2021: Business in Review

This year seemed to fly by in comparison to 2020, and, looking back, so much happened this year!

2021 Highlights

I hope you can also take some time to reflect on this year and celebrate the wins both big and small. Here are some of the highlights that felt significant for my business this year (and I hope some of them have been or will be significant for your business as well!).

2021 Growth

2021 saw a lot of growth for my business and kept me very busy for most of the year. I started booking projects months in advance and had to turn down some projects that had more urgent deadlines. The hesitancy of fashion businesses in 2020 made way for new wardrobe needs and a more optimistic and fashion-hungry public after a year in the same pair of sweatpants. A crop of new fashion entrepreneurs inspired to pursue a life-long dream or solve a wardrobe frustration created a burst of new brands in the slow fashion space in which I work as well.

2021 Growth
49% YOY increase in revenue
168% YOY increase in Instagram followers
68% increase compared to the full-time industry salary I left when I started Alison Hoenes Design
270% increase in newsletter subscribers

Through this growth, though, I learned a few things. First, that growth may appear to happen very quickly, but it is all the persistent little things started long beforehand that fuel the growth. The spring and early summer of 2020 were very slow for me, and lockdowns just so happened to coincide with the business course that I had signed up for. I had taken the time while client work was scarce to work on my business, focus my work and my marketing, and start the How Fitting podcast. None of these things had an initial impact, but now more than a year later, I can say that they significantly contributed to the growth of my business. So, if your goal for 2022 is to grow your fashion business in a big way, start now with the small steps that will get you to where you want to be in the long run, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. It may just take time.

The second thing I learned through this business growth is that the more you grow, the more focused you need to be on what things really matter to you. When I got super busy with client projects, I had to decide which other things to stop doing for that season or all together. There simply isn’t enough time for one person to do it all. I had to get super focused on what projects were a priority, which clients to take on, and even what goals I was working towards.

I track the metrics here, but they are not necessarily the goals or metrics I find most meaningful for my life and business. Numbers tend to be the easiest to track and I am a nerd at heart, but don’t let the numbers define your success if that is not what truly would make you feel fulfilled and successful. Intangible things are just as often as not, the things that really matter. The more your business grows, the more you need to be clear on what those priorities are and what they mean for your business. You won’t know what path to take if you don’t know where you are going.

2021 kept me very busy (too busy at times), but with the growing pains came exciting growth. Happy New Year and I look forward to growing our fashion business together in 2022!

– Alison Hoenes

This is a 2-part post. See the first part about client work in review here.

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