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Turning business failures to great success- fashion venture founder, Jane Lu shares

Good Morning Great People!

Its a lovely Wednesday morning, today our focus is on ‘turning business failures to great success’.           If you would agreed with me,  when most entreprenuers start new business, the last thing they would  want to focus on is failure, but when it occurs many businesses crash and find it hard to grow again.

Jane Lu, Founder and CEO of a fashion venture with presence in 45 countries in the world , shared her experience about turning  start-ups failures into great success in an interview with

Business owners will learn alot from this.  Read her interview excerpt below and share your thoughts in the comment box…

At 29 Jane Lu heads her own $10 million fashion empire, has more than 500,000 Facebook friends, 780,000 Instagram followers and an online store that ships to 45 countries.

But she isn’t afraid to admit that her first fashion start-up was an “utter failure”. In fact, she credits that failure for the huge success of her second business Showpo.

Ms Lu, who emigrated from China with her family aged eight and later quit her corporate finance job to follow her fashion business dream, acknowledges that she has a fear of failure and rejection.

When the first pop-up store business, which she started as a partner with a friend, was failing Ms Lu was initially reluctant to accept it was over. Despite being left $50,000 in debt, she managed to bounce back but crucially took the time to reflect.

“Bouncing back is about being self-aware and not blaming external factors, she says. “You need to try to be impartial and look at things from an outsider’s perspective.”

Her next venture, Showpo, was the antithesis of the first business — low-end instead of high-end fashion, low labour intensive and relying on social media rather than traditional marketing methods.

“Everything that I learned didn’t work, I changed,” Ms Lu says.

She has since been lauded in business publications for her savvy use of social media and enthuses about her love of her work and of entrepreneurship.

However, Ms Lu says handling criticism and rejection can still be challenging.

“If people tell me I am wrong, I tend to argue back,” she says. “My pride sometimes means I get lost in the argument. But I do recognise now that I have that tendency and I take time to reflect and self-evaluate and come back to it.”
sychologist and corporate behaviourist Dr Phil Owens, warns that it is vital in business to resist the urge to react defensively to criticism or negative feedback.

“When we feel like someone is attacking us, there is an adrenaline rush and we go into fight or flight mode,” he explains.

This can contribute to a ‘defensive mindset’ and an emotional reaction to criticism, often involving blame, denial, justification, attack and avoidance.

“We might blame someone else, deny there is a problem, attack the person giving us feedback or avoid the conversation,” he adds.

Owens says that people who do not take criticism well often have a mindset of negative expectations and a past orientation. Flip that mindset and it is much easier to view negative feedback as a gift.

“If someone has the cognitive skills of future orientation, positive expectation and an internal focus, they are much more likely to respond by asking how is this feedback going to help me in the future or is there something positive I can take from it?” he says.

“Many start-up businesses fail despite the passion of their founder and the quality of their original idea. Sometimes it is the very passion of the founder and the strength of their belief that makes them discount any negative feedback,” says Associate Professor Grace McCarthy, author of Coaching and Mentoring for Business and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Business at Wollongong University.

She agrees that rejection should be viewed as free feedback: “Thank the person who has provided the criticism, even if they have rejected your idea.”


Tips for making the most of rejection and criticism from Prof McCarthy:

● Rejection and criticism hurt. Put it on one side for a day or two to let the emotional hurt subside. Then you will be able to consider the merit of the criticism rationally.

● Summarise the comments neutrally, without defending your idea or attacking the criticism.

● Learn from the feedback. Ask yourself whether someone else might agree with the comments. Are the comments coming from someone with a different perspective or with different knowledge?

● Consider whether there is a way to address the criticism that will strengthen your idea. Ignoring the criticism does nothing to improve your business plan or your new product idea.

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