- Suzy Wakefield
5 Tips Every Fashion Founder Needs to Improve Decision Making
Updated: Apr 29
You know that feeling when you can’t make one more decision, You fear making the wrong one, and you feel like you wouldn’t recognize the right one if it was a wolf and it did bite you. When the reality is that the worst one is the one you don’t make.
We find that this is one of the hardest things for founders to remember who are coming into the fashion world from other walks of life. They are so scared to make the wrong one for fear of costing money, reputation is and having designs that just plain look out of sync with the brand or world. Additionally, they soon understand that decisions build on each other so it becomes even more intimidating. To the point of being a deer in the headlights not knowing which are big, which are small, and which are more time-sensitive than others.
Some are intrinsic to the collection and brand.
What is the personality of the brand? Who is the muse? What need is the brand built on? How many designs will you launch with? How many colors in each? How many sizes?
Some of them are intrinsic to the garment itself.
What color should it be? What shade of that color? What size strap will be used? What size button? What sizes will we offer it in?
Some are the just s*#t that needs to get done.
Who is proofing the last pitch deck before the meeting? Who is checking the website copy? Who is making sure the line plan gets updated? When is the photoshoot going to get scheduled? And where will it be?
And On and On and On…
As easy as it is to procrastinate the only truly bad decision is to not make them. Conversely, there are so many benefits of being able to make sound decisions in a timely manner, including the respect of your team, investors and manufacturers. With the added benefit of better adhering to deadlines, showing leadership in challenging times, and seeing more rounds of product in the development stage, which is always a plus.
Here are 5 Tips for Tackling the Most Challenging Decisions
1. Analyze Your Most ‘On’ Time of Day
Review your last week and recall when you were most awake, refreshed and ready. If it’s morning (like us) then send yourself an invite for Decisions Time and go for it. Invite whoever you need to who is a stakeholder so that you can bang out at least ones that have come up within the last 24 hours. And for the ones you can’t because you need more information, commit to putting a timeline to get what you need in order to be able to close it within the next slot.
2. Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup
We’ve seen many well-meaning clients who want to get the buy-in of everyone around them to validate their own thinking. While it’s great to be a democracy, depending on the decision needing to be made, sometimes a little dash of dictatorship is the way to go. Often asking too many people only creates a bigger vortex and actually only serves to confuse the issue. If you are making a decision whether to go with Beetroot or Auburn Red, you don’t need to know what your COO thinks. You need to get the opinion of your designer, maybe your marketing partners, and your merchant because all of them are either stakeholders or experts.
3. Think Like 7th Grade You
Ask a million questions and don't stop until you are satisfied with the answers. Be curious and fearless to know what you want to know. This kind of mindset will give you the answers you need, and the confidence going into making any decision you need to.
4.The World is Not Your Oyster
Design is a healthy bit of art and science. When it comes down to it there are a few main factors that influence creative and strategic decisions from one season to the next; Brand DNA, trend, previous season projection, and positioning .among them. So using another color example if you are choosing between warm or cool tones, you will want to think of a combination of factors. Blues are on trend, you shipped a melon last month as your fashion color and navy did well for you in the previous season. All the inputs don’t necessarily match up but they do serve to help sift through decision-making. Contrary to what some might think, this doesn’t creatively handcuff you. Instead, it helps you narrow more quickly to the ones that you can then spend time honing in and perfecting.
5.Trust Your Gut. Or An Experts
For analytical people data is the way to go and for all of us in business, a certain amount of data is very helpful to understanding customer feedback. At the same time, this decision overload can happen when one is trying to rely on data too much because they in over their skis from a knowledge point of view. Or conversely, you are so set on doing things 'differently' that you're not seeing the obvious answer because of it. Often gut is born from experience. Once you’ve seen it done enough times you will be able to learn to do it yourself.
This is one of the reasons why clients come to us to support their visions. They need to not only have the playbook, but they also need to see it in action and be able to ask questions in real-time. And as importantly they need the counsel and expertise of people who understand the language because they have lived and breathed it.
Have any tips of your own that help you to create more or be more productive? If so, we'd love to hear. Or have any questions on how to start a fashion brand or continue to grow yours. Reach out to us here at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to chat!