Diary of a Fashion Designer: EMERGE Startup Milwaukee


Hello world long time no see. I’m excited to be back on my blog, sharing my journey with you once again. As I’m aqcuiring more and more copywriting and SEO clients, thanks to Copify, Blogmutt, and Zerys, I haven’t had as much time to keep my beloved blog fresh. Well, I’ve made a pivotal decision about my career. I feel like I’m running in circles. I’m working full-time, writing part time, and working on my business all the time. On top of that I have my family responsibilities. I basically have come to a point where I will either give up on my business and get a regular 9-5, or go 100% into the final push to the next level.  I actually got physically ill thinking about giving up, even a little depressed.

I had to think about my children, one in college, one in 3rd grade, and my little baby girl. I had to calculate responsibilities, weigh options, assess my situation and really think about the mistakes I’ve made that put me in a position where my business has not taken off. After about a month of contemplation and illness I decided that I’m never giving up. I refuse. TSX Design House is a valid venture. It’s solid, and meets all the criteria to become an established luxury brand. I’ve already laid the groundwork, and put over 10 years into the development. Through changing trends, and my own evolving aesthetic; I am still standing and relevant.

After some disappointing shows and collaborations with other organizations I’ve been off the local scene for awhile. Concentrating on my 2018 collection and raising the funds for a big show at MAM next year. But I have to get out here and show my face. Because I’m on a tight budget I searched on Eventbrite for small business events that were free. I came across an organization called EMERGE Startup Milwaukee.

I registered over the summer for a few events but I didn’t make it. I received an invitation for one they were hosting that was featuring fashion start-ups and I was thrilled. It would be a chance for me to network and hear a pitch from people within my industry, in my city. The speakers were representing 3 different perspectives, markets and positions in the fashion world.


The networking portion went somewhat smooth. I’ve always thought of myself as a social butterfly, but I was very nervous. Everyone seemed so professional and accomplished, I was in my element and excited. I talked to a few other entrepreneurs, learned about their businesses; but more importantly I wanted to now about their journey. What was their background, what were their fears when they took the jump into full time self employment?


The first pitch was Mark Kohlenberg, founder of Moral Code Luxury Men’s footwear and accessories. Moral code is a co-brand of WDM Footwear. 7 things stood out about Mark’s pitch were:

  1. The phrase “Look Big”. No matter how small your company really is, LOOK BIG.
  2. His tagline “Luxury starting at $195”, this pushes affordability.
  3. There are 3 legs to his business: 1. private labels 2. licensing by “Robert Talbot” 3. direct to consumer brand
  4. His company owns the manufacturing, which is a big deal for me. I strive to own my manufacturing as well.
  5. He went from building brands, to selling to retail, to now becoming a direct to consumer brand.
  6. You have to have solid samples
  7. Customers want to touch the product

His success was a process over many years.

The second pitch was Melissa Thornton founder of Milwaukee Home. I’m very familiar with her brand because my kids love her t-shirts. I liked her pitch because I could relate. She started out on zazzle  and my first store was on zazzle as well. To hear someone’s transition from that one store to now a brick and mortar was a story I needed to hear right now. 5 other things stood out to me:

  1. Her brand was built by the community
  2. She used her 401k to jump it off
  3. She’s a one woman show
  4. She filled a need for fashion that demonstrated pride in the city
  5. She figured out you have to be involved, up front and out in the community, show your face, and support other locals

Her story resonated with me because she was juggling being an entrepreneur and a mom like a pro, but she said it was a process she had to learn.

The third and final pitch was from Taylor Bohman of JaxxTaylor a men’s and women’s brand that ‘s not even a year old. This pitch was the most interesting. She talked about how new the company was, that she still lives at home because sh’e focusing on building the brand, she doesn’t hold inventory(which is something I’ve talked about in past blogs and my strategy), and she only does drop shipping right now. Once that was out the way she shocked everybody and switched gears. Instead of focusing on Jaxx Taylor, she pitched a completely new idea.

That was a brilliant strategic move and I give mad props to her for having the guts to do it. I won’t reveal what the pitch was, but I’m here to tell you it’s a smart idea. Other than that, there are 5 things that stood out to me about her pitch:

  1. She uses Shopify
  2. She is not a designer
  3. She wears all the hats
  4. She has 90% of sales from Instagram
  5. She pays social media influencers to tag her in posts and others about $50 per month to manage her social media


Whenever I attend industry events I always feel re-energized. I’m in my element. After talking to other women, who were once in my shoes and took the jump to full time entrepreneurship. After hearing the stories of the paths that my fellow fashion companies walked, I’m scared but I’m ready. At the end of the school year, I’m ging to quit my job.

Stay tuned, MUAH aaaaaaaaaaaand scene

TSX Design House “Transcend The Trends. Beyond New Style Where Fashion Is Art In 3d”

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Diary of a Fashion Designer: Marketing

Diary of a Fashion Designer: Marketing

Running a business in the fashion industry is no easy task. Smaller companies with limited staff and limited resources have to make strategic decisions about what can effectively be done in-house and what needs to be outsourced. It’s important to maintain control of product development, distribution, and the supply chain when possible. That leaves you to decide whether to delegate your marketing efforts to an agency or attempt to pursue all the promotions on your own. Based on your situation, there are Pros and Cons to in-house versus agency marketing for small fashion companies.

In House Marketing


  • Absolute control of content- you create and pick images, text, video, color scheme, theme, music, models, outlets, when it goes out, how it goes out, etc.
  • Real time social media management
  • You can plan and execute your strategy using a tool like Buffer– create, schedule and execute social media marketing campaigns
  • Cost effective- create a marketing team within your existing team that knows your brand identity and culture
  • Personal engagement with consumers- engage with the customers making them feel like they’re a part of the brand


  • Time consuming
  • Time is divided- can’t focus on what you do best
  • Can’t keep up the pace- customers have short attention spans, marketing efforts need to be updated or refreshed more frequently as methods and platforms change

Agency Marketing


  • Leave it to the experts- they already have proven processes that get results because that’s all they do
  • Monitored control- you supply the vision and get the final say
  • Leaves time for you to focus on product development, distribution, and the supply chain
  • They have access to tools you don’t have that will make the content better and process more efficient
  • Pays off in sales, customer engagement, and acquisition of new customers


  • Less control
  • Can get expensive
  • Engagement may not be as personal

Diary Of A Fashion Designer: Death of the Department Store


At first people thought it was only the discount chains like Wal-nab-1.jpgMart and K-mart that were closing down stores in record numbers. Companies that had dominated retail for decades were downsizing even though less than 2-3 years before they had done major expansions. Analysts scrambled to figure what was happening in the consumer atmosphere that was driving down profits for these types of retail giants.

Then BOOM ! A bomb was dropped when Macy’s announced they were closing 15% of their stores, and Nordstrom’s followed less than 18 months later. Now The Limited, Sears, JC Penney, American Apparel, and BCBG have announced shutdowns to either the whole chain, or a number of their stores. It was one thing for low budget chains to face a decrease in sales, but now there was a trickle up effect to the heavy hitters after some of them had recently made major changes to their marketing, merchandising, and inventory. The luxury market had finally been affected by the current state of the economy, and even more than that, it had been effected by a shift in consumer behavior.

79% of Americans do the majority of their shopping online versus 15% over 10 years ago. Whether they click a link on their laptop, tablet, or phone; more purchases are being made online than ever before. Consumers want the convenience of the ability to buy anything with a simple click and having it delivered straight to their doorstep. This is great news for the shopper but bad news for the traditional brick and mortar. The customer just goes to the mall or “store” much less than they use to. Shoppers are unemployed, underemployed, or just plain tired of shopping. Spending money has become part of a long thought process, where the consumer has to find more value in an item before they will make a purchase.

So what does that mean for the entrepreneur? Great news guys, it’s our time! As a luxury brand TSX Design House targets and caters to the customer that requires more value in the investment of their wardrobe and accessories. Where the old retail platform sees despair, the online retailer and small luxury brand see opportunity: seize the moment.

  • Polish the Website

If you haven’t launched a website, launch one. If you already have one polish it by                  reviewing the content and updating where it’s needed.

  • Update and Upgrade Inventory

Check the trend reports, and update/upgrade your inventory. Add some new product            to attract new customers and keep the old customers coming back.

  • Increase Marketing

Review your marketing strategy, plan, and budget. Increase your marketing efforts                by 100%.

  • ReBrand Yourself

Evaluate your gains and losses. Stay true to the integrity of your brand but if                              neccesary re-brand yourself.



Stay Tuned MUAH aaaaaand Scene……

TSX Design House………Transcend the Trends, Beyond New Style Where Fashion is Art in 3d

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Diary Of A Fashion Designer: #2017ProductionPlan #Work

Diary Of A Fashion Designer: #2017ProductionPlan #Work

When you say you want to have it all, what does that mean? Urban Couture Life has touched on the subject of having it all before but today I’ll address it from a much more personal perspective. As life happens, you have to re-evaluate what you really want, and revisit your action plan to make it happen.

Wanting it all in the past meant I wanted the career, the husband, the kids, the family, the money; everything. What I found, was that in 2017 I have to strategically assess my position. I’m that person that life has happened to that needs to re-evaluate. I have a daughter in college, a little one in 2nd grade, and a brand new one year old babygirl. I’m no superwoman, I’ve had many moments in the last year that I’ve definitely wanted to just give up and settle for a normal, traditional life. I could just be a soccer mom, teacher, and hum drum local seamstress. No more thinking of a masterplan to build a brand and launch a line; fashion weeks, hours of drawing, grinding online, burning the midnight oil; all while attempting to maintain my motherhood and some type of so-called love life. But that’s just not me.

2017 is the first year EVER that I’ve taken the time out to complete a full production plan for TSX Design House from week 2 through week 52.

I remember covering the production planning process in college, but I never took the time to create one. It was a challenge ladies and gentleman, and it took me a couple of weeks to complete it. It’s an extensive process! And this current plan doesn’t even include my household and family obligations. To actually see what I have to do from week to week to make things happen was an eye opener. Now that I have weekly goals, I’m constantly trying to figure out how to complete each task, and keeping a tally of when I don’t. It’s upsetting when I ‘ve had to push something to the next week and add it to the list of things that have to be completed. But, every week has been better and better, and it’s encouraging when I see what’s been done. The most valuable lesson I learned was that without proper planning, I m just aimlessly floating from project to project. Lying it all out puts the work I have to do in perspective, and in real time.


I’m doing 2 complete collections this year. A Spring/Summer 2018 and a Fall/Winter 2018. I have it broken down from concept to creation week to week. This method enabled me to take a broad look at what all has to be done, so I can work it into my 24/7. I’ve also gone back to the focus of my brand which is chakras, tantra, cultural authentication, longevity, and sustainability.


I’m playing no games or taking no prisoners this year. With another baby and my oldest in college I’m on an extremely strict budget. I’m trying to invest more into my company, marketing, bills, my home, and my family. I’m laser focused on my future. So no travel for me. I’m going to attend WWDMagic in August 2017 instead of February, and I’ll definitely be showing in September but I haven’t decided where.

Social Media

I am going to harness the power of my social media accounts and omni channel sharing tools. I’m working on a full scale marketing plan that will include Facebook and Twitter ads, Instagram/Snapchat/YouTube/Periscope videos, giveaways and possibly bringing in a third party marketer.

Online Stores

I now have 3 stores online: TSX Design House on Etsy   TSX Design House on Art Of Where and TSX Design House on Zazzle . I’ve devoted time each week to adding new products and added them to my marketing mix.


I also blocked out time to write. More time to blog, write for clients, and work on my book.

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

I will be on team no sleep in 2017. I can catch up during my limited downtime… I can sleep when I’m dead…………Stay Tuned MUAH aaaaaaaaaaaaaand scene

Transcend the Trends with TSX design House, Beyond New Style Where Fashion Is Art in 3d


Diary of a Fashion Designer: The Fashion Buying Calendar


IMG_2885The business of fashion is much more than designing clothes. 2017 is the first year is the first year I’ve consulted the fashion buying calendar when assembling my production plan for the year. I hadn’t realized the importance of aligning my design process with my buying process to ensure a smooth transition from concept to creation, then to the consumer’s closet. There’s a specific strategy to the process of showing your collection, selling your collection, shipping your collection, and the actual delivery of product.h

The Fashion Buying Calendar, Sell & Delivery Dates for small brands and large enterprises are currently the same. It allows 6-9 months between presentation and delivery to stores for things like manufacturing, inventory adjustments, and product adjustments. The internet has created an urgency for in season manufacturing as consumers want to buy what they see in real-time. From the runway to their doorstep. Some companies opt to allow the retailer to determine when they receive specific seasons. However, there is a traditional fashion buying calendar for season management, surplus assessment, and overall inventory control.

From the designers perspective the calendar and trend reports serve as a vantage point in the product development cycle; and during the concept phase of the creation of their collections. There are 6 seasons for womenswear, 3 for children’s, and 2 for men’s containing 3 important dates:

  1. Sell Date
  2. Delivery/Shipping Date
  3. Delivery Date


Spring 1

  1. August – October
  2. Late January – March
  3. 1/30, 2/28, 3/30

Spring 2

  1. October – January
  2. Late March – May
  3. 3/30, 4/30, 5/30

Fall 1 (transition)

  1. Late January – March
  2. Late middle of July – August
  3. 7/15, 8/30

Fall 2

  1. March – April
  2. Late September
  3. 9/30


  1. May – June
  2. 10/15, 10/30


  1. June – August
  2. late November – mid January
  3. 11/30, 12/30, 1/15


  1. Spring/Summer
  2. Back To School
  3. Holiday


  1. January – February is Fall buying season
  2. July – August is Spring/Summer buying season

Maintaining a well-organized season management system creates a better buying experience for your retailers, and consumers. It provides pre-season planning for collections, in season planning with open to buy information, controls availability of items, gives insight over original order quantities, controls delivery drops, manages the mark down process, and minimizes risk with transparent credit. All of the above contributes to the return on investment, profit, and success of the business.

Stay tuned, MUAH aaaaaaaand scene……………

Transcend the Trends with TSX Design House: Beyond New Style Where Fashion Is Art In 3d


Diary Of A Fashion Designer: Going Into The Future: The New Plan

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Urban Couture Life: 2016 Review, My World


WIN_20150219_123215 (6)I can’t say I’ve never been so happy for the year to end, but I’m not sad to put 2016 behind me. It’s been a year of many lessons, to be honest it’s been two years of too many lessons.

Lesson 1: Time Management

I have a brand new baby. Well she’s going on 1 now, and it’s definetly been a challenge trying to get anything done with a little one terrorizing me daily. If I’m sewing, she’s sewing, if I’m drawing, she’s drawing, if I’m cooking, she’s cooking and so on. That’s my little PrincessBabygirl. She just wants to play and cuddle with mommy all day and all night. Now I have 3 kids and with the new baby I’ve had to reevaluate my time management skills.  I’ve learned how to work in my off peak hours and make more of my work time. I plan out those precious hours to get the most work done and still spend plenty of time with the kids.

Lesson 2: Social Media Restrictions

I’ve had to restrict my soical media time. I was wasting too much time watching pointless videos, and trolling the platforms. I wasn’t even posting constructively for marketing puposes. I found I was too tired to get up and do anything, even think. So I would aimlessly surf the web. Now I’ve been actively restricting my internet use focusing on doing something productive.

Lesson 3: Take a Nap

Working full-time, managing a family, breastfeeding a baby, and managing a business calls for a catnap every now and then. I prefer to call it a power nap. These things literally suck the life out of me sometimes. So in order to be at my best, I have to plan and nap accordingly. Some days I may only get 3 or 4 hours of sleep but the show must go on, and it has to be all good.

Lesson 4: Love Does Not Conquer All

I’ve also come to the conclusion that I can’t pursue love and a career in fashion at the same time. I love love, but at this point I can’t be worried about it. Between these kids, work, and the business, I don’t have an extra minute to meet people. I have to focus. In 2015 and 2016 I gave it a try but it took too much out of me, it’s too hard to balance. My physical, mental and professional suffered. Right now, love is on the back burner.

Lesson 5: Get happy

The last thing I learned in 2016 is to truly be sucessful i need to get happy. I have to go into the new year respecting my position and just being happy in my own skin. I love what’s going on in my life and I’m ready to take it to the next level. I though I was ready before, but I think the time is now. Stay Tuned……………….MUAH aaaaaaaaaaad scene.

Transcend The Trends; Beyond New Style, Where Fashion Is Art In 3d