I started writing about the beginning of my journey as a tall fashion start-up through Tall Guides Magazine. If you missed the first article you can find it by clicking here.
This next article is about three months later from the first one. Unfortunately, Tall Guides Magazine discontinued as of the beginning of 2018 so I decided to continue my story through my blog.
“What am I doing?” “How am I going to pull this off?” “Why did I think I can do this?” These are some the questions that I ask myself. Self doubt and fear is something that I have to fight almost every single day since I decided to start my business! As a small business owner, I can’t afford to hire a PR Agency to help promote my company so I have to work on promoting through social media and attend events that I can network in. As an introverted person, it can be really scary to put myself out there. Furthermore, as I am in the process of creating my first fashion line there are several steps that I need work on simultaneously. I won’t lie to you, it is difficult at times and sometimes it would be so much easier if I just stuck my head in the sand. I am going to share with you some of my day-to-day tasks and responsibilities as I progress with my business.
When I decided to move forward with my business without a design background, I knew I was going to need some help. I started working with a company that are like a one-stop shop for new designers. I put together my sketches of my first collection and they are helping me with the technical designs, pattern making and sample making. We also work together through the fabric sourcing process. They can even do the manufacturing for me if it makes sense from a pricing standpoint.
Another great resource that I found is a company called Startup Fashion. You pay a monthly membership fee for having access to business collections that provide advice from marketing all the way to production. You also get access to their database and the most helpful tool is access to a private Facebook group. This is where you engage with other members who are also emerging designers. Some are in the starting stages like myself and some have already started selling but are still considered a startup company. Any question you have, you can just ask it and most of the time you will get several responses from other designers.
Between having these two resources available allows me feel very supported and confident in the design-to-market process. However, they provide the guidance needed but the overall decision making process always comes down to me. The design making process can be the most difficult. It is so important to make a well informed decision but in a timely manner.
One of the best ways to learn about my target customer is through social media. However, this in itself is a timely investment. For example, I go onto Instagram and look and search specific hashtags that are in my target market. Then I follow the people that I find. But I just don’t follow them I really try to learn about them and who they are. It doesn’t stop there though, I also spend time reading other posts and engaging with them. I sound a little stalkish but you start to build these relationships and it is so amazing because you really start to feel connected to these instagramers.
Another method that I am using to connect with my target market is through writing a weekly blog. Since my target customer is a tall professional woman I decided to write about how to dress for certain work occasions and specifically for tall women. I call it “Looks that Work” and write once a week.
With being a professional tall woman for almost eighteen years I feel like I can provide some real guidance that has worked for me in the past. I never thought of myself as writer in the past but I am really enjoying this part of my business. However, it is a lot of work and sometimes I feel like I am putting in so much energy into it and not getting very many results from it. This can be very discouraging but I keep pushing through and listen to feedback that I get from others and keep trying to improve every week that I write a new blog.
I continue to learn as I go, I attend as many local fashion seminars that I can. Additionally, I also listen to podcasts, webcasts and tutorials that I find on online and read various blogs about starting a fashion brand. I mostly do all of this on my forty-minute train ride to work and right before I go to bed at night.
While doing all of the above, I continue to work full-time and have my family to attend to. This is the hardest part and sometimes I feel like I am doing so much at once that I am not doing anything well. But it reminds me how precious my time is. There is no time to ever sit back and watch TV or read a book for entertainment purposes. Now, I am learning that even though I am spread very thin that when I am doing something I have to give it 100% of my attention. Man…it is so easy to get scattered brained and try to work on one thing and then switch to something else before finishing the first. Then nothing gets done!
To avoid these scatterbrain moments, I work really hard at managing my time. For example, when I am at work, I focus completely on my job even though it gets so tempting to check social media or check my personal email. However, I have trained myself only to do that on my breaks. When I spend time with my family, I totally commit myself to them and put my phone away. It is so important for me to give them my quality time. I can only do this by utilizing every minute of my time which can get exhausting.
As you can imagine, starting a business can get overwhelming, time consuming and scares the heck out of me at times. I am learning as I go but I found resources to help. Self doubt and fear try to hold me back but my persistence and perseverance keeps pushing me. I really believe that if you are passionate about something you can make it happen!
Stay tuned for more.