[Wo]men stumble over pebbles, but never over mountains. –Emily Cady
The following is a guest post by Hannah Payne. Her bio follows.
“Three, two, one, take a breath. I may stumble over pebbles but never over mountains.” These eight little words popped up onto my phone a few days ago and I have not read a truer statement in a very long time. My journey in this industry is not one of overnight success, but of little victories and challenges as I climb this mountain that is Luba By Hannah Payne. The following 5 statements are my guiding force.
1. Trust yourself more than anyone else.
I’ve been dreaming about this my entire life. I know that this passion is part of my soul and at the end of the day, I need to trust myself. This advice was shared with me in one of my last classes at Parsons School of Design. A guest speaker from LVMH told us that at the end of the day, you know what is best for the brand. Listen to others and think about their advice, but never compromise your own thoughts or ideas to please someone else. It is easy to have self-‐doubt when things are going south, but when you allow the doubt to rule your choices, you lose yourself in the end.
2. Never give up your dream.
This sounds cliché but this phrase drives me. ‘Never give up. NEVER give up.’ Focus on your dream, figure out what your end goal is, and make a plan to achieve it. I have found as an emerging designer, you are faced with a lot of rejection, criticism, and “free advice.” This is where you grow thick skin and keep your mental space focused only on the end goal. It doesn’t matter how talented you are or how much money you can put into the brand. What matters most is having the mental staying power to keep climbing.
3. Work your absolute hardest.
I remember being at a cocktail party when I first launched Luba and a woman asked me what I did. When I told her, she laughed at me and asked, “so how do you actually start a brand?” To her, I seemed like another head-‐in-‐ the-‐clouds ‘fashion girl.’ So I told her: “You first need to have investors, then you create a business plan, find a patternmaker, then you create samples, and the list goes on,” plus a thousand more things in between.
When I actually thought about everything that goes into starting a brand, I was very amazed by everyone that does it. This conversation lit a fire in me -‐ although I will probably never see her again, I wanted to prove her wrong. To do this, I need to be the biggest advocate for the brand, which means going to factories, fittings, tradeshows, stores, and any networking opportunities that come along. It’s hard work but rewarding.
4. Take time to form relationships and surround yourself with people that know more than you.
One of the hardest challenges I had when it came to starting the brand was finding factories. It came down to my connections that I had from internships and blindly hoping factory owners would answer my calls. Now, after years of working together, our relationship are strong and they are more willing to rush orders for me, pick up zippers if needed, and go above and beyond. This is just one of a hundred examples. In this business and frankly, any business, personal relationships and connections are everything. Spend the time to create and nurture them.
5. Stumble over pebbles, never over mountains.
It is very easy to get distracted by all the little speed bumps -‐ whether it’s a store not wanting to sell your clothes, a fabric manufacturer that’s delayed on a shipment, or zippers being too short for a jacket. In the moment, it takes a toll. Doubt comes in, you begin to second-‐guess yourself, and you lose sight of your mountain. Do not let all the small problems distract you and crush your spirit. One day, you will look back and laugh at these pebbles because you will have reached the top of your mountain. Keep climbing, girls!