You Can Only Walk Your Own Path
Rebecca shares how she forged a path by playing by her own rules and following her gut. Read her advice below.
What is essential to design a successful life?
- It’s a question I’m commonly asked about the inspiring women I interview on my podcast. When, in reality, it’s their individuality that made them successful. Each woman traveled a unique path to get to where she is today. She had no map to follow but her own. Answers like these don’t satiate our curiosity about those we admire. We all have a personal story, and yet it’s part of our nature to find ourselves contextualizing our journey in relation to others. In our quest to follow their footsteps, we miss an inherent truth: You can only walk your own path. The fashion industry was an illustrative landscape for me to learn this lesson. Most brands execute a similar strategy, creating fashion-forward lines and fantasy-like photoshoots. Our brand was never like that. Especially during the early days, everything came from a place of pure creativity. As our company grew, so too did the demands of shipping orders, ensuring store performance, and making payroll. The increased responsibility forced me to ask:
How do I mix my gut feeling with science?
- Every founder who aims to build an enduring business will face this question. The only way to answer it is through trial and error. It took us years to find our sweet spot; Designing multiple collections we hoped would impress editors only to learn that our customers didn’t want to buy them. Whereas magazines ask for gowns, our girl wants a really great t-shirt. Our moment of clarity came in 2016 during a meeting about adopting a See Buy Wear model for fashion week (when you can purchase a collection immediately after the show). As one of the first brands to make the shift, we contemplated the decision until a consultant finally asked:
Can you guys stop worrying about this so much?
- He then walked us through an exercise outlining every major decision we’ve made as a company. After reviewing several of them, he said: When you followed your own path you won. When you tried to follow others’ you didn’t.’ Trust yourself. It’s a simple lesson, that we knew at our core, but it wasn’t until someone really shed a light on it that we ripped off the parachute and said: ‘Let’s jump.’ Our fashion show that spring ended up being a pivotal moment for our company. After witnessing a significant increase in sales, we not only adopted the See Buy Wear model but hosted our next fashion show on the streets of New York City, right alongside our customers. Every decision we faced moving forward felt less fraught with anxiety. The conversation reminded us that we’re a brand that paves our own path. We’ve been advised against most of the best choices we’ve made - from cultivating a relationship with our customers to partnering with bloggers - but every time we serve our community we succeed. There will be many times when you feel pressured not to follow your gut. Follow it anyway.
“There will be many times when you feel pressured not to follow your gut. Follow it anyway.”