Fashion design can be a hard industry to make your mark in. Many strive to become the next Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, or Coco Chanel. Ann Dishinger has worked with hundreds of talented individuals across the industry as a freelance fashion designer. From when she was young, she loved styling her own clothes and others. Ann Dishinger began sewing at age six and quickly progressed to make her own clothes by junior high, and started on costume design in high school. By the time Ann reached university, she had grown passionate about fashion and the ability to express herself through her clothes. It’s something that Ann continues to love today as she does freelance fashion design, works as a personal stylist, and helps others wanting to work their way into the industry.
As a fashion designer, one of the most critical steps Ann Dishinger took was attending a university and getting a BFA in Fashion Design. It is hard work, and many universities only have small programs, making it extra competitive. However, having this background gave Ann a jump start on her career. She could not have created her career today without the mentors she met in college and the network she built. That’s why Ann Dishinger strives to help others get into the industry, whether it’s fashion design, styling, or working on the business side of things; each job is competitive, and having a great mentor can make all the difference.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I started working freelance and never looked back. I have been able to develop my own name as my brand, and it has been a great ride.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Each day differs depending on my clients and if I am designing or styling. Typically I like to get all of my client’s calls done in the morning, so I can eat lunch and refresh before my creative processes. It doesn’t always work out this way, but I find myself most creative in the afternoon.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Sketching. I think of many ideas in my head and gain a lot of inspiration from others and the atmosphere around me. I will typically jot notes down and maybe a little sketch and then use my computer to really bring my idea to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think it’s nice that we are turning to a more casual look. I love getting dressed up everyone once in a while, but I like the athleisure looks taking place for day-to-day wear right now.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Scheduling my day and weeks in a paper planner. Call my old school, but something about writing things down and crossing them off a to-do list is great.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Just go for it. Don’t care so much about what others think of you and do what you want to do.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Pepsi is better than Coke
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Find a routine and stick to it. It can create some much productivity in your day.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Networking with others and building relationships has been the best key to my success in growing my business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There are many times you fail as an entrepreneur, I can’t recall one because there have been so many. But know that it’s all part of the process.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently redid my home office, and I loved getting new light fixtures; that was definitely worth the money for me.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Gmail has been the best way for me to communicate with others for years. I also use a lot of Facetime and video call services.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
This is a memoir I recently read and loved; I just think it’s a great read if you love fashion. Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman.
What is your favorite quote?
‘Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” – Bill Cunningham
- Find something you love to do.
- Failure is not a setback but an opportunity to learn.
- Create a routine and stick to it.
- Don’t listen to others, and be yourself.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.