Entrepreneurs, Your First Business Isn’t Always Your Last


Hey there, entrepreneurs. I’m not sure you’ve realized this but your first business may not be your last business. I’m Syama and today we’re going to chat a little bit about the entrepreneurial mindset and what it really means when you launch a fashion business startup. Those of you guys who are familiar with starting a company, probably do so and understand it more from an emotionally-driven standpoint. Meaning a lot of the fashion business startup owners that I talk to just can’t imagine doing anything else. And what I think is so valuable about that is it makes you really committed. It makes you really attached to what it is that you’re doing. However, there is a slight downfall of that mentality which is that this first business may not be your last business.

Now, we’ve seen time and time again different CEOs and different founders start new things. Some things end unsuccessfully, some things end successfully with a selloff of the company and then they start something else. But at the end of the day, the first business that you start may not be the last. Take case in point Sophia Amoruso from Nasty Gal. We’ve all heard so much about bankruptcy, the rise of the business, what’s happening now and the downfall and what is going on at Nasty Gal. However, Sophia Amoruso has got venture capital backing for her Girlboss Media company. Again, Nasty Gal may not have been the best thing for her in terms of where the business ended up, but it did a lot for her as a leader and as a CEO. Now she has a venture-backed business that is going on to do great things. Just recently they had their Girlboss matches, they have books published, they have lots of different assets and they are creating a media conglomerate. Now that is a really smart way of looking at positioning.

Next point- take for example, Dov Charney. We all know him as starting American Apparel. However, guys, we know American Apparel went bankrupt, all these different issues with the management, with the business practices. And guess what? He went on to launch a fashion business startup, Los Angeles Apparel.

Fashion entrepreneurs, last example, we’re going to talk about Scott Stenberg who used to run Band of Outsiders. Now, when Band of Outsider folded, he went back to the drawing board all over again and came out with a new brand: Entireworld.

So what’s amazing guys what we’re starting to see here are brand owners and fashion business startup owners that are going on to launch successful second and third companies. Just because you go into a business and you’re so passionate and committed to it, you shouldn’t ever think of it from a very myopic, shortsighted standpoint. It is very important that you take a longer-term view. Understand that the skills sets and when you grow and learn will likely be accumulating and are internally your life’s journey but certainly any other businesses that you end up starting or even investing in later down the road. If you go from the position of being a founder of one company to a co-founder of another, it doesn’t mean that anything bad has happened. It means that you’re moving to a different business and to a different structure. Let’s say you start off as a CEO of one company and then you move on to being a CMO of another business. That’s fine too, we don’t necessarily need to think about movements within fashion entrepreneurs’ worlds as being extremely lateral or often kind of using the hockey stick approach which now we are all founders and we’re all trying to be founders and CEOs of different companies.

Personally, fashion entrepreneurs, I think it’s very important that you take a look at what your intentions are in running your business. What standpoint are you coming from? What is in it for you? And eventually when it is over (if that happens, which it likely will at some point) what will you want to extract out of it? What are the skills sets that you want to grow out of it? What do you want to take on to your next fashion business startup? Because guys, life is an accumulation of experience. Your entrepreneurial journey might just be starting, but it is hopefully never going to end- and that is very important.

So if you want to read more about the topic of entrepreneurialism, starting a business, I highly suggest that you check out our blog post on “Seven Characteristics of Highly Successful Fashion Entrepreneurs.” And if you’re interested in getting your business off the ground in the right way the first time, I suggest you download our 21-point checklist on how to launch a fashion business. Really important stuff goes to the nitty gritty. Make sure that you understand what you need in order to make this first or second business one that is going to last you for quite some time- because guys, businesses can last 10, 20, 30 years. And you know what? You might end up selling off your business which is really amazing and can be exciting. Or you might have multiple businesses under one business umbrella, under one brand. So whatever direction your business takes, know that this is the beginning of your journey and this is the most important time to be able to exercise a great amount of diligence on your mindset and framework and how you’re approaching this business.

All right fashion entrepreneurs, leave comments below, head on over to Instagram, we’d love to see you over at Scaling Retail. And when you’re ready to get some expert help and guidance on launching and scaling your business, please send us an email at hello@scalingretail.com. Talk to you soon. Bye.

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