Why do so many designers struggle in achieving their dream of being a successful designer brand?

Here are my thoughts about the reassessment of your brand or thinking about what’s next in your life. 

Some things are difficult to accomplish, like launching a fashion designer brand. We often stop in the middle of the road to think about what we’re doing wrong because it doesn’t work. I want to encourage you keep doing what you do, whatever it is. Why ? 

Well, to start with, there’s no right or wrong answer, right or wrong way of doing things. There’s your experience, a learning process and what you become afterwards. There are three key points that I want you to take away from this blog :

  • There’s no single way to achieve what we desire: there are setbacks, struggles, uncertainties, doubts. Most likely, this is done to test you. This is the inner voice telling you to stop and get back to what you know, your comfort zone. 
  • The comfort zone allows you to return to your initial state. The unknown makes us feel frightened.  For instance, if you feel comfortable saying to yourself that “You’ll never be able to make it”, you’ll be more reassured, at the end, after you tried and it didn’t really happen. Now, you can return to your initial state feeling comfortable with the idea : “I was pretty sure of this outcome”.  
  • On the contrary, being uncomfortable has a double effect. On the one hand you’re progressing towards your dream, on the other, you’re not used to this new situation and have a tendency to want to go back to your comfortable statement. My advice: beat it! Fight for the right to feel uncomfortable. There’s no legal right to stop achieving your dreams. No one should do that, not even your inner self.

Why do I see so many designers struggling to achieve their dream of being a successful designer brand? Well, there’re many reasons for this, but the most common is doubt and unconscious belief that it’s hard to make it.

Building its own life, believing in it every day, going out there, doing your thing with no money and hoping to break the wall to get to the other side, is tough daily exercise. Especially when we feel we are being judged by people asking us about our progress. When we are not a recognized brand, not only do we struggle with our daily challenges, but also with what to say to those who seem as if they “care”, but in reality don’t. All they are waiting for is for you to fall back and say “ You see I told you it wouldn’t work”.

I know when we choose to build our own journey, it’s the hardest route towards freedom, but it’s the most gratifying and rich in terms of experience and self awareness. So don’t stop. 

Secondly, when you decide to continue to the end of the adventure, you need to be armed with methods and tools and have a good coach. I’ll tell you more about coaching in my next article. But the main idea is this : 

  • Help yourself with proven systems. These systems are not those that everyone else is using around you. In all likelihood what everyone else is doing is wrong. The systems you need are the ones that work and it is hard to find them because only a few understand them. So, learn success from others. 
  • Hire a coach. This person will fill your journey with purpose and help you to see the big picture, especially when you feel overwhelmed with your daily “to-do list”. 
  • The desire to delegate or have a partner to do the stuff that you don’t like is understandable. But it shouldn’t stop you, especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur. Having one person who advises you using a concrete action plan and reliable tools is sufficient in the early stages to help move your brand to the next level. 
  • Trust me, you learn a lot doing things on your own. Learning and adapting to the market and customer needs is a great feedback. At the end, you’ll be the winner because you’ll teach your team the way it works for your brand. This is how you’ll build the culture of the company and control your results. 
  • Using the knowledge of others can prevent you from many unnecessary pivots and feelings of self-doubt . Also, it will help you to focus on your goals, your daily routine and becoming more efficient. Your business becomes predictable because your beliefs will be aligned with your goals. And beliefs will come from the feeling of being supported. 

One pattern I see repeated over and over again, is when we think we have a unique situation. But I can assure you every designer I talk to who is struggling to be successful is facing the same problems. They think that their situation is unique. But it’s a mistake to think like this. When I say “Truth is in collective wisdom”, I really mean it. People so rarely exchange information about their mistakes and challenges and are instead so set on only showing the positive side of their fashion business that they miss a lot of mutual self help.

Whether you believe me or not, I’m a member of several professional fashion groups where the aim is to talk about problems in order to help each other and learn from the community. In fact, no one does. No one speaks out about their challenges, how difficult it is to sell online, or to build a distribution presence or sell more, or how to overcome specific problems and what solutions to apply. And yet, this insight is so useful for others to succeed. We tend to avoid speaking about it, but we are still looking for answers. 

So to sum-up:

Help comes in different forms

Having support is important and it can take different forms : help from a community, direct or indirect mentorship, people you hire, people you partner with. You can accept any form of help in the early stages. Don’t have one firm idea of what your needs are. Help can come in any forms. 

Be ready to feel uncomfortable
If you want to achieve something, be ready to feel uncomfortable about it and don’t think about the outcome. Focus on the process of doing it and how efficiently you can be on your daily tasks.

Act small, enjoy the process 

Take small, baby steps, and enjoy the process of learning and receiving feedback. Don’t feel overwhelmed because you don’t see immediate results or because you feel the need to show how successful you are with your brand to others. 

Gather as much feedback as you can

Gather as much feedback as you can by first doing it yourself and then by hiring others to help you on tasks you don’t enjoy. You need to master your business and understand it from the inside out better than anyone. There’s no other way of doing it. 

Change the systems, not the brand 

Accept that you need help and the help may come in many forms, including online coaching. The point here is to grow mentally and form a sustainable belief that you can make it whatever it takes and keep the faith until the end. If something doesn’t work as you predicted, change the systems, not the entire brand idea. Improve and itinerate according to market feedback, not according to your own perceptions or what others say you need to do. 

What You Should Do Now?

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