The face of indie fashion is changing. Consumers today want to buy from local designers. They want to find unique pieces over mass-produced department store goods, express their values through their clothing, and support eco-friendly and sustainable businesses. So with this much more diverse and engaged pool of eager shoppers, fashion startups are popping up like wildflowers to meet these nuanced demands.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a piece of cake for an independent designer to successfully break into the market and get her fashion brand off the ground. Sure, the rise of social media helps get access to interested buyers, and it’s easier than ever to start up a good-looking Instagram account to present to the world and start gaining an audience for their unique style concepts. But in the words of StartUp FASHION founder Nicole Giordano, “there’s no one-size-fits-all in this business anymore.”
StartUp FASHION is a community for independent designers and emerging fashion brands that offers tools, resources, mentors, a peer network, and more to help these entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground and make progress. Giordano herself is a former textile designer with a passion for weaving, but she left her formal style profession because she recognized her need for a more flexible, creative, and travel-friendly lifestyle. She still wanted to work in design, and she found her passion in building out an online community to help other designers. Today, her business is helping equip the style leaders of tomorrow for success.
We talked with Giordano to learn more about StartUp FASHION, why she decided to make the entrepreneurial leap, and why this resource is so vital for today’s indie designers.
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Name: Nicole Giordano
Company Name: StartUp FASHION
Job title: Founder
Current home base: New York, NY
Originally from: Philadelphia, PA
Your superpower: Empathy
A woman in history you admire & why:
Elizabeth Tudor, a woman who new what she wanted and bucked convention.
Quote/piece of advice that you live by:
“At first they’ll ask you why you’re doing it, but then they’ll ask you how you did it.”
What inspired you to start your current venture?
I knew that there was a world of makers in the fashion space that didn’t feel understood, supported, or encouraged to go after their goals. I knew that these designers wanted to build fashion business in a way that complemented their lives. I also knew that all those stuffy, outdated, exclusive rules that applied to the traditional fashion industry were just not going to work for them. So, it was important for me to build a space that helped these driven people reach their goals in an industry that was ignoring them.
The other answer is that I knew what I wanted for my own life—constant travel, flexibility, and being in control of my own time. So it was important for me to take my talents, my expertise, and my business goals and apply them to my life goals. I thought about who I was trying to help, why it was so important, and how I could make StartUp FASHION both helpful to a global community as well as complementary to the life I wanted to live.
What are you/your company doing to make history today?
We’re encouraging and supporting the next generation of fashion entrepreneurs to think differently about how they approach business, challenge all the rules of the traditional industry, and build lasting businesses they’re excited about and proud of.
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What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
Designers not being afraid to embrace a new fashion business model. These designers are thinking long and hard about the work they do, what matters to them, how they can do more than just put a product out there. Environmental sustainability, social impact, and value-backed businesses are on the rise.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced at this job?
Being a self-taught business owner, my biggest challenge has always been confidence in my ability to do this. It’s taken a long time to feel like I deserve the success I’ve achieved.
What were you doing before your current role?
I worked in many aspects of the fashion industry: product development, textile sources, eCommerce, content creation, and marketing.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other female founders & change-makers?
Don’t wait to go after what you want. Do it now.
Are there any great resources you have discovered that you would like to share?
Fun fact about yourself:
I’ve visited 35 countries and am trying to get to 50 in the next 5 years.
For more on Nicole Giordano or StartUp FASHION, connect with them here: