Whether you run your own studio or work in an office, having an adaptable business plan is essential. With rapidly advancing technology and the ever-changing workscape, being open minded, reflective, and ready to learn has never been more important. In the latest issue of HOW Magazine, Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. encourages us to take risks and learn as we go in order to stay adaptable:
A lot of the people we talk to are really afraid of growth, and we just always approached it head-on and figured it out as we went… We still don’t make plans very far in advance because it’s really important to be nimble and be able to react to opportunities that come up very quickly and sort of change course if you need to. I feel like we’ve done that a lot. Sometimes the unexpected will come up and we’ll be like, ‘Oh, this is actually a great decision – it’s not what we were planning, but let’s just go for it,’ and it may change the course of what we were intending, but it ends up being great for the company.
Bond is able to stay adaptable because she approaches her work with an open mind. Rifle Paper Co. was founded because she took the time to review online responses to her freelance work. The largest response was to her unique style of wedding invitations which she transformed into the off-the-shelf stationary of Rifle Paper Co. But it’s not only through our past work that we’re able to shift into new things. We also need to be looking forwards and gaining new skills in order to open new doors for ourselves. Elizabeth Suzann, Nashville fashion designer, advises continuously learning more of your process, from start to finish:
Since starting Elizabeth Suzann, I learn something new about design and beauty every day. I’ve been motivated to learn as I go. Every task done in my studio, whether it be sewing, packaging or marketing, I have done myself at one point. I still work daily with my production team, too. I am always paying attention to detail and hope to improve my work as often as possible.
Suzann not only continues her learning within design, but in every aspect of fashion production. This provides her with the background knowledge to adjust her company accordingly—you can’t pivot quickly if there are huge gaps in the knowledge of your own process. Learning through trial and error feels risky, but it’s such a valuable learning experience. It took Bond three runs to perfect her first batch of greeting cards due to the manufacturing learning curve. Instead of standing still and waiting for change, Bond embraces it. “We just did it,” she says. “It may not have been perfect, but we just always moved forward.”