Building Relationships in the Fashion Industry

Sample Room

Like any workplace, the fashion industry thrives on relationships.

The way you work with those around you, will greatly affect and influence your ability to forge ahead. Build your relationships early. Make yourself known.

At Sample Room, our extensive experience in the fashion industry tells us that it is a fickle business. Manufacturers are fickle, suppliers too. Customers are fickle. Fabrics and tastes often have a quick turnaround. Everything you thought was solid and reliable one week can alter by the next. And that makes the entire industry cautious. Nobody wants to make a mistake. Production runs cost money and if there’s an error in the design, fabric, trim, then most people don’t want to own up to it.

‘It was your fault!’ ‘You never told me that!’ ‘This wasn’t meant to be there!’ We’ve pretty much heard them all.

Here at Sample Room, we have seen some extraordinary successes from new start-ups, and we’ve seen some abysmal failures too. And we think it comes down to relationships and the way you deal with those around you. It’s how you handle yourself and your relationships with suppliers and colleagues and manufacturers when it all goes awry that matter, and define how you go on.

So how do we suggest you build your relationships, so that you can be successful, wherever you are within the industry?

Don’t play the game of blame.

When things go wrong, it’s never a good idea to point the finger of blame. It only puts those around you offside, and therefore reluctant to work with you again. It also can create enemies. Admit that a mistake has been made. If it’s your mistake, certainly own up to it as this will hold you in good stead. We admire those around us who can say, ‘Yep, that was my fault. Sorry. Let’s move on.’

Keep your word.

If you make a commitment or a promise to get something done, make sure you do it. If you tell a manufacturer that you’ll get your designs to them by a particular date, then do it. Please, never let a deadline amble past. If you can’t manage the deadline by the agreed time, speak up and perhaps agree to a new date. This shows honesty and respect.

Congratulate others and share the successes.

When your production run goes without a hitch, make sure you thank and congratulate all those involved in the process. This will help build allies for you within the industry, and we know you’re going to need them.

In short, treat others with respect and kindness. Always. And that includes yourself, too. Believe in yourself and your ability to create and design.

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