Lemons into Lemonade: Britta Cabanos

Updated: May 17

This week, I'm excited to share my interview with Britta Cabanos. She is the Chief Design Director and Co-Founder of CCD - Creative Capital Design. CCD is a design studio that assists brands with everything from strategy to design to development to production management.


Additionally, Britta is also the Co-Founder, Director, and Editor in Chief for Inside Fashion Design, a global resource for all things fashion design. 


Whew! That's a mouthful. 


In other words, Britta is an all-around powerhouse! She's developed a platform that's valuable for "creative thinkers, makers, and brands." She created Inside Fashion Design to help fashion designers and creatives better understand the fashion industry's behind-the-scenes. 


Here's a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of Inside Fashion Design, and the lovely Britta Cabanos!


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Britta Cabanos, Our Lemons into Lemonade Feature


Were you always interested in starting your own venture? What inspired you to start your own business?  


Britta has always wanted to start her own business. In fact, her entrepreneurial spirit started at a young age. 


"My first venture was building a "Snack Shack" in my backyard. This was a little wooden hut my dad helped me build, and I used my money from my paper route to buy candy and snacks to sell from this "shack." I put signs up all over the neighborhood!"


Since then, Britta has incorporated her entrepreneurial spirit into every job she's had. 


What was the beginning like? Did you have a hard time getting started, or did the pieces fall into place? 


As it turns out, Britta has started multiple businesses, including her own swimwear line! So, Creative Capital Design was not her first rodeo. 


"I have started a few businesses, one of them being my own swimwear line. I started this in 2000 and operated that until 2003. The main reason I stopped was because I got the opportunity to move to Portland for a design position as the Nike Swim designer. So I had some experience under my belt of starting a biz before launching CCD. Creative Capital Design was started with my business partner, so we founded this together in 2012."


Although Britta had much experience in the fashion world, it wasn't until she met a complementary business partner, that she decided to create CCD. Britta had nothing but beautiful things to say about her business partner. 


"She is an amazing mix of left brain with the right brain, business savvy, and highly experienced in managing design teams. My experiences in managing the design process made for the perfect blend of our skill sets."


Together, they are a dream team!


Britta, you work on similar projects to Kristen, but you work with a lot of big-name brands! Was it scary when you first went out on your own? How did you get started? 


Britta shared how valuable her past corporate experience had been.


"Between my partner and I, we had both worked in corporate jobs, so we had the experiences already of working on big brands. This gave us confidence and knowledge so that we could work more closely with smaller clients, as well as bigger firms, to provide our services to them. One thing we did when we launched our company was to reach out to our network, share with them our launch and what we were doing, and from there, we started getting referrals and a lot of word-of-mouth inquiries."

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The Creative Capital Design team!


What is the biggest failure you've experienced in your business? What did you learn from it?  


Britta's biggest failure is a devastating loss she experienced while building out her swimwear line. 


"When I had my swimwear line, I was learning on the fly…which I believe can be great in some ways but also difficult. I was not experienced enough to manage orders and payments - I had 2 cases where I got a fairly large order, and I put money upfront for fabric & production to fill these orders. One of the buyers received the shipment and then completely disappeared without a trace - so they got their order for free - they stole it basically. I never recouped the costs for that order and never heard from them again. I drove to their shop one day, and it was completely shut down- so my suits from that order probably ended up at some discount shop somewhere."


As if that wasn't challenging enough, Britta experienced something similar later on.


"The 2nd experience was similar, where I shipped an entire order, the terms were for them to pay in 30 days, but then they decided to cancel it due to lack of sales in their shop…Again, I paid for all the materials and production and received no payment to cover those costs…. It was a HUGE learning lesson for sure!!"


A HUGE learning lesson and a sign that if you don't learn a lesson the first time...the universe will keep trying to teach you! 


What's the best advice you've ever been given life or business?