It is always difficult to talk about ourselves yet sometimes it is very therapeutic!
We often forget to look back and see what we have achieved so far, especially when it comes to our career. We have the tendency, to constantly move forward and push ourselves to the future and focus on what we still wish to achieve rather than to compliment ourselves for the success we have obtained.
I can sum up my professional path of 15 years in the fashion industry as a passionate and deep, love-hate relationship. like the ones, you have with life soulmates.
How it started
I started Law school but then decided to move to fashion design studies. After my studies in Madrid and in London, I started working as a fashion designer, first women’s apparel and then accessories, and I had the opportunity to work for some of the top luxury brands in the fashion industry names. Fashion was (and still is) my passion, as it involves creativity, beauty and poetry but there is also a challenging aspect of this industry that includes struggle, pressure, and abuse. So after years of working in an unhealthy and stressful environment, working from 12-18 hours a day under collections, on May 2010, I decided to quit and start my consultancy journey. I chose to still stay in the industry that I love, but with my own timings and rules.
Being a solopreneur in a challenging industry hasn’t been easy. You need to be moved by passion, you need to love what you do, and learn to develop discipline and focus. Amongst all this, you are alone most of the time, in your choices and projects. But freelancing gives you the amazing opportunity to make a positive impact as well as helping clients to evolve, grow and improve, again, in a healthy direction. Building my own business allowed me also to move from design to business development which I discovered fulfills me a lot! I often say that it takes a lot of creativity to work and do business.
If you were to ask me for my top tips to successfully survive and thrive in the entrepreneur/freelance world of the fashion industry, I will suggest you many! But the below 3 are crucial:
#1 First make sure you care about the project and the client.
You need to be moved by a bigger “why” not just about the money or status you will gain by being part of that project or hired by that brand. When difficulties arise, if you are really committed to this, then you will always be able to find solutions.
#2 Always remember that the successful business includes the following
They are beneficial to the client, to you as a consultant but also to the world. If you try to create a positive impact on the business strategies and the developments you implement, then success is assured!
#3 Take care of yourself. Always and no matter what!
Remember you are your own company, business, boss, and team. You may have people that work for you and support you but remember that you are the captain of the ship. And you need to protect yourself. When we work from passion, we feel so aligned that time does not exist. And for this reason, we forget to rest, recharge and feed ourselves. Protect yourself. Avoid collapsing! I always force myself to take breaks every now and then, most importantly retreats. It is not just necessary for me but also for my business as better ideas come when your mind is clear!
I follow these simple yet powerful rules in my business and it allows me to work for amazing Italian and international clients all around the world, creating collections and merchandising plans for brands, business development strategies for retailers, developing trends for companies and mentoring and lecturing in the top fashion institutions and schools.
To you my dear freelance friend, powerful female entrepreneur, please always feed your passion and focus your intentions and you will succeed in every industry, fashion included. Once you reach a level of strength and success please always remember to help others behind you, those in the early stages of their career.
Written by Farah Liz Pallaro