Podcast #5: Why Did You Start Your Fashion Business?

podcast #5 - your big WHY

Why did you start your business? Do you ever wonder why other designers take the plunge?

Behind every business is a story. There’s a big WHY for each and every one of you reading this right now. And your story is unique and valuable.

Today’s podcast (12 minutes) tells some of those stories and peeks behind the curtain of 14 entrepreneurs and their WHY.

podcast for clothing and accessories designersClick here to learn why other designers got started >>>


When it comes to the WHY, what motivates one person can be completely different than what motivates another.

Here’s my story.

I was 25 and living in Chicago. I moved here from Manhattan where I had worked as an assistant designer on 7th Avenue. I didn’t particularly love my job designing coats, but it was a job and I was learning a lot.

About a year into my Chicago job with the same company, they announced I would have to move back to NY, actually New Jersey (which felt like a foreign country to me) if I wanted to keep my job.

I wanted to stay in Chicago but I knew that good design jobs in the Midwest were rarer than a Chanel jacket at 80% off. A long-time Chicago fashion industry person (whom I trusted) told me “If you ever want to make over $30,000 in this town, you’ll have to start your own thing”.  Start my own thing? No thanks – I wanted a job.

So I started looking and actually landed myself one of those jobs. About a week before my first day, I had a disagreement with my new boss who wasn’t even technically my boss yet.

Here’s what happened… My boyfriend’s brother was getting married in Colorado in 3 months and I wanted to take a week off for the wedding. I was giving my boss 3 months notice which I assumed was pretty cool. She said no. It was “during the busy season and company policy dictated that there would be no vacation for 6 months”. Ummmmm. Company policy?

I was about to be the very first employee in this small startup clothing line. She WAS the company. They didn’t even have any sales yet. So I asked again, nicely, and promised her, “I’ll start early and work late the weeks before and after the wedding week” not to mention that it was 3 months away and we could plan around it.

A resounding NO. That was when I decided I didn’t want to work for her – or for anyone really. I turned down the job and started the process of starting my own fashion company. I had no idea how to do it (and no money) but I figured I could always waitress if things didn’t work out – a major advantage of being 25 with no one to worry about but myself.

I guess you could say that I started because I deemed myself unemployable. Or maybe I started my own line because the idea of making only 30K – ever – was unacceptable. Why I STAYED in business 14 years (and thrived) is another story that includes loving my work, making a profit, and working my butt off (maybe another podcast on that).

So listen in and hear the story of other designers’ WHY. I think you’ll like it! I think my favorite is the woman from Kenya – or mabye the one from the designer who realized what she was doing was really what her parents wanted and not her passion.

podcast for clothing and accessories designers
Click here to hear other designers’ stories


So now I want to hear from you. In the comments below, tell me this — why did YOU start your business? And if you haven’t started yet, tell me why you want to start! If you’ve been in business for a while, why to you stay? What keeps you going?

As always, thanks for reading and listening,


P.S. To download the podcast to your phone or mobile device, go to the podcast here. Then follow these instructions:

1. Right click on the recordings link (to right click on a mac, hold down the “Control” key while you click the link).
2. Select “Save link as”, “Download linked file as”, or “Save Target as”, depending on your web browser.
Chrome Users: Left click on the link, then press Control S (Command S on mac) to download the audio.



4 Responses

  1. I loved your podcast! It was great to hear from such creative and inspired designers.
    Thank you again Jane for another great program!

  2. Jane, thank you for all of your content. It’s helping me to remember WHY I’m in this and getting me back on track to focus and bring my ideas to life.

    1. Hi Leanne,
      We all need reminders and again as life moves so fast. Thanks for commenting – means a lot to me.

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