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7 Must-Read Creativity Books for Any Fashion Entrepreneur

Enjoying a book on creativity

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and start your own fashion business, but don’t know where to start.

I know from first-hand experience how that feels. The world of entrepreneurship is overwhelming at first, with many unknowns. Luckily, there are plenty of books out there that can provide some much-needed guidance.

Here are seven must-read creativity books for any aspiring fashion entrepreneur who is on the journey of starting an apparel brand. Let these books shape your mindset, fire up your creativity, and help you take on the challenge ahead with confidence.

The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett

Ever feel like "creative genius" is too far off base for you to reach? I can tell you with certainty that's not the case, and "The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea at the Right Time" by Allen Gannett proves this truth! In his book, Gannett explores the concept of creativity and how people can develop and nurture their creativity to supercharge successful ideas. Most of the book's content comes from Gannett's first-hand research and interviews with some of the most creative people in top creative fields.

By offering a fresh perspective on creativity, Gannett debunks the myth of the "aha" moment and shows that creativity is a skill that can be learned and developed over time. One of my favorite key takeaways is his explanation of how the best creative ideas combine the familiar with novelty. In the book, Gannett provides strategies for balancing the two to develop original marketable ideas. He also shares practical tips for cultivating creativity, like setting up a dedicated time to work on creative projects, exposing yourself to new experiences and ideas, and seeking feedback from other creatives in your field.

Entrepreneurs must constantly innovate ideas and solutions to stay ahead of the competition. This book offers insights and ideas you can immediately implement to take your business to the next level. "The Creative Curve" is a valuable resource for anyone looking to start a new venture or grow an existing one with an edge above the rest!

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

As an entrepreneur, big ideas often come with even bigger challenges, the most common being fear. Whether it's the fear of failure, rejection, or not being good enough, too much worry holds us back from pursuing our creative dreams. In her book "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear," Elizabeth Gilbert offers a refreshing and inspiring perspective on overcoming and maybe even leaning into these scary moments to live a more creatively fulfilling life.

In "Big Magic," Elizabeth focuses on the creative process to help you understand how to conjure more of your creative magic. Drawing on her own experiences as a writer and artist and interviews with other successful creatives, Gilbert offers insights and advice on everything from coming up with new ideas to dealing with the inevitable setbacks and challenges that come with any creative pursuit.

One of the most memorable anecdotes of the book is how a brief kiss transferred a fantastic unique story from one writer to the next. The kiss moved the concept because Elizabeth wasn't ready to nurture the idea and give it room to grow. I love her explanation about how an idea planted starts its process of becoming; you need to bring it to life or risk losing it altogether. Ideas don't want to be put on a shelf to save for when you're ready. Expect an idea to travel through space and time to find the individual most likely to bring it to fruition–it’s how they work!

I love Gilbert's approach to creative endeavors. “Big Magic” leans into the process with discipline and dedication while embracing the idea that creativity is a lifelong journey rather than a destination to be reached.

Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley

"Creative Confidence" is co-authored by Tom Kelley and David Kelley, co-founders of the design and innovation consulting firm IDEO. Tom and David Kelley are brothers known for their human-centered approach and contributions toward design + innovation.

This book highlights creative thinking in innovation and challenges the belief that creativity is a trait that only some people possess, (Sounds familiar. Are you seeing a theme here yet??) The authors provide practical tools and techniques to help individuals tap into their creative potential and overcome common barriers that hinder creative thinking. The authors argue that by embracing creative confidence, individuals can cultivate a mindset that enables them to tackle complex problems and develop innovative solutions.

“Creative Confidence” is especially relevant from an entrepreneur's perspective. Taking calculated risks and embracing failure are essential steps on the journey to success. The authors encourage entrepreneurs to create an inclusive environment that fosters creativity and empowers employees to take risks and experiment. It’s a great read to give you instant access to unleashing your creativity.

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

"Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration" by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace is a book that offers insights into the creative process at Pixar Animation Studios and how entrepreneurs can cultivate an environment that fosters creativity and innovation.

The book emphasizes creating a culture that values collaboration and experimentation. Catmull shares how Pixar's culture of openness and honesty has helped the company continually push the boundaries of what's possible in animation and encourages entrepreneurs to create a similar environment in their organizations.

Another critical theme in the book is embracing failure as part of the creative process. Catmull argues that the fear of failure can stifle creativity and innovation and encourages entrepreneurs to create a culture that encourages risk-taking and experimentation. By creating an environment where it's safe to fail, entrepreneurs can encourage their team members to take risks and try new things without fear of reprisal.

The book also highlights the importance of fostering a sense of purpose and meaning in entrepreneurs and their teams' work. Catmull shares how Pixar's mission to create films that inspire and entertain has helped the company attract and retain top talent and encourages entrepreneurs to develop a clear sense of purpose and meaning in their work.

Overall, "Creativity, Inc." is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs seeking to foster a culture of creativity and innovation within their organizations. By emphasizing the importance of collaboration, experimentation, and a sense of purpose, the book offers practical advice for entrepreneurs who want to create products and services that make a real difference in our world.

It’s Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden

"It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be" by Paul Arden is a concise, no-nonsense field guide to success in any field. The book offers practical advice and insightful tips for those who want to achieve their goals and reach their full potential, mainly through creative two-page essay spreads.

Arden argues that most success is not just about talent or skill but attitude and mindset. He encourages the reader to have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and to be willing to take risks and push themselves out of their comfort zones to pursue their goals. One of the key takeaways is the importance of being proactive and taking responsibility for your success. Paul suggests that success is not handed to us but is something we must actively pursue and work hard to achieve.

The book also emphasizes the importance of being different and standing out. Arden suggests that entrepreneurs who want to succeed must take risks and challenge the status quo to create something truly unique and innovative.

"It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be" is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs seeking to achieve success and positively impact the world. The book can help entrepreneurs overcome self-doubt and tap into their full potential by emphasizing the importance of attitude and mindset and providing practical advice for achieving one's goals.

6. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Earlier this year, I read this Adam Grant book for the first time, and I loved it so much that I immediately picked up another book by him. "Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World" by Adam Grant holds many powerful passages and inspirational stories. The book explores the power of non-conformity while offering practical advice for anyone seeking to disrupt established industries and create innovative solutions to real-world problems.

The book suggests that originality is not a rare gift possessed by a select few. Instead, originality is a set of skills that can be developed and honed over time by just about anyone. Grant's take on success in originality hinges on the idea that entrepreneurs and other changemakers embrace uncertainty and be willing to take calculated risks to pursue their ideas with full effect.

Grant also highlights the importance of challenging the status quo and questioning assumptions to create progress and innovation. The book maintains that diversity is vital to innovative creation and encourages entrepreneurs to create inclusive environments where everyone feels valued and heard.

Another critical theme is the value of persistence and perseverance. Of course, setbacks and failures are inevitable on the path to success. Still, successful entrepreneurs can pick themselves up and keep moving forward in adversity.

Overall, "Originals" is an inspiring and practical guide for entrepreneurs who want to reach their full potential and create positive change in the world. By encouraging non-conformity, risk-taking, and perseverance, the book offers a roadmap for those seeking to disrupt

established industries and make a lasting impact.

Choose Wonder Over Worry by Amber Rae

Don't let perfectionism paralyze you! Everyone can relate to being unable to move, but don't let it stop you from reading this winner. "Choose Wonder Over Worry: Move Beyond Fear and Doubt to Unlock Your Full Potential" by Amber Rae is a guidebook for entrepreneurs interested in unlocking their creativity and overcoming self-doubt to become their best selves. The book presents everyday exercises for cultivating wonder, curiosity, and courage in a fresh format.

One key theme in the book is reframing negative thoughts and emotions to reimagine new stories. Rae argues that worry and fear are natural responses to uncertainty. Still, fear can be overcome by adopting a more curious and open-minded approach. She encourages entrepreneurs to embrace the unknown and see challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.

Amber also emphasizes the value of experimentation and play in the creative process. The author suggests that entrepreneurs who want to tap into their full potential must be willing to take risks and try new things, even if they don't always succeed. Failures can be more meaningful because missing a goal can show us what we truly care about.

Another critical theme in the book is the value of community and collaboration. Entrepreneurs who want to succeed must be willing to seek out mentors and peers who can offer support and guidance–100% truth! Amber Rae provides tips for building strong relationships and fostering a sense of belonging. In addition, she encourages entrepreneurs to see their work as part of a larger mission to positively impact the world.

By emphasizing the importance of curiosity, experimentation, and community while providing practical tools for cultivating these qualities, the book can help entrepreneurs tap into their creativity and create meaningful, impactful work.

So, whether you're just starting out or already running an apparel brand, these seven creativity books are essential reading for anyone wanting to succeed in fashion entrepreneurship! They'll help you stay motivated during tough times, spark new ideas, cultivate creativity, understand the importance of risk-taking, recognize the power of nonconformity, build confidence, overcome fear, and ultimately come out on top! So what are you waiting for? Get reading!

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