collaboration – not competition

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WATCH: [VIDEO] Fashion Is Brewing by Emerald Rue

gratitude

November is a month for practicing gratitude. Many in the United States are celebrating Thanksgiving, and for me personally, practicing gratitude is a way to be mindful as the fever pitch of the holiday season kicks in.

I have a lot to be thankful for this November. It marks the 5-year anniversary of Nancy Dilts Wardrobe Consulting, which in the world of entrepreneurship is something to celebrate. It also marks a year of exponential growth for both my business and myself. It feels good. My hard work is paying off – I’m proud, and I’m grateful.

I couldn’t be celebrating these successes without acknowledging the support and collaboration of others, however. In our society today, it’s so easy to fall into competition and feeling the need to appear as “the best” or “the winner” or “having all the answers.” It’s a false construct – no one is the best at everything, no one wins everything, and no one knows everything. Certainly not me. Really, not anyone.

In our society today, it’s so easy to fall into competition and feeling the need to appear as “the best” or “the winner” or “having all the answers.”

competition or collaboration

This fall I had an opportunity to collaborate with some other women-owned businesses to support the non-profit Dress For Success – Twin Cities, an organization that helps women to gain the tools and skills needed to enter and advance in the workforce. It’s an amazing organization known for literally dressing women for success, and they are also doing so much more in their professional development programs.

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Jill, Jess, Nancy, and Missy | Photo Credit: Emerald Rue

I partnered with Missy Auran of Elite Repeat Consignment and Boutique, Jess Burke of Well Layered, and Jill Pavlak of Urban Growler Brewing Company to co-host the event – Fashion Is Brewing. Jen Martodam of Emerald Rue – Family Films and Lifestyle Photographs captured the event in photos and an amazing video, which I’m thrilled to share here. We all gave our time and expertise at no charge for this event – it truly was women supporting women. Working together to lift up each other and to lift up the women of Dress For Success.

Jess is another wardrobe consultant/personal stylist. The competition, right? Yes and no. We have different target demographics – with some overlap – and different approaches. Even if we were more directly “in competition,” I would have partnered with her anyway. Sally McGraw, whose blog Already Pretty and philosophy around body image and personal style I highly value, said it best when I was just starting out and seeking her advice: “There’s room for everyone in this work!”

Indeed, the abundance mentality – collaboration, not competition. Sally could have seen me as a threat to her styling work and not only chose not to, but also has been a staunch supporter of my business. It’s an example I aim to follow. As with Jess, to collaborate rather than see each other as competition will only help both of us. Personal styling is just that – personal. Our clients select the consultant that resonates most with them. Jess and I have different niches and appeal to different people – sharing the love supports each other rather than harms.

Fashion Is Brewing was a smashing success. So much so that we plan to do it again next spring. It was, and is, a powerful reminder that collaboration takes you so much farther than competition. We all win.

we are more powerful when we empower each other

 

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ndwc turns 3!

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woo hoo!

The beginning of November marks the 3rd Anniversary of nancy dilts wardrobe consulting. In the world of entrepreneurship, this is a. big. deal. So many small businesses and solopreneurs don’t make it to see this anniversary, because it can be a long, slow haul to success. I’m here! ndwc is going strong and growing – year three has been a good year. And I’m PROUD.

I’m here! ndwc is going strong and growing – year three has been a good year. And I’m PROUD.

We’re always afraid to talk about anything other than the successes, but aren’t the challenges what we learn from most? Starting my own business has been a huge exercise in personal development – I’m out of my comfort zone much of the time with some of the business aspects of my work and am constantly gaining new skills, ideas, and perspectives as a result.

Being an entrepreneur definitely keeps it fresh! Sometimes it’s completely overwhelming – so much so that I have Dory’s mantra from Finding Nemo on repeat in my brain: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

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why I keep swimming

Even when things are challenging, I can’t see myself doing anything else. This work is my calling. Helping others to feel great about how they look through dressing intentionally and with confidence. Practicing sustainable consumerism for my work and sharing that model with others to have positive impact on the world. It is so gratifying.

Even when things are challenging, I can’t see myself doing anything else. This work is my calling.

gratitude

Of course, even solopreneurs can’t do it all on their own. I am so thankful for the support I’ve received (and still do) from so many people. My husband, in countless ways. Dear friends who have championed me and lifted me up when I’ve been down. Colleagues that have gone the extra mile to help. And especially clients, not only for their loyal patronage, feedback, and referrals, but particularly for the joy they bring me in our work together.

what’s next?

I’m continuing to offer all of my services and am thrilled at the response to my new A Year of Style service package – the deeper relationship that is the core of this service is what it’s all about for me. And be sure to watch for new ndwc services in the coming year!

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giving thanks – WomenVenture

On Friday I participated in WomenVenture‘s annual Fall Luncheon and Marketplace as a client business. The fundraising event features female entrepreneurs, particularly those assisted by WomenVenture, and is attended by over 1,000 women. It was pretty exciting.

WomenVenture’s mission is to “help women attain economic self-sufficiency through the creation and growth of profitable and sustainable businesses.” They do this by providing classes, capital through Small Business Loans, scholarships, and a community of successful businesswomen who offer their expertise to support women who are starting and growing their own businesses.

When I was in the early stages of developing nancy dilts wardrobe consulting, I took the Planning to Succeed class series at WomenVenture. My previous career was in education and the non-profit sector; this class helped me to plan realistically for starting my business and to consider all the risks and potential pitfalls that entails. Occasionally it felt a little like a “weeder” college course or “Scared Straight” – if you’re still standing at the end of the class, then you might just have a successful business. This was a good thing – starting a business and being self-employed are not for the faint of heart, and the Planning to Succeed program provided an abundance of invaluable information to help me dive in to this adventure with my eyes wide open.

This month is ndwc‘s 1-year anniversary. (WOO HOO!) It was rewarding to celebrate my milestone at the WomenVenture event by connecting with hundreds of women, being one of dozens of women-owned businesses offering their goods and services, hearing others’ stories and sharing my own, and feeling empowered by our collective strength.

Thank you WomenVenture, for helping me get my start.

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At WomenVenture’s Fall Marketplace

 

My delightful neighbors in the Marketplace and fellow WomenVenture client businesses! Be sure to check out their offerings.

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Patty and Lisa of MODE Roseville