events and workshops with bad-ass experts on topics like making sure your business is all set from a legal perspective, getting better at time management and organization, creating a media plan, branding on a budget, and so many more.
- Start every day with the Daily Must Reads, a feed of over 20 of the best blogs and online magazines covering fashion, business, trends, and style; updated several times per day to keep you up to date and informed.
- 15+ Business Templates we like to call Tool Kits
- Line Sheet Template
- Advisory Board Creation Guide
- Detailed Business Financial Plan Template
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guidebook
- Essential Elements of a Money Making eCommerce Website
- Social Media Strategy Template
- Creative Brief for Communicating with Graphic & Web Designers
- Fiber Dictionary
- Fabric Dictionary
- Fit and Cut Dictionary
- Marketing Budget Template
- Purchase Order Form
- Wholesale Order Form
- Line Costing Template
- Strategic Business Planning Template
- Brand Identity Creation Guidelines
- Target Market Creation Guidelines
- Editor Pitching Email Script
- Buyer Pitching Email Script
- Operations Budget Template
- YOU’RE ALWAYS WORKING BUT YOUR TASK LIST NEVER SEEMS TO GET ANY SMALLER
- A business hub to manage all of your press pitching, buyer pitching, supplier and factory contact info, social media planning, and production schedules in one space.
- Digital to-do list that’s easy to organize into unlimited categories in order to stay on top of your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks like “Design Tasks”, “Production Tasks”, and “Marketing Tasks”.
- YOU’RE DOING THIS YOURSELF, YOU NEED ALL THE DISCOUNTS YOU CAN GET!
- Shopify- 10% off your monthly fees
- Good Clothing Company- 8 piece production minimum/style
- Fashion Brain Academy- 15% off the “New Designer Program”
- PR Couture- $50 off their Media List
- PR Couture- $10 off the book “Pitch Perfect”
- Recipe for Press- 25 % off their book “Recipe for Press”
- LupRocks- $100 off their TV and Movie Product Placement Services
- Finance Your Startup- $50 off their digital tutorial
- Makers Row- 50% off starter membership
- Cruz Label- 10% off custom labels
Check out what our Community members have to say!
Who’s behind all of this?
From our founder, Nicole…
I don’t believe you need to approach your life the way other people say you should. My fashion career has spanned from being an independent designer to an operations manager to textile sourcing to fashion marketing; because these are the things I love to do.
I travel constantly, have lived abroad, and built businesses based on the belief that I have full control over how I use my time on this earth. I want to help you do the same thing.
I’m so proud of the StartUp FASHION team; we’re designers, artists, business people, marketers, and story tellers. Each one of us has a special love for this industry and we’re so excited that we get to spend our days working with talented, driven, and determined designers.
- Q: Who is this Community for?
- A: Fashion and Accessory design entrepreneurs who believe in the power of forging their own path, who want to be an active part of a community of fellow designers, who embrace taking a different approach to life and work, and who are not scared of a good challenge.
- Q: Who is this Community NOT for?
- A: Designers and brands that believe the only way to find success is through the traditional path, who focus on the rules they need to follow, who don’t want to try new things, experiment, and who can’t quite seem to enjoy the adventure that comes along with running a business.
- Q: I’m not an apparel designer, will the Community still be helpful for me?
- A: Yes! Having access to the tools and resources in the Community is great for apparel designers as well as handbag, jewelry, and other accessories designer.
- Q: Do you offer monthly membership?
- A: We don’t. Here’s why. The community is a place of sharing and helping and guiding, building long lasting relationships and being part of a network. The tools and resources and guides we offer are all awesome for any independent fashion business — but that content is just one component of what we’ve built — the other component, the relationships and support, don’t happen in a month.
- Q: Why should I sign up for the Community?
- A: You want to wake up excited about your growing business, right? You want to lead a happy life, build a business on your terms, and connect with people who are doing the same thing, right? Perfect. Then there’s your answer.
- Q: I don’t live in the US. Is the Community still a good fit for me?
- A: Absolutely! The tools and resources in the Community are relevant to any independent or emerging designer. And the majority of our events are online. We currently have members in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
- Q: Is the Community worth the price?
- A: Membership to the Community represents access to over 15 years of education and experience in the fashion industry. Plus, take a second to think about the Retailer Database alone. If you pick up one new wholesale account (and we’re willing to bet you’ll get more than that) you will recoup your $225 membership fee 5 times over, at least! Listen, we get it: you’re an independent designer, and every dollar counts. The good news is that once you get started, and begin using the resources and tools to their full potential, this investment will pay for itself many times over.
- Q: Will the Community really help me grow my business?
- A: Yes! As long as you commit to it. The Community was developed to help you, and it absolutely will when paired with your guts to make things happen.
Check out what our Community members have to say!