outsource

The oven was preheating…   

The ingredients were on the counter…

The recipe was in front of me…

As I stood face-to-face with the mini muffin tin.

It was January 10th – the eve of my son’s birthday – and that could only mean one thing:

The 4th annual Great Muffin Fiasco.

That’s right, since 2019, I have attempted to bake muffins to bring into school for my kid’s birthday.

A simple task, right?

But somehow, every year, January 10th ends with me scraping crumbly remnants out of the tin in an attempt to salvage just enough for each classmate to get one.

This year, I knew to make 24 muffins in an effort to get 12. 

This year, I knew to use eggs instead of chia seeds and water.

This year, I forgot the muffin tins.

(Oh, and the baking powder.)

You would think that a seasoned entrepreneur, a CEO, and an all-around capable human could learn from and handle this task year after year, but as my husband so lovingly put it:

“You’re great at a lot of things, Shan… baking doesn’t have to be one of them.”

And this is what I may have finally accepted after four years… I’m just never going to be that mom.

There are the moms that create train-shaped pancakes on the morning of their four year old’s birthday.

And there are the moms that stick a candle in a piece of peanut butter toast and call it a day.

I am, quite certainly, the latter.

My mistake was not realizing this sooner.

And it’s the same mistake I see new entrepreneurs making every day:

Stop trying to be all the things, do all the things, and force all the things to be perfect.

Can you outsource a few social media tasks to an intern?

Can you stop making Tiktok videos if you really hate being on video?

Can you hire a patternmaker instead of trying to learn a new software?

What can you outsource or stop doing so that you can focus on the things you’re great at?

Because here’s the thing:

You can’t be great at everything – and that’s okay.

It’s also okay to not be great at something and still do it anyway.

You just have to be willing to accept the imperfect version. 

So that when you drop off a container of bottomless minimuffins that resemble a pile of, well… you know… 

You can simply smile at the teacher and say,

“I hope it’s enough.”

 

 


ON THE PODCAST:

  • Ep. 04: Coming Out as a Fashion Entrepreneur & How to Deal with Critics 

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify

  • GIVEAWAY! I'm giving away a free 1:1 Strategy Session with me to help launch or grow your brand this year!

Here's how to enter: 

      1. Listen to Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand: The Podcast
      2. Leave a review on Apple Podcasts
      3. Screenshot your review and reply back to this email!

*The winner will be chosen on Monday, Jan. 24!*


THIS WEEK’S LIVE SHOW: Fashion Startup Q+A | Ask Shannon 

  • Stream on YouTube here.
  • Watch in our private Facebook group here.
  • Have a question to submit for the Q+A? Leave a comment on YouTube or on FB!

Book Call

critics

In last week’s episode I talked about entrepreneurship, resilience and the importance of getting comfortable with failure. I argued that resilience is a skill that can be practiced. I also argued that, for most of us, it’s a necessary reprogramming if we learned to avoid failure growing up. And in today’s episode, I want to take this a step further…  

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

Factory45, The Business School For Sustainable Fashion Entrepreneurs.

Book a call to learn more about launching your fashion brand with Factory45.


TRANSCRIPT 

In last week’s episode I talked about entrepreneurship, resilience and the importance of getting comfortable with failure. I argued that resilience is a skill that can be practiced. I also argued that, for most of us, it’s a necessary reprogramming if we learned to avoid failure growing up. And in today’s episode, I want to take this a step further…  

After a decade of talking to entrepreneurs and people just starting their businesses, I’ve had a realization over the years about our collective fear of failure. What I realized is that, generally speaking, It isn’t the act of failing itself that’s the most terrifying to us. it’s the external connections we make to it.

If we fail, we’ll lose our dignity.

If we fail, we’ll lose our life savings.

If we fail, we’ll lose our home.

While these are extreme examples, I know our thinking can often go to “worst-case-scenario.”

I remember a conversation that was brought up by one of the entrepreneurs in Factory45, my business school for fashion startups. She said:

I'm looking for advice: Having just finished my master's degree, it may come as a surprise to some family and friends who don't know about my project yet that I'm going the entrepreneurship route. Anyone have tips on how to introduce a significant career change to family, friends, and/or even an employer (I plan to keep my full-time job for a while)?

And This got me thinking about the “pre-failure phase.”

Before the fear of failure is even an option, first there is the fear of getting started. It’s the fear of taking the plunge. Of not knowing what’s going to happen. Of worrying what your family and friends are going to think.

The greatest inhibitor to becoming an entrepreneur or pursuing a great idea or moving forward with your true life’s work is — never getting started in the first place.

When we make it public and declare our idea to the world, We simultaneously have to face the feeling of being seen.

Being seen means you open yourself to critics, you open yourself to the doubters, and you open yourself to vulnerability in a way you probably haven’t before.

Throw in the visibility of social media to the mix and the stakes feel a whole lot higher.

Personally, I’m no stranger to critics. While the supporters in my life far outweigh the cynics, it doesn’t make the occasional negativity sting any less.

Back in 2013 I wrote an expose about fast fashion for The Huffington Post and then I made the mistake of reading the comments section. I was called an asshole, a “self-aggrandizing bitch,” a piece of shit and other equally flattering names. (And yes, this is why you should never read the comments).

And you wouldn’t believe how long it took for me to be taken seriously in business. For my first five years of entrepreneurship, I faced family and friends at Christmas parties, dinner parties and happy hours, wondering when I’m going to get a “real job.”

If you stay in the game long enough, you get a lot of practice at what I call the “shoulder slide.” You have to train yourself to let comments and negativity slide off your shoulders. And while an off-putting email or comment can still throw off my day at times, I can tell you it does get easier.

So, if you’re one of those people, who is tinkering with a great idea, a new business or an alternative career path, remember this:

The critics, the doubters, the cynics only have power if you give them the power.

As hard as it may be, you can consciously accept that there will always be some degree of negativity coming at you, but you can also consciously choose how you react to it.

Power is energy. And you’re the only one who gets to decide where to put that energy. It can either be your demise or… your strength.

Here are a few other strategies to keep in your back pocket: when negativity or criticism starts creeping in — either internally or from outsiders:

  • Stay close to those who support your dreams. and let you talk about it obsessively, even though they don't understand what you’re talking about.
  • Speak from a place of vulnerability. Don’t predict the reaction you’re going to get, because it will come out in your tone.
  • At the end of the day, your opinion is the only one that matters. (It really is.) At the end of the day, you are responsible for your life.
  • Remember that the vast majority of negative reactions are usually from people that have never tried to make their own dreams a reality. << That’s a big one – It’s easy to be critical of something you’ve never done yourself.
  • Walk into the conversation with the mindset that approval is not the goal – information is. You want those around you to be part of the vision, to be in inquiry with you… so try to make it a two-way and engaging conversation.

If you know me, then you know I’m a big fan of Dr. Brene Brown, who is a researcher on vulnerability and shame. She has a few viral TED talks, but she did another talk that’s not as well known called, “Why Your Critics Aren’t the Ones Who Count.” It’s a must watch — even if you’re the most confident person on the planet, so I’ll link to that video in the description.

The outside criticism and doubters are also why it’s so important to surround yourself with likeminded people working towards a similar goal. This is why, for my entire entrepreneurial career, I’ve been in group business programs or worked with a coach. The energy you get from other entrepreneurs — in all different stages of business — is what will keep you going in the long run. Especially on the extra hard days.

Factory45 is the community I created for fashion entrepreneurs who are looking for that camaraderie, mentorship and support. If you’re interested in launching your brand with us, you can book a consult call to explore the opportunity more. The link to set an appointment is in the description below. We’d love to chat.

Required Trait

If you truly want to be an entrepreneur, then it virtually guarantees you will run into problems — in the beginning, it will probably be on a daily basis. But to reach any level of success, problems require problem solvers. There’s no way around it. In this episode, I’m talking about the main trait required of an entrepreneur.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Book a call to learn more about launching your fashion brand with Factory45.


TRANSCRIPT 

The other day I was watching my three-year-old play with his train set. 

One piece of track… connected to another piece of track… connected to another… 

And then, uh oh.

The last piece wouldn’t fit.

I watched as he struggled to fit the piece, as it kept hitting up against the wall of the table, as he got more and more frustrated.

“I CAN’T DO IT!” he yelled out, red in the face. “IT DOESN’T WORK!”

And I started to think… How many times as an entrepreneur have I felt this?

Why won’t the web domain connect to the host?!

I changed the file size and the image still won’t upload!

Why won’t the email form populate correctly?!

The difference is, I can’t throw my computer across the room like I could a wooden train track.

One of the main messages you hear as a parent is the importance of building resilience in your kids.

It’s why you should resist doing things for them that they can do themselves or providing the easy way out. 

And honestly, entrepreneurship is very much the same.

The very best entrepreneurs, the ones who are successful, are quite simply: resilient.

When something isn’t working the way they want it to, they muster up all of their resourcefulness to find a solution.

They don’t take no for an answer. 

They don’t give up.

But they also know when to ask for help.

Because honestly, that’s what it takes.

If you truly want to be an entrepreneur, then it virtually guarantees you will run into problems — in the beginning, it will probably be on a daily basis.

But to reach any level of success, problems require problem solvers.

There’s no way around it.

And here’s where we went wrong: for most of us, the first 18 years of our lives were spent developing an aversion to failing. We were taught that failure is bad, to avoid any form of failure at all costs — get the grades, excel at the sport, earn the lead role in the play. 

How many of us were told we weren’t “musically gifted” because we didn’t immediately pick up the recorder at the age of eight?

How many of us were told, “Oh, your sister is the sporty one. You’re more of the artistic type.”

When in reality it would have benefited us to really struggle with learning how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the recorder or trying out for the soccer team anyway and experience the disappointment of getting cut.

How would those failures along the way prepare us for success down the road?

Because what we all eventually realize is, to reach the levels of success that we strive for as adults — starting the business, launching the brand, scaling the company — it virtually requires us to be comfortable with failure.

To achieve anything great, you must be willing to fail.

So my question for you is, How can you build more resilience into the day to day creation of your business?

That’s all to say, how can you be the toddler who picks up the train track even after he throws it… 

And tries again.

If you want to make this the year of entrepreneurship, resilience and so much more, this is your invitation to talk more about how we can work together to help you achieve your goal of launching your own sustainable fashion brand. Book a call with us to learn more about launching your brand through Factory45 – go to factory45.co and click “book a call” and we’ll get something on the calendar. We’re really excited to talk to you.

Push Past Fear

To kick off the year, I’m dedicating this week’s Live Show to pushing past fear.

More specifically, how do you push past fear to launch your fashion brand this year?

Fear is an emotion that every. single. entrepreneur on the planet deals with. 

But when we’re first starting out, it’s so much more complicated because we feel like we haven’t proven anything yet.

We have to put ourselves out there, experience the vulnerability of being seen and then, essentially jump without a parachute.

And that is scary.

What you need to figure out, then, is how to push past that scary feeling and do it anyway.

And this is what we’ll be talking about tomorrow, Jan. 6th at 12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT during Factory45 LIVE, the Live Show for Fashion Entrepreneurs.

As always, there are two ways to watch:

  • Stream on YouTube here
  • Watch in our private Facebook group here.

If you’re looking for a boost of encouragement and some inspiration to take action on your business dreams this year, then make sure to join me. I promise to make it worth your time.

See you tomorrow!

 


questions answered

Happy December!

It’s the last month of 2021, so what does that mean for us? 

It’s time to start mapping out your business goals for 2022.

Is 2022 the year you will finally launch your fashion brand?

If that’s an emphatic “yes,” then I’m inviting you to ask me anything.

During tomorrow’s Live Show, let’s get your questions answered so that you can go into 2022 with a plan instead of uncertainty.

This is a free opportunity to ask me your lingering questions about how to get your fashion brand started, how to launch, how to scale or whatever else is on your mind.

There is so much about the fashion landscape, marketing methods and launch strategies that will change and continue to change next year.

How can you be prepared for what’s to come, so that you launch your brand successfully?

Let’s talk it out tomorrow, Dec. 2nd at noon ET during Factory45 Live. As always, there are two ways to tune in:

  1. Stream on YouTube here (ask your questions in the chat).
  2. Join me on Facebook here (ask your questions in the comments).

If you want to make sure your question gets answered (even if you can’t join live!) go ahead and reply to this email, ask your question and I’ll make sure to answer it tomorrow.

This is a free opportunity to get answers to some of your most pressing questions, so make sure to take advantage of it!

I’ll see you live tomorrow : )

 


Prioritize

As we start closing out the year, winding down and reflecting, I’ve been thinking a lot about entrepreneurship and resilience.

Because to reach any level of success in starting a fashion business, resilience is virtually a requirement.

There’s no way around it.

And in thinking about this over and over again (even when it comes to parenting my three year old), here’s where I’ve realized we may have gone wrong: 

For most of us, the first 18 years of our lives were spent developing an aversion to failing. 

We were taught that failure is bad and to avoid any form of the pain that comes with it — get the grades, excel at the sport, earn the lead role in the play. 

How many of us were told we weren’t “musically gifted” because we didn’t immediately pick up the recorder at the age of eight?

How many of us were told, “Oh, your sister is the sporty one. You’re more of the artistic type.”

When, in reality, we would have benefited from struggling to learn how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or trying out for the soccer team and experiencing the disappointment of getting cut.

How would those failures along the way prepare us for success down the road?

Because what we all eventually realize is this: 

To reach the levels of success that we strive for as adults — starting the business, launching the brand, scaling the company — it not only requires us to be comfortable with struggle but also, failure.

To achieve anything great, you must at least be willing to fail.

That’s resilience in entrepreneurship.

That’s what separates the true entrepreneurs from the dabblers.

So as we plan ahead to 2022, and begin to set intentions or write down our goals, it would benefit all of us (current and future business owners, alike) to incorporate exercises of resilience into our day to day.

Because, yes, it’s a skill that can be practiced.

And it’s a reprogramming that is absolutely necessary to our mental well being, our longevity as business owners and our future successes.

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget, I’m interviewing Factory45 alum Catherine Huss on Friday at 2pm ET / 11am PT. She’s going to share the highs and lows of launching her sustainable swimwear brand through pre-sales on Kickstarter. Click here to join us.

 


Book Call

LIVE Workshop

If you’re building your sustainable fashion brand this year, I’d like to officially invite you to a 4-day online workshop I’m teaching for free.

Over four days, I’m going to help you remove the barriers holding you back and get you clarity and confidence in starting your own sustainable fashion brand.

It starts on Tuesday, Oct. 19th and will run until Friday, Oct. 22nd at 12pm ET / 9am PT. 

You can RSVP to join me, in partnership with Embark.Live, here.

As soon as you register, you’ll receive a Welcome email from Embark.Live, who I'm co-hosting the event with.

Over the past year, I’ve seen so many brands seizing the opportunity to launch a new side project or traditional job replacer and they’re struggling…

My mission and my purpose is to help more people transform the fashion industry and reach their dream of becoming a fashion brand founder.

I’m excited to deliver four hours of immense value and get to know you more.

If you’re in, click here to join me.

Talk soon,

 

 

P.S. In the meantime, I host a Live Show every Thursday at noon ET inside our private group! You can join me here.


set goals

Do you know if you’re a ‘starter’ or a ‘finisher?’

I was listening to a podcast the other day with a business coach who was saying that when it comes to projects, goals and the things we set out to accomplish, some people are ‘starters’ and some people are ‘finishers.’

You’re a starter if you find yourself super motivated in the beginning and make lots of progress until about halfway through the project when your motivation fizzles out.

You’re a finisher if it takes you a while to sit down, focus and take that first step on a project, but once you get going you have no problem finishing the project.

No matter which one you identify with more, it’s very common to struggle with the goals we set out to accomplish.

Especially the big ones, like starting a business.

And that’s why I’m focusing this week’s Live Show on nontraditional goal setting and how to actually accomplish what you’ve set out to achieve.

Because the truth is: it’s not the goal that’s important… it’s something else entirely. 

So, if you find yourself struggling to make progress or you just want to create a plan of action for September that you can look forward to, then join me live on Thursday at noon ET.

  • You can watch, ask questions and engage in our free Facebook group here.
  • Or you can simply stream on YouTube here (make sure you Subscribe to the Factory45 channel here so you know when I go live).

If you find yourself in a “summer slump” in building your fashion or accessories brand, then this will be 20 minutes of inspired action-taking you won’t want to miss. 

I’ll see you there : )

 

P.S. If you missed last week, I introduced Factory45 Live: The Live Show for Fashion Entrepreneurs. You can watch the replay of the first episode below and learn more about what it’s all about!

Required Trait

The other day I was watching my three-year-old play with his train set. 

One piece of track… connected to another piece of track… connected to another… 

And then, uh oh.

The last piece wouldn’t fit.

I watched as he struggled to fit the piece, as it kept hitting up against the wall of the table, as he got more and more frustrated.

“I CAN’T DO IT!” he yelled out, red in the face. “IT DOESN’T WORK!”

How many times as an entrepreneur have you felt this?

The web domain won’t connect to the host!

The file size won’t upload!

The email form won’t populate!

The difference being, you can’t throw your computer across the room like you can a wooden train track.

One of the main messages you hear as a parent is the importance of building resilience in your kids.

It’s why you should resist doing things for them or providing the easy way out.

And honestly, entrepreneurship is very much the same.

“Are you calling me a toddler, Shannon?”

No : ) I would like to think the way we respond is more developmentally appropriate.

This message is about resilience.

How can you build more resilience into the day to day building of your business?

When something isn’t working the way we want it to, how can we be more resourceful in finding a solution?

Because honestly, that’s what it takes.

If you truly want to be an entrepreneur, then it virtually guarantees you will run into problems — in the beginning, it will probably be on a daily basis.

But to reach any level of success, problems require problem solvers.

There’s no way around it.

That’s all to say, be the toddler who picks up the train track even after he throws it… 

And tries again.

 


CTA-Factory45 SHOP

Fashion Background

“I’m not a fashion person,” I remember saying to someone a few years ago.

“Wait, but aren’t you, like, in the fashion industry?” they replied.

“I guess ‘technically’… but I don’t follow trends or the latest styles or fashion week or read biographies about Coco Chanel…”

I also don’t have a fashion background or technical education. I was a journalism major in college.

The truth is, I’m far more interested in what’s off the runway than what’s on it.

And while couture gowns are beautiful to look at, I’m more interested in products that solve a problem or fill a gap in the market.

Even better? Products that help to solve the fast fashion problem or provide a more sustainable alternative.

While having a fashion background can definitely be an advantage when it comes to design, sketching and construction, it’s not a necessary prerequisite to launching a successful brand.

A brand that has purpose.

So, if you’re someone who didn’t go to fashion school or work in retail or considers themselves a “fashion person,” today’s video is for you.

I can tell you from nearly a decade of experience why you don’t need a fashion background to launch a fashion brand.

And just a reminder, for fashion and non-fashion people alike, I’m hosting a free four-day workshop in two weeks to help you Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand this year.

Register for free here and save your seat >> https://factory45.co

Hope to see you on May 3rd!

 

 

 

 


1 - EMAIL-CTA