Things I learnt since I started my own fashion business | Justine Leconte

Things I learnt since I started my own fashion business | Justine Leconte

Hi, everyone! It’s Justine I receive more and more messages from you guys, and I can’t write back every time anymore. It’s just getting too much though I still read everything just like the comments under my videos. And there is one big topic that keeps coming. So I’d like to tackle it in today’s video. It’s about creating your own company. Ah, where do I start? (hehe) first question. How do I turn a creative hobby in to a job? How do I make it my..main job? I started already, I’m stagnating, I don’t know what to do next, what now? Or how to sell the stuff that I’m creating, that I’m making. All those questions… I don’t tackle that much on this channel I prefer to focus on the creative part cause that’s the part I prefer, and I feel that’s also the part that’s inspiring you to take on a creative hobby, or go chase your dream job, just like I did, but there’s a lot more to it, obviously, in the business part. It’s extremely important. At the end of the day I’m an entrepreneur, too. So today I’d like to share with you some bits and pieces of wisdom which I’ve learnt the hard way in the last two plus years of running my own business. I’d like this video to be motivating, but realistic …but motivating. Some might I say it’s common sense but I feel it’s useful to hear those things again and again on the way until it sticks. So let’s talk business. First, what is your story? You need to have a product that is…new, innovative, different, interesting in some way, and you need to tell people about it. Innovation can be the product itself if it’s something completely new. That’s ideal, obviously. But innovation can also be in the way you market, distribute, or even present the product. In my case it’s about the product itself. I use a knitted fabrics with body types in mind. I source and I produce exclusively in Europe, which means good comfort, good fit, high quality, and good ethics. When you buy clothes from me you know that the workers are paid a fair wage so it’s okay to pay more, and you know you getting top quality. That’s my pitch so to say, but the story only make senses if people hear the story. So I explain it everywhere. On my website, in the webshop, in interviews, in my newsletter. If you receive it you’ve seen that already. In social media, and even on YouTube even though it’s not the main purpose of my channel, but it’s important for people to know what I stand for, I think. Communicating your story is key, and you should be able to phrase that story for anyone, in just a few words like I did. Number two.. People are not waiting for you… you need to go find them. I think my clothes and my point of view are new and different and I think I can bring something fresh to the fashion industry, but fashion industry…wasn’t waiting for me. They have enough designers and labels out there already, and end consumers at the beginning dont even know that I exist, so that’s the big question: How do I reach all those people and tell them that I exist and what I stand for? That’s the crucial question that you need to ask your self very early on the process of building your own business. Do you know people, store owners, who are willing to sell your product, your clothes or anything else that you design? Do you know Instagrammers, PR agencies that you can pay to help you spread the word? If you can’t afford to pay people then maybe you need a co-founder, an associate, somebody who will take over the bussiness and sales aspects of the company while you’re creating…. whatever you selling. So one business person, one creative person. There is enough work for two people and many more, that’s for sure, but is it a deal and a compromise that you’re willing to make? It’s also shared risk, but it’s shared responsibility. Then do you wanna start with physical stores, or online or… another way? I started online because before design I had a background in marketing, and I felt I’d be better off building my own online shop rather than taking my collection from door to door and showing it to people who have no idea who I am haha, and who have never seen me before. Also, I felt that an online shop would be easier and faster to reach an international audience. In my case it’s all in English so anybody who speaks English can order no matter where he or she is living in this world…but is it also the right strategy for you? That’s something you need to decide Number three.. Find the “right level” of pressure. There are different ways to start a business; some people will buy a sewing machine, sew some things, sell them on Etsy or DaWanda then the bussiness will grow little by little, and at some point they can go full time. Bingo! Other people will find a sponsor, an investor, put their own money in, and go all in immediately from the beginning. You need to find a pace that’s right for you; the right proportion, the right investment of your money and your time within one week or one month. That still allows you to sleep at night without having second thoughts. And that pace is different for everyone I think. It depends on how risk averse or risk… friendly you are as a person. In my case, I borrowed money from the bank, and I quit my previous job to be able to focus on my business, but in fact I had a back up plan it sounds very risky, but if I failed I could go back to marketing, take on a job like I had before, and earn back the money that I had lost pretty quickly cause I earned good money in marketing. It made the risk much more manageble for me. So it depends on how much financial and time pressure you are willing to set for yourself. number four… How to know when to scale up – or down (things take time!) Before you start, and regularly afterwards you need to question what you’re doing. Is my product good? Is it still relevant? Am I still doing the right thing? Do people enjoy using it? Wearing it? etc.. Am I marketing my product in the best way I can, or is there still room for improvement somewhere? Looking at the way other people do things for instance. That’s very inspiring, or are there areas I should work more on to be able to get closer to success? Am I.. lacking behind in some areas? In my case, full disclosure: I need to spend much more time on building up distribution, and sourcing new suppliers. It’s something that’s not easy to do from Berlin because there’s no garment district in Berlin and only very loose network of suppliers. I should spend much more time on that. I am not doing it now. So should I scale up? Should I hire more people? Can those people produce enough extra sales to finance their own salaries within three months? Or not yet? And the other way around: if you feel that your costs are rising faster than your sales then you seriously need to rethink the way you doing things. Are you marketing to the right people? Are you addresing the right audience? Are you doing enough marketing? Do you have too high fixed costs? Is the bussiness model the issue? Is the product the issue? Is the distribution the issue? Or you just need to sell more which is the problem for most enterpreurs at the beginning, for doing the creative side and the bussiness side in one person. It’s really challenging, but you need to think about that and shift things up again. So getting used to doing that intellectual gymnastics is extremely helpful as an entrepreneur. Whatever you decide and no matter how fast you want to go creating and building up a company needs time and patience, and resilience. I suck at patience, haha but I am learning or I should say life is teaching me.. so I… learn 🙂 Number five… no one is good at everything – delegate You can’t be good at everything and that’s okay, it’s….. human hehehehehehe I can’t be a designer full time, and a sales person full time, and an accountant on top of it. When I design I don’t answer emails, I don’t go to events, I’m not dealing with orders, my phone is off I’m literally not there, and on the days when I deal with business I can’t come up with any great idea. It’s either or, and then on top of that there’s the accounting. I completely delegate the accounting. I pay a team of accountants, they check, they count whatever there is to count. They check all the bills, gather everything, and at the end they give me one final number that I need to file my taxes. I don’t deal with it, but it’s being dealt with. Because if you don’t file and pay your taxes on time, no matter which country you’re creating your business in your business will be shut down. It’s absolutely mandatory, but it doesnt have to be me hehehe Having proper accounting saves you more money and trouble than it costs you. I see it as investment in the existence of my company, and in my own peace of mind. And seeing it that way it’s not an expense, it’s a treat. I said this video would be common sense but you really need to check every now and then that you’re still on the right track so talk about it with as many people as possible, read entrepreneur blogs, magazines, go to entrepreneur networking events. You need all the input and the inspiration, especially if you’re starting alone as many entrepreneurs do, as I did because otherwise after the euphoria and the kick from the beginning. Once that has disappeared, you might feel you are entering into a tunnel, and you see no light at the end of the tunnel. If you know what I mean right now, if you feel this way right now then take a step back, do your sanity check, change what needs to be changed – maybe – and then, keep going. Creating a company, building it up, is not easy every day but it’s incredibly rewarding. That I can tell you! And you learn so much on the way that is worth the hassle. – hustle – hehehe Thumbs up if you enjoyed this video, and good luck in all your projects. Subscribe to my channel, and click on the bell so you get notified when I upload new videos every Wednesday and Sunday. Take care, bye bye !

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Hi everyone! If you have a business idea / young company and you would like feedback from other viewers & from me, feel free to share it here! 😘

  2. Very helpful business advices. I am a crafter , I make mixed media objects decoupage photo frames , boxes .. etc I am planning to take my hobby to my own business , should I start online store ? How to market ? Pls help

  3. thanks Justine! you're an inspiration. I always check ur channel especially wed and Sunday. like this video as I also want to be an entrepreneur. – love from Zel of Adelaide Australia

  4. Hi Justine,

    I work as a software developer, I develop apps for other companies, but I would like to lunch my own product.
    Between manny ideas that come and go, I have one idea for the app that sticked with me for a few years. It’s an app that I would personally like to use, an app that could make people a bit more happier and a word a tiny bit better place 🙂 It’s something I would be proud of to lunch. But I am struggling with two basic things:
    – it’s an app that heavily depends on users – I would have to reach many users in a short time.
    – pricing – I would like to keep it free so that users who don’t have money can still use it and benefit from it, but in the same time of course I need money for all the costs.
    There could be space to get money from the marketing (if 1st step triggers enough users) but I would like to avoid bombarding my users with commercials.
    I know it’s not directly your field, but maybe you have some advice for me 🙂

  5. this video was very inspirational.
    i love the ring you wearing
    i am a creative person thats where my passion lies
    i live in South Africa Cape Town is my city of residence
    because we a developin country great place to be an entrepeneur.
    i was a beauty therapist became self employed was tough thenwas going well onto getting good but left it to go to UK for the life experiences
    and worked in a prestigious spa in Dubai
    came back yo my country and was out if love with beauty theraphy. thats the reason i see now why i left my beauty business in S A.
    started working or dabbling in making organic hair oils and face creams.
    i love bespoke things in life thats why i started watching you channel the tips was awesome bec i get my clothes made for me by a local seamstress
    i bought my own sewing machine to stitch my own p.j.s
    but my latest passion i see is Jewellery.
    i will immeduately focus on an exceptional piece like your ring in this video
    in 2016 i went to abroad and got more inspired to buy and sell online jewellery in my country
    i am plannning to start but feeling abit apprehensive taking that first step
    thank you for the inspiration.

  6. I love this business video as much as the creativity ones and I hope you can create both in the future too. It really helps a lot as I realized no matter how talented you are in the creative field in the end you need to deal with these business procedures. Thumbs up!

  7. Thank you for making this video. I'm only at the very beginning of trying to start my business, but this has given me a few things to consider earlier rather than later. Lovely video as usual. <3

  8. This background looks beautiful. It compliments your eyes and makes your skin look bright and fresh. Love it!

  9. thank you so much. am currently doing my fashion design diploma and the thought of what to do afterwards is absolutely intimidating, but you help me paint a picture. <3 and you are lovely and stunning. love from Egypt

  10. Zen proverb: The work will teach you how to do it.
    My take on it: Be an attentive, diligent student of your work so that it can teach you well.
    Thanks for an excellent tutorial, Justine. Doc

  11. justine could you give us the link to your website? I just fpund out about you having a business!! <3

  12. could you make a video talking about your studies, your experience in marketing and maybe some recommendations of books/ material to learn about your areas of marketing?

  13. Greetings from the Philippines! Not a fashion designer here, but your educational channel got me hooked!

  14. hi justine! do you think you could do a video about swimsuits for different body types? i love your videos. x

  15. Hi Justine! New subscriber here, I binge watching pretty much all of your videos in the last 24h ahahaha
    I could be wrong, but you never really talk about shops where find good quality clothes. I saw your video about how to tell apart a cheap one from a good one, but if you have the time, could you indicate me a list of shops where quality is pretty much a must? thanks! 💕

  16. Thanks Justine 🙂 I really love watching your videos, you are lovely, clear and powerful to listen to. Passez une très bonne journée 🙂

  17. Merci, Justine. That was very informative and supportive at the same time. I am a one-woman show doing custom wear coutures and yes i know the feeling of the tunnel with no light at the end. So totally appreciate your encouraging words and i will keep on hustling 😘

  18. I'm in gr10 and i take business and tbh i agree with everything you said and I'm planning to start up my own business…very encouraging video!and I wish you always stay successful in future!:)

  19. This is a really nice candid video Justine that im sure will be super inspiring to those starting a business! I actually advise businesses in supply chain and sourcing. I usually work with very big companies, including in fashion, but also have worked with some startups in my spare time. I'd be happy to give you some tips if you need help. Keep it up, great job!

  20. This was so informative and valuable. Thank you for the for sharing your knowledge and experiences. My son is a graphic artist/designer working from home.. He needs to watch this video

  21. Hi, Justine. I love your videos. Like others have said, I feel like I learn something new with each one. I was wondering if you could do a video on languages and fashion. Since you're French, make videos in English and live and work in Berlin, I think it would be great to get your perspective on the subject. Thanks and keep up the great work 🙂

  22. Your videos are so interesting and informative! I mean YOU ARE so interesting and knowledgeable and likable, I am completely hooked to your channel, I watch it every evening. 😘

  23. Hi, Justine: Are you still using your bullet journal? I'd like to see how you worked it out for yourself.

  24. Excellent advice, and I agree 100%! My husband and I started our own business 21 years ago, and it (and we!) are still going strong. Yes, there have been rough patches, but that happens in any industry/business, whether you're self-employed or no.

    Luckily for us, before we started our own business, I did the book work/accounting at a couple of different companies as part of my administrative duties in the jobs I had while I worked my way through college, so I can pretty much handle all our accounting. 🙂

    When you start your own business, it's an opportunity to apply every single thing you've ever learned…and you have to be willing to continue to learn and adapt, as you point out.

  25. A very helpful business video, Justine and whilst I'm not in the fashion industry, I think the principles apply to any business.
    If I may I'd like to share my website and would be pleased to get some constructive comments. I am a fully qualified Aromatherapist providing therapy to help benefit many situations and conditions, hopefully, but have not been good at marketing so far. However, I am trying to improve! Many thanks –

  26. Such good information . I think a lot of artists have a hard time combining art and commerce. That is where you can get tripped up and you need to market your product. I do think the free social media has made it easier for more of us to be known. So much different than years ago, where you had to pay for it all. We should all take advantage of the minimal or no cost of it. Thank you.

  27. Hey Justine!! Tank you so much for always providing a good fashion education. I'm interested as a male in learning more about fashion that applies to me. I've always tried to take your tips and apply them to my own fashion sense, but you had such an intuition that I'd be fascinated to learn your thoughts. Would you ever be interested in providing a set of videos geared towards a male audience?

  28. Thank you Justine! My husband and I have a small school ( in china) this is our 3rd year as a full time business, it started as a part time thing,i agree with all your advices 👍🏻 im glad to say we are doing well but still is great to hear from other entrepreneurs experiences.

  29. Hi Justine. Thanks for sharing the knowledge and experiences you have. I love to watch all your videos. They are well research and great in explanation. Somehow, i wish i could know things about make up or skin care tips from you 😀 Good luck. Can't wait the new videos day to day

  30. I have to agree with all the pro-background comments even though it's totally an aside from the actual content of the video. It's really a WOW factor. This color makes your eyes come alive and is very pleasing. Since you often wear dark colors in the video and are typically in front of a dark background, the difference is dramatic and it's all good. Thanks for the video. . .I especially love hearing that you're not good at patience. hahahaha gives me hope for my own future :p

  31. So glad I found you! My husband loves the changes you've caused in my life – I thought I was changing for me! I've always loved fashion. I cant' say you've showed this old dog new tricks, but you have brought it all together. I was really needing some help. I love your fresh honest presentation with its clear direction. What is new to me is having an interpretation of high fashion collections. That video was my favourite looking forward to learning more.<3

  32. لكل عشاق تصميم الازياء سعدونى اكبر الجروب دا.. الجروب دا لكل واحد بيصمم او
    let's learn and share our designs and thoughts نفسوا يتعلم علشان نشارك بعض و نتعلم من بعض .
    فضلا و ليس امرا
    to all the people who love fashion designing
    join me <3
    My name is Rahma El Khalily <3

  33. I am an illustrator, still in school, a single mom, and still living with my mom. I want to get my business up and running, i want to start earning money, but I have so many other responsibilities taking up my time! I just don't know what to do!

  34. Thank you could we please get more marketing advice how to market our products to the right people and customer

  35. Hi Justine, thank you for the video.. this is just what I needed, I am planning to start a food business from home and, like u said, listening to good advice over and over helps.. thanks again and I love your videos 😍👍

  36. Great! You started writing which lipstick you're wearing. I guess I asked enough times hehe 🙂 BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NAIL POLISH?? It's gorgeous!

  37. YES! Following your heart is strategic and careful! I stopped working to complete my memoir, and now I am working on a children's book. My husband and I PINCH PINCH PINCH. But boy is it worth it!! Justine Leconte, as soon as I can, that brown wrap skirt on your site is mine!!!!

  38. Hi everyone! i'm a physiotherapist from Chile. I started my business over a year ago, it's a collective of physiotherapist that gives one-on-one attention, focusing on the preference and need of every person, providing an innovative approach . I moved to a city (away from the capital) with my fiancée to be able to offer; this new vision of treatment to people that don't live and/or can’t travel to the capital and stay there for a month in therapy.

    i will appreciate if you can like the fb page of my business

    The name "CorPhysis" born from Cor (short for cuore, <heart in italian>) and "physis" (nature in greek), because we feel to be able to heal properly we need to be as close to nature as possible, something that has been lost with time, allowing nature to be the center of your healing process.

  39. Excellent video with superb info Justine!! I am/was an entrepreneur starting 1990 until I suspended my biz for family reasons in 2010, however, EVERYTHING you said was 100% spot on!! 👍👍👍

  40. Great video! You have this great quality with making whatever the topic at the moment accessible and relatable! Thanks for sharing!!

  41. Thanks for this video. I have started a business after working 27 years in the corporate environment so this is all frightening and frustrating for me. So this was very helpful.

  42. Helo Justine. I've just checked your online shop. Do you have any size charts? Like showing how many centimeteres or inches is size L? Also do You plan to manufacture larger sizes?

  43. I see you had already made a video on one of the things I had mentioned that I would love to know more about. I really love your channel! You have so many great insights and are able to tackle so many topics that are somewhat sensitive in nature with a positive tone. I'll be sure to tell all the women I know to check out your clothes.

  44. Great video, again. Thanks to people like you we can escape the dictatorship of fast fashion and the horrors of soulless mass production.

  45. Hi Justine, you have a very calming and grown up way in explaining different subjects which I find very refreshing 🙂 Topics like this one I am interested in the most! Plaese make more content about starting your own business and being an entrepreneur. Thank you very much for the motivation! I wish I had your "balls" and drive to finally start my own thing instead of just dreaming about it and planning it for what feels like ages. But 2018 has to be the year to finally do it! Chapeau for what you have managed so far!!!

  46. Hi justine.thanks for sharing this wonderful journey if yours. Im about to start a business. A babies and kids clothing. I designed a few . Hv my mission vission and decided to start it online. But im stuck and dont know what to do.. Ive been sketching a lot of design till now. Can u help me or do u hv any advjmice how to make my dreams come true

  47. Solid explanation of marketing advice both from theories and practice outlook.
    I wish I could challenge any of what you are saying. But nah… 😂

  48. You are wonderful. I'm not necessarily in the position that you referred to in the end of the video, but your advice helped my heart. Thank you. I'm on a business adventure and the rewarding part, the why I do it has felt hard to keep in mind without trying to continually push everything forward. But it really is so worth it and is a life that I am excited and really want to live. A creative one where I am helping other people, there is so much fun to it, but also some parts not as much and it is totally okay. Anyway, thank you so much for this video. I love your advice and what you have to share. xx

  49. Renae Christine has an amazing course for creatives who are starting a business! I have the course but I'm at a creative block

  50. You're amazing talent inspired thanx you save me .. I have small business but you know I gave up after I watched your video I know my mistakes and I will fix it thanx

  51. This video is so helpful…. thank you for sharing your views! I am starting my business now and this helps me to check, check double check what I need to do and have done :-).

  52. Hey Justine! You are very inspiring and I really like your style. I was browsing through your online collection and it has so many great things! Can you confirm if you provide any services/shops to India?
    I haven't found another you-tuber whose videos I have binge-watched like yours! Keep it up! 😀

  53. I followed the ring the entire video. Is is just me? :-))) It’s a great colour complement, the pattern is like a modern painting… and it kept moving! 🙂

  54. thanks very much dear Justine for your tips and wisdom. …i'm seeing no light at the end of the tunnel…and i'm sue it's all about seeing it in another perpective and not taking so many risks in vane….

  55. I prefer you against your Jericho Rose wall. Actually i like you and your work in whatever background you choose. You are magnificent 👍

  56. So hard to comment on this video, but I gotta say, these videos keeping me challenged. It is also impossible for me to talk about the brilliant tips and hard-won experience you graciously divulge here, without talking about you. See below:

    – People watch this video and say to themselves – geez, seems simple enough, I think I can do it!

    Something Justine doesn't go into: When one is in sales, you aren't just selling things, YOU ARE SELLING YOURSELF. Take a look at the comments about Justine throughout these videos – what are the comments that are being made repeatedly? "You are so pretty". "You are so well mannered". "You have such a clear way of explaining things". "YOU HAVE A SUCH A BEAUTIFUL SMILE". The #1 reason Justine succeeds is, people want her to succeed! That is not to say her fashion isn't equally impressive – on the contrary, I find it classy with an eye for detail and quality that is beyond the norm for fashion at much higher price points. And, I don't have to tell you about the quality of these videos. Everything is high quality, honestly delivered.

    – Plan B: Hmmmm, yeah, probably a good idea for most. I urge everyone [particularly wanna-be entrepreneurs] to watch this movie: The whole movie is poignant, but that particular scene that will make sense. Men are more wreckless than women. The reason men succeed in higher numbers is because we also fail in higher numbers.

    – Sales is a numbers game. Four languages, and counting. Reach a wider audience, and what a bonus when traveling! Nothing is left to chance.

    – Courage is something Justine doesn't go into much. The psychology of risk taking is a video she hasn't done in isolation, but she "should". Women are far less likely to take risks than men. Justine also doesn't talk about her pedigree. Did she go to private schools or public schools that just want to churn out corporate drones. Was she encouraged from an early age to be highly independent and self-sustaining [usually from the mother]. So much of people's problems are the destiny that their own parents create for them. If you were raised by parents that beat into you that getting a job and a paycheck was all you saw, the kind of courage shown by Justine will seem outrageous. There is a famous saying, "You can take Mike Tyson out of the street, but you can't take the street out of Mike Tyson". Psychology and success are highly correlated. It is not destiny, but it makes a huge difference. I strongly recommend people rewire themselves. Read EVERYTHING by

    – She is a one woman show as far as I can tell [maybe grown a little since inception]. That means 18+ hour days, sometimes for months at a time, if not years when starting out. Do you know what that is going to do to your relationships and social life? Be prepared for significant others to get angry at you: "What kind of a relationship is this? We go on vacations together, but I don't feel like you are X to me. My needs aren't being met. FUCK THIS!" etc.

    – Fake-it-till-you-make-it: Watch this video. WATCH IT! No Excuses:

    – When you have your own business, you eat what you kill. Most businesses fail right as they are about to succeed, 90% of the time because of the immense pressure to actually make a living. Maybe the biggest advice she can give you is starring you right in the face: Have a side gig that can make ends meet while you bring the "real" business online? Get yourself a youtube channel and start Vlogging! Practice being liked! Provide high quality content, relentlessly, for years.

    I’m Nobody! Who are you?
    Are you – Nobody – too?
    Then there’s a pair of us!
    Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

    How dreary – to be – Somebody!
    How public – like a Frog –
    To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
    To an admiring Bog!

    ~Emily Dickinson

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