Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


So you’re thinking about starting a fashion or accessories brand, but you want to make sure you’ve dotted all of your i’s and crossed all of your t’s before going down that road. Well, you’re in luck, because this episode will help you do that. Here are 9 questions to ask yourself before starting a fashion brand.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

How to Determine Your Unique Selling Position

Book a call to learn more about launching your brand through Factory45



TRANSCRIPT

So you’re thinking about starting a fashion or accessories brand, but you want to make sure you’ve dotted all of your i’s and crossed all of your t’s before going down that road. Well, you’re in luck, because this episode will help you do that. Here are 9 questions to ask yourself before starting a fashion brand.

Okay, let’s get right into it with question number 1:

  • What is your USP?

I talk a lot about your USP (or unique selling position), and I’ll link to a past episode that you can go back to, but the first question you want to ask yourself when entering the fashion landscape is: how is your brand different?

It’s no secret that the fashion industry is both crowded and noisy – that doesn’t mean there’s no room for your brand but it does mean that you have to identify how you’re going to stand out. Spend a lot of time brainstorming, thinking and journaling about the ways you’re different from your competitors and then narrow it down to the USP that will most connect or resonate with your ideal target customer.

  • What does success look like to you?

Are you starting a side project, a lifestyle business or trying to build an empire? There is no right or wrong here but your answer will dictate how you start your brand. Will you be writing a 40-page business plan and pitching investors? (I hope not!) Or will you start out by bootstrapping with your own money and then organically growing based on market testing? As your brand business evolves, what will feel successful to you? What wins or milestones are you looking forward to achieving? What will actually feel like to reach the level of success you’re dreaming about?

  • How much money have you set aside to invest in building your business?

The truth is, it doesn’t take as much money as it used to to launch a clothing brand. And it doesn’t even take as much money as people think. But you do have to have some money available to invest in starting your business. Through Factory45, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who invest a portion of their income every month into building their brand and I’ve worked with others who have thousands of dollars set aside. But as long as you have some disposable income available each month, you can successfully launch using the bootstrapping techniques and money-raising strategies that I teach in Factory45.

  • Does your product or collection solve a problem?

This goes back to the first question about your unique selling position, but it’s not enough to say “People need to wear clothes.” Your brand or product must solve a deeper problem for your customer. Whether it’s a specific problem like creating adaptive fashion for people in wheelchairs or a subjective problem like helping women feel more beautiful when they get dressed in the morning, you must solve a problem for your ideal target customer. I have more thoughts on this in a previous episode that I’ll link to in the description.

  • Are you appealing to a niche customer?

Did you hear me say “ideal target customer” earlier? Just as important as solving a problem, you want to make sure that when you’re first starting out you’ve narrowed down your market to a niche customer. Why? Because the more specific about who your brand is here to serve, then the faster those people will be able to find you and then come out to support you.

While I’m all for being inclusive, that’s very different from being broad. If you’re too general about who your target customer is then you’re going to have a very hard time building an audience. I always tell my entrepreneurs in Factory45, “If you’re trying to appeal to everyone, then you’ll end up appealing to no one.” Your target audience can expand as you gain traction and grow, but in the beginning, my advice is to niche down.

  • What is your ideal retail price point?

This is the price that you want to sell your product for. Your ideal retail price is dictated by your customer’s price tolerance, as well as your cost of goods sold. In other words, your retail price needs to reflect how much it costs to make your product. If you’re selling direct to consumer, then your retail markup can be less than if you’re also selling wholesale to boutiques or stores. No matter what you price your product at, though, you need to make sure there’s a profit so that you can continue investing money back into your business.

  • What do you need to outsource?

We can’t all be good at everything. Identify your strengths, whether it’s designing or marketing or branding or finance, and identify your weaknesses. In most cases, you’ll want to automatically outsource your pattern and samplemaking to a professional – as well as your production to a manufacturer. But are there other things that would make sense to outsource so that you can spend time dominating your strengths and not stressing about your weaknesses? Figure out what those things are and then one by one, start to eliminate the things you’re not good at from your day to day.

  • Should you seek out a cofounder?

Is there someone out there who can be the yin to your yang? Do you work better with partner accountability or do you prefer a solo show? I’ve run companies both ways – once with a cofounder and once as the sole founder and I can tell you, first hand, that there are pros and cons to both.

  • What is your “Why”?

I left the most important question for last… what is the “Why?” behind your brand – what is all of this for and why are you doing it? Entrepreneurship is an endless rollercoaster and you’re going to be constantly asking yourself what you got yourself into. Your Why is the answer that you’ll keep coming back to during both the low points and the high points, so it’s really important to figure it out before you get started. 

So, those are the 9 questions to ask yourself before you start your fashion brand. Once you figure them out (even if you aren’t sure of every answer) book a free discovery call to learn more about launching your sustainable fashion or accessories brand through Factory45. We’d love to help you turn this dream into a reality with a proven framework, personal support and an eight-year track record of success. Just go to factory45.co/apply and choose a time that works for you. Thanks for listening!

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Maybe you’ve had an idea for a clothing brand or an apparel product or an innovative accessory and you keep thinking the timing isn’t right. You’re dabbling in research, listening to podcasts like this one or Googling on your phone when you can’t fall asleep, but you haven’t taken any tangible action yet… well, in today’s episode, I’m going to help you get over that hump so you start making moves.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Free Workshop: Raise Money for Your Fashion Brand

Book a call to learn more about launching your brand through Factory45



TRANSCRIPT

Hello, hello and welcome back to Season 2 of Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand! I hope everyone had a great summer (or winter depending on which hemisphere you’re in!) and that you’re ready to jump into brand new episodes to help you launch a sustainable fashion brand, the right way from the start. Let’s go!

Do I have any procrastinators listening in today? Maybe you’ve had an idea for a clothing brand or an apparel product or an innovative accessory and you keep thinking the timing isn’t right. You’re dabbling in research, listening to podcasts like this one or Googling on your phone when you can’t fall asleep, but you haven’t taken any tangible action yet… well, in today’s episode, I’m going to help you get over that hump so you start making moves.

Here’s the thing: we’re all waiting for perfect timing. We’re waiting for the new job, the new house, the new baby, the new boost in our savings account… and yet, even if all of the stars aligned and each of those things happened, we’d still find an excuse. In a nutshell, this is how most humans work.

There are, however, the percentage of people who are action takers. I’m not talking about the people who go all-in on a hobby and abandon it a week later. I’m talking about the people who don’t operate under fear based thinking. (Because you know that’s what procrastination is, right? It’s actually just the avoidance of feeling uncomfortable.) In today’s economy (and really just general society) one of the most valuable assets a person can have is the ability to take action on an idea. Because the truth is, 99% of ideas never see the light of day. So just by starting to see an idea to completion already puts you ahead of the majority of people.

When we’re talking about sustainable fashion and launching your own brand, there’s even more reason to start taking action right now rather than waiting for the elusive “right time.”

  1. The first reason is this: (and it’s something people don’t typically realize) It can take, on average, between 1-2 years to successfully launch a fashion brand. The only entrepreneurs I’ve seen launch in 6 months or less were not working a full-time job, did not have kids or had a co-founder. Because the thing is: Even if you’re extremely disciplined and making all the right moves, your fashion startup depends on other people. And a lot of times you have to wait on those people – whether it’s fabric suppliers, patternmakers, samplemakers, your factory, a web designer, a graphic designer, the list goes on. I’m constantly telling people to start before they’re ready and this is why. Because it’s almost impossible to rush the process even if you wanted to. That’s all to say, you want to launch in two years? Great. Get started now.
  2. The second reason is: You need to give yourself plenty of time to build up an audience. I do a lot of podcast interviews for other people’s podcast and the hosts always love to ask me “What’s the #1 mistake you see fashion startups making?” And this is always my answer: They make the mistake of not building an audience months in advance of launching. Make no mistake, you are responsible for building an audience of customers that want what you’re selling. It’s an illusion to think you can just launch a Kickstarter campaign or create a Shopify website, then just run some Facebook ads and poof you’ll make a bunch of sales. The successful brands that I see launching through Factory45 every day are the ones who have invested months into building their email lists, social media followings and networks. Starting now allows you the runway and bandwidth to make sure you’ve built that audience before you’re ready to sell anything.
  3. And the third reason is this: Despite the doomsday headlines and news warning you of a recession, all of my research shows that sustainable fashion is only going to grow in case of an economic downturn. In an article titled “Will a Recession Stunt Sustainable Fashion?” The Business of Fashion reported that regardless of the economic climate,  the pressure to operate more responsibly won’t go away. It also reported that a downturn could push consumers to adopt more responsible shopping habits, boosting the secondhand market and encouraging a ‘buy less, but better’ mindset. That right there, sounds to me like opportunity. If you’re already committed to launching your brand in a way that is sustainably and ethically made, then now is the time to find your place in the market. 

If the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that we can massively benefit from both a creative outlet and a sense of community. It’s also shown us that working from home has its benefits, possibly buying us extra time in the day for outside projects. 

Every day I meet aspiring entrepreneurs working in the corporate world but at the same time, desiring work they themselves can both control and be inspired by. Every day I meet moms with law degrees or MBAs, who suddenly have a lot more time in the day with their kids off at school. And then there are the recent fashion grads who always knew they wanted to start their own fashion business and see the value in going for it now rather than waiting for more experience or another degree.

Whoever you are, and whatever you’re doing now, just remember that if you have an idea or a dream to start your own fashion brand, we’re here to help you make it happen. Good things happen when you start before you’re ready – and every one of our Factory45 alumni can tell you the same.

If you’re excited to be one of them, you can book a free discovery call to talk to our Director of Enrollment about your business goals. Just go to factory45.co/apply – we’d love to talk to you.

Oh! And that reminds me… I’m offering a free workshop to teach you how to raise money for your fashion brand – without loans, without investors and without risking your own money. This is the exact system I’ve used to help brands all over the world launch with money in the bank. So if you don’t have $20,000 sitting around to put towards production of your clothing brand, make sure to join us. Registration is now open at https://factory45.co/sustainable-fashion-event

WANDWOODS is a slow-fashion cottagecore inspired brand designed for the woodlands wanderer. Proudly Canadian and ethically made, the first collection is inspired by Jane Austen using timeless and romantic linen. Founder Natalia Pavanelli launched with four pieces using a pre-sale method through her online store. You can shop Wandwoods, and live your Jane Austen dreams, here.

  • Read more about Natalia’s journey in Factory45 here.
  • Shop Wandwoods on Market45 here and get 10% off.

 


MIKUMO APPAREL is an Asian-American woman-owned and US-based slow fashion brand dedicated to offering cute & feminine wardrobe staples inspired by Korean and Japanese fashion and the “academia” aesthetic. Founder Tina Xia raised over $24,000 in pre-orders on Kickstarter to fund the first production run of Mikumo. Browse the launch collection here.

 


HOPE CONTINUES, from the Mary Rose NW Boutique, is founder Julie Allen’s size-inclusive and ethically-made capsule collection. Ranging from size 5X to XS, Hope Continues offers sustainable fabrics, like hemp, linen and organic cotton. Shop the Mary Rose Boutique and Hope Continues here.

  • Read more about Julie’s journey in Factory45 here.
  • Shop Hope Continues on Market45 here and get 10% off.

 


REBECCA ELIZABETH is a slow-fashion house that’s ethically made in Brooklyn. The Pleiades Collection debuted this spring with four effortlessly elegant dresses that are carefully designed to be comfortable, versatile and beautiful. Founder Rebecca Bush has worked in the fashion industry for 13 years and this is her first independent brand. You can pre-order Rebecca Elizabeth dresses here.

 


New sustainable fashion brands are launching every month through Factory45 – are you ready to be one of them? Book a free discovery call with our Director of Enrollment to learn more.

 

 


It’s hard to believe that summer is wrapping up! And with the end of season, we’re rounding up our “Summer Series: Best Of” episodes on the Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand podcast. In June, July and August we featured some of our best and most popular episodes from Season 1…

So here’s your roundup of our “Summer Series: Best Of” episodes:

Ep. 25 Summer Series: Best of Fashion Business Planning (38 mins)

From Business Planning to Marketing to Supply Chains, our Best Of Summer Series kicks off. This episode pulls together the three most downloaded episodes on fashion brand business planning.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 26 Summer Series: Best of Audience Building & Marketing (38 mins)

What’s the value of a beautiful product or collection without the marketing strategy to go with it? This week’s episode features our three best episodes about marketing and how to build an audience for your fashion brand.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 27 Summer Series: Best of Fashion Supply Chain (16 mins)

This is part three of our Summer Series, where we’re featuring our best and most popular episodes of the Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand Podcast. This episode is all about building a supply chain for your fashion brand as a new entrepreneur. You’ll hear about how to find the perfect fabric, mistakes to avoid when sourcing and finding a manufacturing partner for the first time.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 28 Summer Series: Best of Entrepreneurship Advice (20 mins)

This is the final episode in our Summer Series, where we’re featuring our best and most popular episodes of the Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand Podcast. We’re wrapping it up with an episode all about my best entrepreneurship advice. You’ll hear all about dealing with copycats & critics, facing the competition, and what it really takes to be an entrepreneur.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Don’t forget, there are additional resources linked below every episode for you to get started and take action : )

 


Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


This is the final episode in our Summer Series, where we’re featuring our best and most popular episodes of the Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand Podcast. We’re wrapping it up with an episode all about my best entrepreneurship advice. You’ll hear all about dealing with copycats & critics, facing the competition, and what it really takes to be an entrepreneur.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Book a call to learn more about launching your brand through Factory45

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Dr. Brene Brown’s TED Talk, ‘Why Your Critics Aren’t the Ones Who Count’



TRANSCRIPT

Ep. 2 This is a Required Trait of a Fashion Entrepreneur

Ep. 4 Coming Out as an Entrepreneur & How to Deal with Critics

Ep. 11 Why Competition is a Good Thing & How to Deal with Copycats

It’s been a while since we’ve featured some of the newest sustainable fashion brands to launch through Factory45.

While we’re always adding our graduates to the Alumni Stories page and to Market45, our ethical fashion marketplace, I thought I’d personally introduce you to some of those brands today.

So without further ado, here are 5 sustainable fashion brands to learn from, shop from and get inspiration from…

 


NICOLE & ROSE is a size inclusive slow fashion brand focused on empowering women to be their most authentic, beautiful, radiant and worthy selves. Made in Canada, founder Amanda Toy designed three versatile pieces that are ethically made in small batches in Calgary. Shop The Worthy Collection, made from sustainable fabrics, here.

  • Read more about Amanda’s journey in Factory45 here.
  • Shop Nicole & Rose on Market45 here and get 10% off.

 


CASA DANU is a slow-fashion house with “the mission of bringing bold color and pure joy into this world.” Founder Kristen Chester launched her first collection in June, offering the Gigi Caftan and the Theia Matching Set. Made of sustainable fabrics and handcrafted in Los Angeles, you can shop la Dolce Vita collection here.

 


FARRELL & CO. creates visors that are transparent (no blocked vision!) while also being transparent in all that they do, from the materials they use to the people who make their products. Learn more about Farrell & Co.’s ethically-made headgear here.

  • Read more about Farrell’s journey in Factory45 here.
  • Shop Farrell & Co. on Market45 here and get 10% off.

 


MORARAE designs “ethically made, vintage inspired clothing for women under 5’5 and plus size.” Founder Sharae Averhart was tired of clothing that didn’t fit, so she set out to create the clothes she wanted to wear. Launching with a pre-sales campaign through her online store, you can shop The Black & White Collection here.

  • Read more about Sharae’s journey in Factory45 here.

 


DESSOUS is a slow-fashion company for “every woman who wants chic, comfortable, timeless clothing that’s easy on the Earth.” Founder Jaclyn Schoknecht says, “At Dessous Loungewear, we believe a caftan is the ideal garment. It’s ageless and timeless while still being modern, stylish and comfortable.” Looking for a single garment that can be worn for any event? Look no further here.

  • Read more about Jaclyn’s journey in Factory45 here.
  • Shop Dessous on Market45 here and get 10% off.

 


Keep an eye out for Part II, featuring more of our new brands, later this month!

 

 


There is a lie being told in the entrepreneurial world.

It’s a false narrative that’s being targeted at people who are unhappy with their current work life and are looking for a change.

Maybe you’re one of those people.

The lie is this…

Follow your passion.

Quit your job and chase your dreams.

Do work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

We see it every day: the Facebook and Instagram ads promising your “dream life” by people who look like they’re living their dream life.

It’s all palm trees and perfectly-foamed lattes and bright, white lighting. It’s breakfast trays in bed and bouquets of peonies and red painted lips.

But do you know what’s behind those beautiful photos and “dream lives?”

Many, many, many months (probably years) of it not looking that way.

Because the truth is, to become the picture of success — while creating a business that lasts — it requires this:

Doing work you don’t want to do.

In fact, when you’re first starting out, you can expect to do more work that you don’t want to do than work you actually enjoy.

And usually, it requires running your business as a side hustle while *still* going to your “real job.”

We all know there’s no such thing as overnight success.

But what I don’t think we always remember is that there’s so much more to the story than what we see on social media.

Chances are:

The fashion brand with the perfectly curated Instagram feed started with an iPhone and a Dropbox folder of stock photos.

The designer working in a beautifully-lit studio started in a converted home office that barely fit a desk.

The CEO flying first class to a paid speaking gig spent years sitting in the back of the plane to speak for free.

If you’re ready to start your own business, you should absolutely do it. It’s one of the most rewarding journeys you can take.

But there should be no illusions.

It will require “grunt work” — the things you think everyone else is outsourcing to interns — are the things you need to do yourself when you’re first starting out.

Packing and fulfilling orders, writing and scheduling your own social media posts, creating your emails and blog posts, going to networking events, dealing with tech issues that make you want to pull your hair out.

Those “annoying” tasks that tempt you to procrastinate or abandon them altogether are the things you’ll look back on with genuine appreciation.

They’re the things that will make you grow, build new skills and realize that you’re capable of more than you think.

Because every successful entrepreneur I know has a similar story of doing work they didn’t want to do.

That’s what it takes.

Here’s the truth: Successful entrepreneurs do things they’re not passionate about because they know that it’s not about passion.

It’s about purpose.

If you’re ready to put in the work to start your dream business, let’s do it together. 

You can book a free 30-minute discovery call to learn more about how we can help make your business a reality.

We can’t wait to meet you,

 

 

 


Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Having worked with over 500 entrepreneurs since 2014, it’s been fascinating to watch the highs and lows that we all go through when starting a new business. It’s cliche to say, but going out on your own is certainly not for the faint of heart. So if you’re one of those people who is starting a new brand, a new venture or even just a new project, this episode is for you.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Book a call to learn more about launching your brand through Factory45



TRANSCRIPT

Having worked with over 500 entrepreneurs since 2014, it’s been fascinating to watch the highs and lows that we all go through when starting a new business. It’s cliche to say, but going out on your own is certainly not for the faint of heart. So if you’re one of those people who is starting a new brand, a new venture or even just a new project, this episode is for you.

As a mentor, consultant and entrepreneur myself, I’ve had the unique opportunity to observe and dig into some of the most common lessons for new entrepreneurs. So today, I want to share the ones that I think could benefit any aspiring entrepreneur who is considering starting a company:

1.) No one ever really feels “ready.”

As with most big decisions, timing is rarely perfect. And yet, one of the common objections I hear from people who want to start a fashion brand but can’t take the plunge, is that they’re not ready. The timing isn’t right, their finances aren’t right, their relationship isn’t right, their full-time job isn’t right for starting their own business. But unless you have the confidence of Beyonce, it’s unlikely you’ll ever feel fully prepared. You can come up with a million excuses to talk yourself out of it, and yes it is scary… but here’s the secret: no one else feels ready either.

2.) Networking is one of the most powerful resources you can leverage.

I can’t count the number of times we’ve been on a Factory45 live class when someone says they’re looking for X and someone else says they know someone who has X. Whether it’s a garment factory in Brooklyn or a natural dyeing contact or a suggestion for a rare type of “seaweed” fabric, the Factory45 crew does an incredible job of leveraging the network.

Going further, I’ve seen first-hand the power of the referral. Doors have opened for fabric options and production partners, simply by saying “so-and-so” referred me. The response rate is tenfold.

3.) Don’t be afraid to push for “better.”

There are so many stories of entrepreneurs in the Factory45 program who couldn’t find what they were looking for, whether it was fabric or the right manufacturer or their ideal colorways, but they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. And do you know what happens 99% of the time? With the right resources, network, connections and persistence, they eventually get where they wanted to go. There is a time to push and there is a time to concede. You’ll know when you should keep pushing.

4.) Let go of perfectionism.

After all of these years of working with Factory45 entrepreneurs, we’ve had a heavy presence of self-prescribed perfectionists. Coming from all different career backgrounds, there’s been a steep learning curve to adjust to the idea that “good enough” is really “good enough.”

In the case of entrepreneurship, perfectionism can hold you back. It keeps you from clicking “publish” on a content. It inhibits you from ordering the sample yardage. It tempts you to throw in the towel over a minor technical glitch.

The most effective entrepreneurs know that it’s more important to get your message / brand / product out into the world than it is to wait until everything is perfect.

5.) The fashion industry is changing.

This has never been clearer to me than it is now. The slow fashion movement is real. And I’m so excited for the companies coming through Factory45 to be part of it.

If you’d like to be one of them, you can book a free consult call with our Director of Enrollment to see if Factory45 is the right fit for helping you launch your brand. Just go to factory45.co./apply

As promised, I’m sending out a round-up of podcast episodes for you each month…  

This roundup will make it really easy for you to binge the episodes all at once (every episode is less than 20 minutes!).

Here’s what we released in May:

Ep. 20 How to Build Your Email List with Lead Magnets (10 mins)

This topic is short and sweet, but will hopefully pack a lot of punch in your marketing efforts. It’s something that’s actually fun. It’s a chance to get creative to put your marketing hat on. When done right, it will help you grow your audience for your fashion brand much faster – because that’s our goal: to make sure you have an audience of customers waiting to buy before you launch your fashion brand.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 21 Effectively Negotiate Fabric Minimums with Suppliers (12 mins)

In your fabric sourcing journey, you will be faced with high minimums. You find the perfect fabric for your product, but the supplier says that fabric has an MOQ of 1,000 yards. Even if you haven’t worked out your exact quantities yet, you know that for your first collection 1000 yards is probably too high. Does that mean the dream of using this fabric is dead? Not necessarily. In today’s episode, I’m teaching you how to negotiate minimums with fabric suppliers.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 22 How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve Them (13 mins)

We all have moments in life when we set a goal, and for whatever reason, it feels like an impossibility to achieve. At first we’re amped up, we feel motivated and then time goes on and we don’t make much progress. Wherever you are in the process of starting your fashion brand, there will be things that come up that stop you in your tracks. How do we get around those moments to build a business? In today’s episode, I’m talking about how to set goals as a fashion entrepreneur, and actually achieve them.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 23 How to Use Blogging to Grow Your Audience as a Fashion Brand (14 mins)

It should come as no surprise that because of the internet, the entire landscape of selling a physical product has changed and will continue to change. The subtle ways that a business communicates with a potential customer will ultimately result in them clicking the purchase button. So, how do you start communicating and making those connections with your target market? For a startup fashion brand, this is most easily done through blogging. In today’s episode, we’re talking about how to use blogging to grow your audience.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Don’t forget, there are additional resources linked below every episode for you to get started and take action : )

 


Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


We all have moments in life when we set a goal, and for whatever reason, it feels like an impossibility to achieve. At first we’re amped up, we feel motivated and then time goes on and we don’t make much progress. Wherever you are in the process of starting your fashion brand, there will be things that come up that stop you in your tracks. How do we get around those moments to build a business? In today’s episode, I’m talking about how to set goals as a fashion entrepreneur, and actually achieve them.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Non-traditional Goal Setting Blog Post

Book a call to learn more about launching your brand through Factory45



TRANSCRIPT

We all have moments in life when we set a goal, and for whatever reason, it feels like an impossibility to achieve. At first we’re amped up, we’re really excited about the goal. We feel motivated and then of course, time goes on and maybe we don’t make much progress.

We lose our fire and that goal starts to feel completely unattainable. It’s that feeling of being so excited and then quickly realizing that it’s going to be a lot harder than you thought it was.

When in reality, this goal is really no less attainable than it was when you said it in the first place. I want to get specific today with this, and where you might be in starting a fashion brand.

Maybe you’re in the idea stage and you’re still feeling that fire and motivation.. which is great! But maybe you’ve been at it for a while, you’ve sourced some fabric, you’ve talked to a few manufacturers… but you’re just feeling a bit stuck. 

Maybe you’ve set up your entire supply chain and that was really easy for you. You attained that really easily and you’re ready to launch but you realize that you haven’t done any marketing yet – and that’s the big thing that’s holding you back right now. 

So wherever you are in the process of starting your brand, there will be things that come up that stop you in your tracks. This begs the question… how do we get around those moments that do stop us in our tracks? The moments that derail us feel too hard, are too overwhelming and essentially drive us to inaction. 

I’ve shared this story before, but I want to share it again today as sort of a reframe for those moments in starting your business when things feel too hard.

I was listening to a podcast episode with a neurologist who specializes in psychology and she was talking about neuroplasticity which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself with new neural pathways. Your brain relies on so many existing connections that it’s hard to break free from them. This is why, for example, it’s so much harder to learn a new language after the age of 26. The neurologist explained that in some cases, the medical field is starting to see people in their 60s who have more neuroplasticity than people in their late 20s. 

Why?

It’s that the people in their 60s are willing to do hard things.  

It’s the wordsmith who practices sudoku puzzles. It’s a mathematician who writes a novel. It’s a Japanese person who learns Spanish. A person with dyslexia who practices crosswords. 

She said that the level of challenge should leave you exhausted and completely spent.

As I was listening to her, I started thinking about the entrepreneurs I’m currently working with in Factory45, who are just right now in the thick of launching their clothing brands. Right now, most of them are tackling new skills and challenges that they’ve never encountered before. They work their day job and then have to create landing pages from scratch. They went through med school and now they’re having to write copy for emails or product pages. They write headlines, do marketing, deal with tech issues, design challenges, negotiating, creating, organizing. 

I hear from so many of them about how much this process is pushing their comfort zone, but as entrepreneurs, we want to do hard things. 

We should do hard things and there’s neurological science to back it up. 

When you come to a point where you literally want to rip your hair out, can you think of the moment as an opportunity to wake up the brain, learn a new skill, and redirect those neural pathways, because in the long run you will be better for it.

We will all be better for the hard things we teach our brains to do. That’s the reframe. There’s the tactical strategy of it and that’s what I want to talk about more: How to set goals and actually achieve them. 

For me, the first step is to stop calling them goals.

At the end of December, I do an annual review of how my year went business-wise. It’s not fancy. I have a journal and then I plan ahead for my business the following year. Until 2019 I would always just write ‘Goals’ at the top of my notebook and then just start listing out the things I wanted to do in the following year. A few years ago when I sat down to do this, instead of writing goals I wrote ‘Focus’. At that moment I realized it was never my past goals that were that important. 

Yes, it’s great to achieve goals, but it wasn’t the goal that got me to achieve it. It was the tangible small steps that I focused on to achieve those goals. I want to walk you through this:

I started by dividing the year into two parts: Q1/Q2 & Q3/Q4. 

For Q1/Q2, I wrote down one singular focus. Not a goal, a focus. The focus was marketing: that meant for me spreading the word about the Factory45 program because I open applications every May. Then for Q3/Q4, I wrote down one singular focus. The second focus was the Factory45 experience. This is making sure the entrepreneurs in Factory45 have the best possible experience. 

For you, let’s say you want to come up with one primary focus for this fall that you can just really deliver on and achieve. Maybe for you that’s also marketing, so that you can build an audience before you launch.  

The next thing we would do is come up with a list of buckets that relate back to the focus of marketing. These buckets are the tangible action steps that fall under marketing as the focus. So for example, one of my marketing buckets was my email list and my blog. Underneath that bucket, I listed all of the action steps that go into my email list and blog as they relate to marketing.

So, if you were to do the same, you’re probably going to have an email list or blog or both. For you, that could be creating one piece of content per week. 

  • It could be written, video, audio, whatever you want.
  • Sharing that piece of content to your email list and social media following 
  • Cross-promoting other people in your niche.
  • Hosting an instagram live once per month
  • Creating a lead magnet for your landing page
  • Driving new subscribers to your email list through that lead magnet and social media 

There are so many other marketing things you could add to this bucket, but this is just an example. The point being that you are removing the emphasis on goal setting as this lofty unattainable thing. You’re replacing it with a focus and then breaking down that focus into small tangible steps. 

The next thing I do is I get out my calendar and I create a timeline. Let’s say you’re focusing on marketing for September through November. You would write down September and then list out the action steps for that month. 

  • Create four pieces of content for each week of the month
  • Email and share those pieces of content to my email list and social media following. 
  • Create one lead magnet for my landing page.
  • Host one instagram live. 

Notice that not all the action steps I listed a minute ago made it onto the list for September. Some of the things for September will actually roll into October and November because they’ll be ongoing, like emailing your list.

Here’s the deal, if we bite off more than we can chew by taking too much and saying we’re going to accomplish like 30 things by the end of the month, then you’re not only going to accomplish far less, but you’ll also be disappointed in yourself and that’s it doesn’t serve anyone. 

Here’s a recap: 

Number one, going into the fall give yourself one main focus. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything else business related, but you want 80% of your effort in starting, creating, building, launching your fashion brand to support this main focus for the fall. 

Number two, list all of the supporting action steps for this focus and divide them into buckets. So your email list and blog was one of our example buckets. 

Number three, under each bucket list the sub steps or the action steps required. So again, we had some examples, create a lead magnet, do an instagram live. 

Number four, allocate each of these action steps to specific months knowing that some will be ongoing and roll over. So in the example we did, we had September and we allocated four action steps to the month of September. 

Number five, add each of these tasks into your task management platform, to-do list, digital calendar, whatever you like to use. I use Asana or Trello, but a good old-fashioned day planner works too. 

I often say to myself and others that if we knew what we were getting ourselves into, whether that’s starting a business or a fashion brand, then we probably start before we start

And so many people do. They have an idea and then it just passes through and they never take any action on it. That’s fine, but if you want to actually accomplish what you’ve set out to do, then the best gift you can give yourself is to break it into baby steps. Just write that down. Baby steps. 

The other thing is to expect it to be difficult and to persist anyway. Give yourself plenty of time – more than you think it’s going to take.

I hope that was helpful! I’ll post a link to the blog post that outlines this system of non-traditional goal setting so you can see the steps about the focus and the buckets in writing. In case you didn’t get all those notes down, I know I probably talk too fast, but you can use them for yourself if you want to! 

Are you working behind the scenes to start a sustainable fashion brand? Maybe you’re working a full-time job and pursuing your brand as a “side hustle” — that’s our favorite type of entrepreneur to work with. If you’re interested in learning more about not only starting, but actually launching, your fashion brand with Factory45, book a call to learn more about working with us. The link is in the description of this episode or you can go right now to http://factory45.co/apply We’d love to chat and hear more about your business goals.