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Lessons in Second Chances From 'Project Runway All Stars'

Lessons in Second Chances From 'Project Runway All Stars'
Image credit: triblocal | ivyhill

The phrase "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" doesn't apply to the 13 designers in the new season of Project Runway: All Stars. The designers returned to the workroom recently to compete in challenges for the ultimate grand prize: fame, fortune, and their own fashion line.

But this show is also about redemption. Each designer was a fan favorite, and four were runners up from their respective seasons. So, what did the designers learn from their first stint on the show?

Related: What 'Project Runway' Can Teach You About Business

We caught up with season nine's Laura Kathleen Planck and season eight's Peach Carr to discuss the new season and find out what happens when you get a second shot at your dream. Both designers have turned their time on the runway into businesses, and shared some of the lessons learned in the pressure cooker of Project Runway.

1. Opportunity isn't always convenient. Carr got the call she'd been cast on 'All-Stars' just before her daughter graduated from high school. She attended the ceremony, threw several skirts she'd designed in a suitcase, and hopped a plane to New York. Planck had just gotten engaged when she got the call. While the separation is not ideal, her fiancé, also a business owner, was supportive.

2.Time management skills are crucial. Since the designers typically only have between four and ten hours to complete a challenge, mastering time management is key. Each season, designers fall into the trap of selecting a design that's too ambitious. Faced with these time constraints, designers learn what they can and can't accomplish, says Carr.

3. Despite everything, you have to "make it work." Without the luxury of time on their side, the designers often face challenges such as styling mishaps, sewing machine malfunctions and fabric shortages. Tim Gunn, the Project Runway mentor from the first ten seasons, coined the phrase "make it work." Successful designers and business owners learn to adapt, regardless of what challenges or setbacks they face.

Related:The 'Fashion Star' Guide to Connecting the Dots for Customers

4. Be mindful of your image. How you come across can impact whether people want to work with you, says Planck. In the premiere episode, Cosmopolitan editor and mentor Joanna Coles told season eight designer Ivy Higa that she was slightly terrified to meet her because of her reputation on the show. In a competitive market, people are watching how you act and will decide whether they want to work with you.

5. Networking is important. While it's easy to get immersed in the daily grind of running your business, it's important to get out and network. And don't view others in your industry only as the competition, building strong relationships is an important part of building a successful business. Planck said she was able to lower production costs on her line by a third after speaking with fellow designer Althea Harper during the show.

What have you learned from second chances? Let us know in the comments. 

Lindsay LaVine is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has worked for NBC and CNN.

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