3 min read

Nicole built an impactful community out of frustration for the exclusivity, the “rules”, and the smoke and mirrors in the fashion industry.

Owning a fashion business is really damn hard. When it comes to being an advocate for independent startup fashion designers, Nicole Giordano is forging the path - her way. Here, we talk about fears, challenging the status quo, how mindset is everything, and how her online community StartUp Fashion is helping fashion designers define their own paths for success.

Q: What made you want to start StartUp FASHION?

Well, it was twofold. First, I was frustrated with the way the fashion industry worked—the exclusivity, the “rules”, the smoke and mirrors around the definition of success. It all bothered me and I wanted to create a space where independent startup fashion designers could find the support, guidance, and encouragement for growing businesses, their way.

Secondly, I wanted to build a business that complemented the life I wanted to live. Having the freedom of location and control of how I spend my time on this earth were important to me. I thought about my goal to help designers and figured out the best way to do just that in order to reach my personal goals. Otherwise, I’d never be really happy.



Photo credit: StartUp FASHION

Q: As a business owner, what are you most fearful of? How do you deal with it? 

Losing impact. The most important part of my business is my ability to actually help the designers who follow us. Without that, what’s the point? Sometimes I worry about my ability to continue to offer useful advice and resources. What if I run out of ideas? What if I’m no longer helpful?

To deal with this fear, I do a few things. First, I constantly educate myself. I read books, listen to podcasts, subscribe to magazines and blogs—to keep on top of the industry, business, and the world. Second, I stay in constant communication with my audience and my members. Talking to them, listening to them, and acting on what I learn is imperative.

Q: What challenge have you overcome or a lesson you've learned through this business?

    Too many to count!  But two of the big ones are:

    I’m in control of more than I think I am, so stop making excuses.

    Creating consistency and forming habits are two of the most impactful actions you can take in business.

    Q: What have you seen to be the most common business or personal challenge experienced by members of the StartUp FASHION community? 

    A few things that pop up often among the emerging fashion business community as a whole are getting in the right mindset and having a solid plan around the money.

    With mindset, challenges with confidence seem to become an issue, as well as the ability to get vulnerable as a business owner. These two things need to be addressed and worked on for any business owner to succeed.

    With the money, I once asked three industry experts how long new brands should expect to operate without profit and all three said 3 years. Too many new brands I see are flailing with the finances early on and giving up because they have no plan for how to both pay their bills as well as fund the business in the early years.


    Photo credit: StartUp FASHION

    Q: How does StartUp FASHION help emerging designers?

    At our core, we help independent startup fashion businesses take action, make progress, and reach their entrepreneurial goals.

    We do that in a variety of ways:

    • Offering online business trainings that are step-by-step and actionable
    • Providing templates, tools, guides, and other resources for getting a fashion business off the ground
    • Giving emotional support through the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey
    • Connecting designers to one another (because they’re all going through the same things) so they can share experiences and stories

    Q: What are your favorite words to live by?

    I’m not sure if it’s something I live by, but my mantra when I’m struggling is: You can do this.

    Q: What advice would you give emerging business owners?

    Well, this is a big question. I have a lot of advice to offer. But I guess the most important thing I could say right now is to make sure that you’re building your business around the life that you want to have, rather than trying to squeeze a life into the work you’re doing.

    If you would like to become a member of the StartUp FASHION Community, you can apply here.


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