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  • Suzy Wakefield

Reputation to Revenue



5 Traits to Build Your Reputation All the Way to the Bank!


We are back with another article in our series on the ins and outs of building a consulting business in the world of fashion design and development. Here we will share what we have learned from years of making some smart decisions as well as some unbelievably large mistakes. Often on the same day. Hopefully, you can learn from both. Plus you will get a window into how I have been lucky enough to build a 2.0 to a successful career outside of corporate.


Whether you are a service business, brand, or an integral team member in a large company, your reputation proceeds you. And it most definitely proceeds your success. In short, what people say about you when you are not in the room is either your secret sauce that will build your success or the vial of poison that tanks your future plans.


Here are 5 ways you can ensure it's more of the former and zilch of the latter.


𝟏. 𝐒𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐞.


Thought leadership is a buzzword that can be extremely intimidating and at the same time way overly used. Nevertheless, it’s a phrase that has gotten into the ethos of business ( and LinkedIn) for a good reason. In forums like the latter, you have the chance to share your knowledge in discussions among colleagues and future connections. In a way that helps people understand your industry better. And helps you to solidify what you know by interacting in discourse that drives good ideas forward.



𝟐. 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐲 𝐂𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬.


Part of being a leader in a field is being a leader in learning. Don’t know what your partners are talking about? Ask them to explain. Can’t understand something you are reading about? Look it up and try to understand. Staying curious means staying relevant which we all have to be.



𝟑. 𝐁𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐄𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝.


To be honest, I used to be one of those people who felt very insecure about raising my hand to say I made a mistake in front of my team. Or even when I did I got very stressed that I hadn’t done something perfectly. Then I watched the leaders whom I looked up to and what did I see? They didn’t let being wrong become a big thing. And they admitted so graciously and quickly. So I became determined to be more like them.#tryityoullikeit





𝟒. 𝐂𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐎𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐬 𝐏𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞.


This is a two-fold win. Designing, illustrating, and creating replicable aspects of the development process can showcase your work in the field you are in as well as perhaps in the field you want to pivot into. Draw more, design more, and create more interesting projects you can highlight for your target audience and the areas you want to do more of. When I first founded my studio, coming out of corporate I didn’t have obvious swim expertise even though the same skills came out of it. After showing more designs, and learning about the fabrics and constructions that make great swim actually great garments, I got more swim clients. Now 7 years later at least half of my clients at any given time are swimwear brands.




𝟓. 𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐲.


This means being clear and kind. Give your colleagues and friends recommendations. Thoughtfully. Always ask yourself if you are doing it because you like someone or because they need a break. If one of these is the sole reason to recommend someone for an opportunity, think twice. If said someone will be over their skis in an initial conversation or the opportunity, you are not helping their reputation or yours. Instead, explain it and decide if there is some other avenue that you can take to help.


Conversely, if an acquaintance you have would be perfect for an opportunity that you hear about, don’t think twice and send that email, make that connection.#justdoit





So, there you have it – 5 tips for how to build your fashion design studio and career in the world of product development. Enjoy your glimpse into the captivating world of fashion entrepreneurship.  Have more questions about a specific quandary in your own fashion design or product development consulting journey? We are happy to help.  Need to supercharge that knowledge into easy-to-apply wisdom? We're here to lend a helping hand. Reach out to us and we will be happy to schedule a complimentary 30-minute chat. And if you like what you are reading and want to learn more? Follow us on Instagram or LinkedIn.



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