Getting Let Go: Confessions of a designer by {Sew Heidi}

Confessions of a Designer: Getting Let Go is Never Easy

March 09, 2017

You know how your stomach drops every time you hear “we need to talk”?

That’s exactly what happened a few years ago when one of my biggest clients scheduled a meeting with my business partner and me.

I had a feeling the news wasn’t good, and I was right.

After compliments about our work over the last 3 years, the CEO was direct: “I’m sorry to let you know that we’re bringing design in house. We can’t afford your services and have to terminate your contract.”

No matter how much you’ve prepared for this moment, getting let go is never easy.

But the fashion industry is competitive and it happens all the time. Sales drop and projections are not good.

And you get let go because someone more skilled can do their job and yours combined.

That afternoon I do some calculations.

I panic when I realize how much this affects me.

This was our biggest client and my paycheck gets cut in half.

Later that night I have a total meltdown and deliver the dreaded news to my husband.

He’s sympathetic, but still lectures. “I always told you this could happen.”

He was right, but I had been in denial. I had gotten comfortable because everything with work was ok. Until it wasn’t.

And that hurt the most.

No matter how much you’re prepared, sometimes things like this are inevitable in the competitive fashion industry.

But sometimes you can be proactive and prevent them.

And becoming proficient in Illustrator is one of the best ways.

So after 20 years as a designer, you don’t wake up one day replaced by someone younger because they have the computer skills you lack.

Maybe you’re in one of these positions:

  • As a design director, you have a great eye but don’t know how to sketch digitally
  • You’re a technical designer and doing anything more than editing sketches in AI terrifies you
  • You’ve been in the industry forever and do everything by hand, but know you need to learn AI

And you know companies are downsizing and designers are expected to know everything, including how to use Illustrator proficiently.

But you’ve been putting it off and can’t find the time to catch up. Just like me, you’re comfortable where you are now and everything’s ok. Until it isn’t.

Now I’m not telling you this to make you panic.

I’m telling you because I wish someone told me (besides my husband, because let’s be honest – it’s easy to ignore advice from loved ones).

And I’m going to do you a solid here – I’m not going to just tell you, I’m going to show you what you can do to:

  • get more confidence and respect from your boss
  • become a more valuable part of the team
  • feel more secure in your position as a designer

And to be one step closer to Illustrator proficiency. It’s been my Illustrator skills that have allowed me to get ahead in this industry, and I want the same for you.

Here are 3 ways you can get started right now:

  1. Watch the Getting Started in Illustrator series
  2. Take my free fashion flat sketching course
  3. Read the Ultimate Guide to Illustrator for Fashion

Have you been let go? Let me know below in the comments, what was the experience like for you?