Most of us don’t decide to live an empty life. Most of us do not want to do work that we are not interested in. Most of us don’t decide to go into business just because… Heck, those that have tried it know that you don’t go into business just for fun – it is a lot of work, unpaid for a long time and feels a bit like being back at university – you never really have any time off because you could always be doing something (and always feel like you should be doing something). You don’t go into business unless there is a fire in your belly. Unless it is what you really want to do. It’s a bit like acting. After three years at drama school and a few years in the “biz” I realised I simply did not want to be an actor – and believe me, that is not a business you’re in unless it is the only thing you can imagine doing!
I remember meeting with young and talented designers with a very exciting project. We discussed marketing strategy and positioning in the marketplace. Should they produce a lot of items and sell cheaply to the public, should they adopt a premium position but not haute couture (think Marc Jacobs, Sand, Karen Millen) or should they go for haute couture. Many had suggested they take the middle route, but they did not want to. They wanted to go for haute couture. The business people said it was too risky. Personally I think it makes perfect sense, especially in the fashion business, because although you won’t make any money on haute couture, the pieces you produce there will get you attention and put you on the map, and that will then help sell the products you sell at more affordable prices in the general market. But it does not just make sense on the Excel sheet. It is vital to keeping the project alive.
Don’t Put Out The Fire!
If these young designers only listen to the business people around them, skip haute couture and go straight for the mainstream marketplace, two things will happen. First, they will be yet another label in an overcrowded market and it will be very hard to cut through the clutter and get attention. Second, the fire in their belly, their passion for what they do, will gradually die. How exciting do you think clothes designed by people with no passion will be? How long do you think the business will survive once the designers’ fire dies out?
Keep It Alive!
It is crucial to find a way to make passion and business go together. Not just for you or your staff to keep going, but passion is an important part of your marketing. It is the fire inside that makes your business special. People can sense if you are passionate about what you do and they can sense if you don’t care. Why should I do business with a company full of people who don’t care? If everyone has passion for what they do, igniting passion in your customers will be so much easier. It will be easier to build your brand, and easier to get people to tell others about you. It will be easier to interest people, get them to like you and trust you…
What is your passion? How does it affect what you do? How can the customer see your passion?