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  • Writer's pictureTeam DesignerShala

Start-up VS Corporate - First Choice to Work

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

If you’re starting out your career in fashion, this question perhaps might be the most daunting one for you. But, it isn’t as difficult as you think! Working for a fashion start-up company or a corporate fashion house? There are plenty of stereotypes of these working cultures, but for the most part, they have their own benefits. The start-up culture is young, fun, innovative, collaborative but also equally taxing and it’s normal to put in long hours. On the other hand, corporates are more organized, hierarchical, formal but the growth curve might be slower. So, how do you pick between the two? Well, we’re here to help you out. In this article, we will take a deep dive into explaining the pros and cons of both work cultures so you can get the clarity to decide which one is meant for you. Start-up Culture vs Corporate Culture

Although each company is different with respect to policies and work, here are some of the key features of fashion start-ups and corporate fashion houses.

Start-ups -

The culture is usually fast-paced and dynamic and is derived from communication and creativity amongst the employees. A start-up generally employs a smaller number of people as compared to large organizations, so the team experiences a smooth exchange of ideas and concepts. The set-up of a start-up is usually informal, young and there are generally no dress-code policies.

Corporates -

As compared to start-ups, corporate culture is generally more organized, formal and policy-driven. The employees in a corporate set-up come from years of experience and they usually deploy strict guidelines and procedures on how things work in the organization. At times, the inflexibility of the procedures may result in dulling the creative process. A corporate fashion organization also employs thousands of people at a time, so it is natural for employees to not know colleagues working outside their teams.

PROS OF THE CORPORATE CULTURE Work-Life Balance With limited staff and resources, putting in longer hours at fashion start-ups is a very normal thing to do. But in a corporate role, you will strictly work 40 hours a week/9-5 every day. The work and life boundaries are naturally blurred working for a start-up because most employees take their work home, or jump in on calls during the weekends as well.

Source: Paycheck over passion If you are the only breadwinner of the family or if you value the stability of your job, working for a larger corporation might do it for you. Corporations offer competitive salary packages along with benefits. They also offer stability and room for growth in terms of annual bonuses and appraisals. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for start-ups. We have all heard stories about start-ups climbing the ladder of success within the first year of their launch, but we must also face the fact that 3 out of 4 start-ups fail within the first year as well. You might definitely be a part of building a company from scratch, but those initial few years require a ton of grunt work with menial funding. Most founders work with a very tight budget or struggle to find investors. They might offer equity to the employees, but that would only benefit you if the company starts making a profit. Basically, if financial stability is your priority, a corporate fashion career might be better for you.


Young, dynamic and fast-paced environment Start-ups offer great potential for growth. The role that you were primarily hired for will look different a few months down the line. The responsibilities are blurred because you will be asked to perform a lot of tasks that will seem outside your scope of work. In a start-up environment, it is normal for an employee to wear multiple hats at a time but it can also get stressful at times. In larger corporations, the roles are well-defined and the employees need to adhere to strict protocols in place. If you value creativity over everything, a start-up environment might be perfect for you. They often give importance to innovative designs and never-seen-before solutions.

Source: You’re not afraid of responsibility If you are comfortable in challenging and high-pressure environments, we suggest going for the start-up route. Owing to the smaller team size, you will have to adapt to more things on your plate and handle the jobs with flexibility. But working at a start-up promises immense growth. It is not uncommon for someone to walk in with a junior-level experience and climb to a senior position within months or a year. It all depends upon how well you can function in the dynamic environment and rely on your creative instincts to guide you. Although working for a corporation will have you strictly performing the job that you were hired to do, it also doesn’t promise faster promotions.

You value growth above everything else In a start-up environment, the budgets might be tight and because of this, one employee wears multiple hats and performs tasks that are beyond the scope of work. Although the compensation at a start-up isn’t competitive, there is plenty of room for growth and developing your skills. Working at a start-up will help you cope in a dynamic environment which will give your CV a big boost in the long run. The job responsibilities and the learnings will teach you so many different things that will only enhance your career growth. If you’re passionate about growth and learning, a start-up might be the right choice for you. What path should you take?

If you’re starting out your career and figuring out which path is right for you, we hope this article is helping you see things better. Although we have mentioned that start-ups and big corporations are variably different from each other, there might be a few overlapping points that might work out in your favour.

The work culture of a corporation might resemble a start-up depending on the founders’ values, or a start-up might be following strict procedures because they’d like to set up protocols in place for all employees. Allow yourself to explore various dimensions of each of these work cultures before you make a decision. Speak to former employees regarding the environment, read up reviews on professional websites, or simply rendezvous with your mentors if you’re struggling to make a decision. Every company was once a start-up

While you contemplate, remember that every big company was once a start-up that improved itself through performance and successful leadership. We hope you challenge yourself for the sake of your professional growth and make the decision that you will be proud of, for years to come!

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