How do you start a business? How can I get into fashion and fashion styling? These are my most asked questions each week.
Starting a business and entering the fashion world are, in my opinion, not for the faint hearted. Past me would have told you it takes blood, sweat and tears. She would have said, "be the first person there and the last one to leave, work hard, work seven days a week, stay up till 11pm at night answering emails and going through look books." While rolling up your sleeves might be essential in the beginning to physically 'launch' a business/brand the more powerful lessons are learned each day through living, doing and trial and error. LESSON ONE Always remember where you came from.
No one who has ‘made it’, in history can truly wholeheartedly (or honestly) say they did it all on their own. This one is huge. Who helped you start? Who believed in you when your idea or business were non-existent? Who was your first customer? Who reached out to you and offered you their network or these days their platform when you had none? We often forget all the people along the way. The people we didn’t have to spend time raising, who's knowledge, kindness, support and insight we get to gleen and benefit from personally and professionally. There are so many people out there who gave me a referral, bought from me when I was a single mum alone in my store with a baby, believed in me, encouraged me, bent over backwards for me to help me get to where I am in life, in fashion and in business. During the recent pandemic, ladies reached out to me, shopped with me and kept on telling me and my boutique will make it through. Always remember these incredible people.
LESSON TWO Adapt or Die. We are in 2020 now. To ignore things like the evolution of social media is detrimental to the health of a business. To resist the way the world is digitally is to really put a brand at risk. Be open minded, listen, learn, do your research and don’t fear technological developments. Instead, seek to understand. If you try to understand it will dilute any fears you may be holding on to. What platforms do you need to be active on to reach your audience? Find out what they are and get on there. If you’re too busy for all this or just don’t know how to do it, hire a social media manager. They can coach you, show you the ropes and give you confidence. Let them be your arms and legs, listen to them and let them catapult you and your brand to the top. Empower your team and hire people who aren’t afraid to speak up against you if they know more about a topic. When they do, listen and take their advice. We do not know absolutely everything so play to your strengths and let others take the reigns in their strengths. The quickest and most successful way forward is from A straight through to B.
This shot was taken recently in store by my social media manager, Amy. We did a second, wonderful collaboration with local company Smash-A-Cake Brisbane. If you're local to Brisbane, they create incredible mashable chocolate cakes with kilos of lollies and chocolate inside. This is one of many collaborations organised via social media. I'm a small business and wanted to share how incredibly talented and lovely this small business is @smashacakebrisbane - the only way forward is definitely together so make sure you have good people on your team. As most of you already know, I only work with brands and companies I absolutely love and can one hundred percent vouch for. 've been asked to support lots of different brands and products over the past six months and I can honestly say I've had to decline offers that were disaligned with what I would personally use or advocate for. Stay true to you and what you love. LESSON THREE Relationships are everything. It goes without saying. But let me elaborate because I'm a chatty minx like that. What I can tell you is that in fashion, especially in Australian cities like Brisbane (which would logically be considered ‘small’ on a global scale compared to the fashion capitals of the world), you constantly interact with the same people. To paint you a picture, Australia’s entire population is roughly the size of just Los Angeles city. What this means is that if you are dealing with any individual in fashion in Australia and they resign from one fashion company, it means they will be hired or promoted at another fashion company and you will be in a continued relationship with them again at this fashion house. If in doubt, be kind, make clear simple requests with genuine warmth and conversation.
This is what my boutique use to look like a few years ago. It's really come a long way. Want to see the latest? Feel free to have a peak at @misshenryboutique to see our white New York loft style aesethetic. My boutique, just like me, fashion and business has experienced multiple evolutions over the past thirteen years. The latest update to how it looks and feels is by far my favourite. LESSON FOUR Persistence is key. This is how I metamorphosed my little boutique to a designer fashion business. I love all fashion but designer labels and brands have always had my heart. I started with lower price point brands which were accessible to stock and accessible in price. This is what I could afford when I opened my doors so it made perfect business sense. I’ve always loved every brand I’ve ever sold but my mission in my mind was to offer my customers the most lush collection of designer labels that I could. My boutique, Miss Henry, literally ‘grew up’ with me. I emailed and called and emailed and called and persisted with every brand I really wanted. Determination, putting it out to the universe mentally (everyday) and staying in communication really helped me secure the brands I always dreamed of stocking. If only past Nicole knew in 2007 what Miss Henry Boutique would look and feel like today. I like to think she’d be pretty chuffed.
Past Nicole. Cheers to her outfit - I use to love this top! Looks like a 'golden' lesson to me. LESSON FIVE Have Grace and show graces to others. To me, grace means to read the room, to have empathy, to rise above truly and authentically. If the person in front of you needs to be heard, hear them. Without judgement, without cutting them off. People can sense when another person is simply waiting for their chance to speak and not truly listening to what’s being said. Let the past go, learn from the past and choose to love yourself enough to set yourself free from old experiences and belieft systems. Do you really need to have the last word? Maybe it matters more to the other person to have their say. So let them and do it with grace. Ask yourself, will I remember this current ‘hurt’ in five years? Probably not. So have grace. Do it for the future you. Let others say and do what they feel and need to, listen, let them, then rise above, and think about what you can add to every room, every situation. You have the power to make negative conversations positive with your voice and body language. Never underestimate that. Choose to inject joy into any room and offer a solution focused mindset and transparency to everyone you interact with.
This year I will be compling my lessons learned, my how-tos in business and fashion and creating some incredible pathways for everyone (and their daughters) to interact with me and my fashion styling business even more. I've been working hard behind the scenes to generate new information, expand the Fashion Fox offering and help you all reach your biggest goals in life, business and fashion. So stay tuned!
I hope you enjoyed tonight's blog. I will be in store all week long with fantastic new arrivals. If you'd like to connect with me on Instagram I'm @the_fashion_fox_ or feel free to connect with my boutique @misshenryboutique.
See you next Tuesday!
The Fashion Fox