I’m beyond the turning point, now it’s on to real fashion business. I’ve made my first manufacturing deal with production to begin within 60-90 days. Yes it’s exciting but now what? I’ve never come this far so the next steps are critical. Well, there are a few important things to consider before I even send the tech packs off to the manufacturer. I have to draw up contracts between myself and the manufacturer that include non-disclosure statements to protect the integrity of my brand; and its trade secrets. I have to complete a marketing plan because once the collection comes back, who will I sell to? What stores will carry TSXDH, and how many pieces should I put on somebody else’s sales floor versus my own online store? Most importantly, how will I price the collection to make a profit?
It’s tricky, as a designer your focus is primarily on the design process. You tend to have tunnel vision, and sometimes you’re not prepared to move to the next level. But me, I’m ready for full range motion, and I’ve figured out the first part of my strategy; that will take me from pre-to-post production.
1. Revamp the whole collection to cost it down.
The reality is this, I have a budget to follow. I have to re-design the whole collection to assure I can turn out a quality product at the price point I set. I can only launch once, so everything has to be perfect. If I’m charging designer prices and pitching to a specific market/customer, the collection has to represent that. Value added design details that are not within the construction will have to be done by hand, by me and that’s all there is to it.
2. Prepare a formal presentation of the collection.
Once I choose from ALL these designs and send them off, I have to re-sketch the whole collection with a mood board, and fabrication board. Digital or traditional doesn’t matter, but it has to be flawless.
3. Do some up to date demographic research to find my market.
I have to take about 40-60 hours out of one week and do some up date demographic research. Who’s buying what, and where; is what I need to know. Because I’m expanding into a global market with my Etsy store, this information is critical. I have to saturate the areas that are pertinent to my brand while I’m building a buzz.
4. Create and send out catalogs
This includes photo shoots, printing costs, shipping costs, and lots of follow-up.
5. Make a list of stores.
6. Contact the buyers from the stores I want to pitch to, and try to make an appointment.
I’ll have to visit each store in town, and try to get an appointment with their buyer.
7. Only take samples that are relevant to the market of the store you pitch to.
What’s cool about limited edition collections is I can split it up between two totally different areas without selling the same thing. Some things in the collection that may work on the Eastside, may not work in Brookfield or on the Northside.
8. Create a detailed purchase order which includes a disclosure statement.
My purchase order doubles as a contract. My worst nightmare is finally getting my product on somebody’s sales floor and they steal my design. The disclosure statement helps to prevent knock-off action from occurring.
9. Check product for loose threads, or any imperfections before you present it ot the buyers.
Every piece has to be fresh and crispy. No wrinkles, loose threads, uneven hems, puckers, loose beads, stains, weird smells, messed up linings or funky zippers. Clothes present themselves. If the product isn’t ready to go on the floor, I just can’t take it.
10. Be prepared for rejection and keep on moving.
I am very fashion forward, so there’s a possibility that the Midwest market might reject me. It just depends whether or not the store owner’s vision fits my aesthetic. But if it’s not a go locally I’ll try Chicago, or go hard online in my Etsy store.
11. Make sure I have a plan B, just in case…
In the world we live in shit changes on a daily, everything can be peaceful on Monday, then by Wednesday somebody may have tried to declare war. Anything can happen. So I have to make sure I have a contingency plan in place, just case something goes down. But in reality I’m ready, even if I have to do it all in house, this collection is coming out this year.
12. Do some fundraising.
I’ll probably apply for a business loan, have an art show and sell some of my work, freelance write like crazy, and go hard in my zazzle store. I need a fashion show in the fall, and a commercial too; as I said in my blog last week, I need money. But I’m no stranger to squeezing water out of a rock.
13. Increase my online presence.
I have to take 15 or more hours to update all my online profiles. More pictures, blogs, tweets, and on a daily basis. If I don’t step up my game I’ll be dead in the water. Engaging people and getting them interested, and invested in TSXDH will build brand loyalty.
No matter what, I have to just pray on it. Without God, I just wouldn’t have the endurance to keep going. This shit is happening to me for a reason, I’m serving a purpose. I don’t fully understand what it is yet, but I’ll never give up trying to figure it out.
See me on the catwalk, or on the cover of a magazine, either way my time is here, and I’m going with the flow of the cosmos…stay tuned, MUAH aaand scene
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