I know I started out feeling extremely under-qualified. With no current connections in the industry and no fashion education, where was I to start?
At that time I failed to recognize the strengths I had inherited from my family. Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, who can never be happy in an ordinary job. They are always starting something. Since they are both in the non-profit world, I didn't make the connection at first between their careers and what I was trying to do.
But there are very close connections in what was needed: extreme persistence, a mysteriously unshakable confidence in their eventual success, problem-solving skills, and an inabililty to stop thinking of new ideas!
I also didn't put two and two together, at first, about the previous generation. My paternal grandfather was a knitter in New York City, who owned a factory and designed his own sweater line. My maternal grandmother was a dressmaker out of her home. Why was I so surprised to discover, at age 30, that I had a passion for design and a need to sew my designs into existence??
And then there's my situation in life. At first glance, being a middle-class stay-at-home mom doesn't seem ideal for starting a new career in fashion design. But there were some hidden strengths there as well. I found I had married (surprise, surprise!) an entrepreneurial husband, who enjoys taking risks and thrives on new business ideas. And I found myself in the position of not needing a salary to support myself right away. That has given me the time to get started, without the financial pressure of mounting debt.
These may not be the characteristics you would list if asked to describe a well-qualified designer-entrepreneur. But I think there's one universal qualification we can all agree on -- slight to moderate insanity. :)