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The One thing you can do to further your textile design career this year

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Words by Erin, Digital Design Media Manager.

ONE THING?? You ask. There’s a million things on your list that need attention. But hear us out.

To get ahead as a textile designer this year, you need to do less. Yes, you read that right. Stop trying to do it all. And ask yourself this question by Gary Keller in The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results: “What’s the ONE THING I can do, such that by doing it everything else will seem easier or unnecessary?” Keller calls it the focusing question. Think both big picture (Where am I going?) and small picture (What’s the best thing I can do right now to help me reach my big picture goal)? As Keller explains in the book, productivity and reaching goals is not about doing EVERYTHING. It’s about doing the right thing.

We’ve come up with a place for you to start, whether you’re a student starting out, a mum returning to the industry or a working freelance designer. Read on and revolutionalise your career trajectory in 2020 (this writer is a massive fan of this book!)

Textile Design

You’re a student striving for your first job/big break.


Let’s just be clear. We’re not suggesting you copy another designer’s work(!) We want you to look at industry as a whole. What sort of stuff is coming out of studios worldwide? What are the most prominent freelance designers doing? Get a feel for what’s out there. Because this is the bar to strive for. We say this because it’s super easy to wind up in a vacuum, focusing only on your own work. And clients and recruiters are looking at everything and everyone’s work. And ultimately, your work will be compared to everyone elses. So spend your time practicing. Keep building your folio, design for imaginary clients. Learn everything you can learn. Because every day you spend building your skills will pay off in the long run. Might not seem that way now, but truly, the more you put into your passion for textile design, the more you’ll get from it. You just have to believe in yourself and keep going!

You’re a mum returning to the world of textile design.


This is your year and you’re (finally) diving back into doing what you love. But the industry has changed considerably since you left (yep, even if you’ve been gone but a year).  You’ll notice that, of course, trends have moved on, and you’re competing with more designers than you were before.  But the situation isn’t hopeless – far from it! You have the background and business nous to rise again. And even higher than before. We predict your biggest challenge is time. So here’s what you have to do: Find a few hours to work on your business every day, and protect it like nothing else. Whether it’s before the kids get up, or after they go to bed, or on weekends. Decide on the hours and don’t let anyone take them away from you. Lock the door to your studio if you have to!

You’re a freelance designer and you want to grow your business.


According to Keller, highly successful freelancers don’t stop when they hit the ceiling of their natural talents. In his words, “they don’t accept the limitations of their abilities as the final word on success.”  Instead of hitting that ceiling — say you’ve had no success with your promoted Instagram post. Instead of stopping using that avenue altogether in favour of another one, find out what it is you’re doing wrong. Push though it. Find answers and keep going. Successful people are willing to do whatever it takes to have that breakthrough.  They evaluate their options, pick the best one and keep going, he says. And they realize that, “a different result requires doing something different.”

“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.” Chinese Proverb via, The One Thing.


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