THE BLOG
01/19/2016 05:42 pm ET Updated Jan 19, 2017

4 Things Charleston Fashion Week Taught Me About Being an Entrepreneur

Charleston Fashion Week, held in historic Charleston, SC has quickly made a name for itself as one of the best fashion showcases in the US. Charleston Fashion Week 2016, scheduled for late March, will be the 9th year this event has transformed Marion Square in the heart of Charleston into a catwalk. 2016 is promising to be bigger and better.

One thing that makes Charleston Fashion Week stand out as a game changer in the fashion world is the Emerging Designer Competition: East. The new designer showcase allows new and emerging designers, both local and international, to get their name, brand, and more importantly, their work, in front of industry leaders, members of the media, and peers. Winners of the contest, including Anna Toth, have gone on to do some great things. The goal of the Emerging Designer Competition: East is to serve as a "pathway to New York."

Last year I had the opportunity to attend Charleston Fashion Week on the first night of the Emerging Designer Competition: East. I'm no fashionista, but I knew being is a room full of beauty and surrounded by the creative spirit was bound to rub off on me. What I wasn't expecting was to learn these four business truths.

1. No matter your dream, opportunity abounds.
It is easier than ever to start a business and attract clients from around the world. The internet make that a reality, but even though starting is easy, success and industry acceptance is still not so easy. Opportunities like Emerging Designer Competition: East and the Rock the Runway Model Competition™ are still important to establish credibility and move you from an internet start up to a respected member of your industry.

2) Success is contagious.
My favorite part of Charleston Fashion Week was reading the biography of every new and emerging designer in the program. Knowing the story behind each designer made watching their moment of achievement that much more inspiring. If you can avoid the trap of comparison and enjoy the success of others, your life will be full and you will be able to wear your success with pride.

3) Being surrounded by art is healthy and good for the soul.
I don't consider myself an artist or a creative, but something happens to my soul when I am surrounded by art. I have never aspired to be a fashion designer, but being in the presence of beautiful fabrics, new shapes, and interesting designs makes me a better writer and speaker. Honestly, art makes us better humans. The public is welcomed to attend Charleston Fashion Week, but if that isn't possible for you this year, take an afternoon and visit an art museum or attend the symphony.

4) Celebration is important.
During a fashion show, each model walks out onto the stage one at a time, struts to the end of the runway and walks back. At the end of the show, the models walk the runway one more time, but this time they walk in a long line, one after another. At the end of the line is the designer. Although usually much shorter, and less glamorous than the models, the designer draws the largest applause. The work of the designer is primarily behind the scenes, but her moment in the spotlight is important. The next time you finish a project, land a new client, or receive a big order, take a minute to stand in the spotlight and enjoy the glory of the win.

Even though a fashion show is not a traditional place to learn about entrepreneurial truths, I walked away from Charleston Fashion Week 2015 excited, inspired, and ready to create.