Category Archives: politics

Diary Of A Fashion Designer: You Are A #Brand


nab-1.jpgYou only have seven short seconds to make a first impression. No matter who you’re trying to be, the outside world only takes a quick glance at your profile picture before they decide,”who you are and what you represent.” The power is in your hands to take control of the image that’s conveyed to the rest of the world and establish the value of your identity.

Think of it like this, if a billionaire was on Facebook browsing profiles right now looking for new investments and he saw your picture, how much do you look like your brand is worth? If they walked up on you right now and judged the price of your company based on the way you look, what would be their offer? Are you looking like a million bucks, or do you look like you ball out at Wal-Mart? Now, calm down there’s nothing wrong with Wal-Mart, a person can look good no matter where their clothes come from. It’s not what you wear but how you wear it. What I mean is are your clothes clean? Are you neat? Is your hair cut, weave in place; ladies is your wig straight? Shoes not scruffy and ragged? Guys are you clean or neatly shaven? Teeth brushed? Smelling good?

Is your conversation together? Are you familiar with the latest trends, vocabulary, and news within your industry.  Your words don’t have to be a hard sell, but an easy seller’s pitch with a subliminal yet straight forward main idea. Every small business has to nurture itself like a fortune 500 company if you want to get corporation style cash. You have to look like the idea that you are trying to sell to your customers. If you’re attempting to enter a luxury market you must exude luxury style.

What it boils down to is this; you are judged by your looks. After gender, race, and age, the next stage of judgement is your apearance.Your appearance message has to be clear and concise, it has to make sense to the onlooker. If you have the appearance of cheap trash, don’t expect to attract high-end customers. You should always look like new money. Everybody has their bad days, but you have to treat your days like an ongoing marketing campaign. You are a brand. You’re the main asset of the company and you are the product. As we transition to an almost completely digital world of communication, you may never have a face to face interaction with a colleague or customer. You’ve only got one shot to sell your image to the consumer, and you want them to instantly think “CEO”. Give the impression you’re in the boardroom even if you’re still in the mail room.

Stay tuned, MUAH aaand scene…

TSX Design House “Beyond New Style, Where Fashion Is Art In 3d”

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Diary Of A Fashion Designer: Confidence & Endurance


06show      Stay cool. That’s what I have to keep telling myself, as I continue on this journey. I’ve been praying a lot lately, needing some guidance other than a few words of advice, or a hundred results from a Google search. Some days I feel like I’m so close to making it. The other days it seems as if I’m just going through the motions, spinning. A better way to describe the feeling is frantically scrambling through an endless tunnel with no end in sight. But I know that for truly successful people, ones that make an impact in their field, and in this world; the grinding never stops.

1. Believe In Yourself

If you don’t believe in yourself nobody else will. Confidence is what attracts buyers, consumers, partners, investors, and customers. Nobody buys products that are promoted  by a spokesperson that says “This product might work, I’m not sure it’s that great.” So you have to walk, talk, eat, breathe and represent your brand identity, at all times, like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Think back to what your original vision encompasses, identify and appreciate what has gotten you this far. Those same principles can carry you until the end.

2. Don’t Be Afraid Of Failure

Don’t be afraid of failure. Scientists perform experiments hundreds of times before they figure out what works. Those aren’t considered failures, it’s all trial and error. What you may consider a failure, may actually save you from moving forward with something that never would have worked in the first place.

3. Go Back To Square One

When something doesn’t work, you should always go back and refer to a point in the process that worked, and review the steps you took. Take those same steps again, you should get the same results.

4. Remember Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

The mighty republic of Rome was not built in a day. It took a lot of trial and error for them to become one of the most powerful empires in the world. Your empire can’t be built in one day either. My dream can’t be realized in one day, it’s too big, too major to be shortchanged because I’m trying to rush it. Every move has to be strategic, every step productive, and every risk calculated.

5. Work Hard, Play Hard 

Take a break to clear your mind. Find an outlet when you feel overwhelmed. I like naps, baking, chilling with my kids, spending time with my boyfriend, and going out once in awhile to break it down to the ground(that’s dancing). I work hard, so I try to play hard when I can. When I get back to work my mind is clear enough for me to receive and create the next project.

Doubt is not meant to throw you off your square. It’s suppose to help you re-affirm your belief. One can’t exist without the other. So you can’t get scared off when the road gets rough, you have to stay focused on what brought you to this point. Winners don’t move forward driving backwards, they just check that rearview mirror every now and then. Stay tuned, MUAH aaand scene.

TSX Design House

Beyond New Style, Where Fashion Is Art In 3D

Diary Of A Fashion Designer: Developing A Marketing Strategy;Something New


ZAZZLE2Now that I a sort of have the clothes under control, I have to seriously consider how I’m going to market this thing. If I tank on the promotion and advertising, I won’t make any money. There are about five different aspects to my marketing strategy, but we’ll address something that’s new to me, and may be new to you; variable data printing.

Marketing a business can be expensive and complicated. Especially if you do alot of advertising using a traditional mailing system. It’s difficult to decide what imagery to use and what message you want to include. However, variable data printing offers an all around solution by allowing you to customize information and imagery all in one print job, all you have to do is enter the data into the program. The system even prints individual customer names and addresses on each document. The key to marketing materials that work for you, is in the design. So here are five tips to help you design your promotional marketing materials.
1. Text
Consider choosing a universal font for your project. Make sure the size of the font is appropriate for the size of the mailer. It has to easy to read in order to be effective. Sometimes those fancy fonts distract from the overall message of the materials, and they may be difficult to read. Your document should catch the customer’s eye while they are flipping through their mail. If the print is all curvy, or too small, consumers may pass it right up or toss it in the junk mail pile.

2. Color
Aside from your logo design, limit the colors to four at the most. Stick to four colors that are common amongst all your marketing channels so it relates to your branding. You may want to divide the targeted group by age or gender and create two different documents that appeal to those markets. Too many colors distract the eye and take away from the message.
3. Imagery
Imagery should be relevant to your brand. You want to create something that relates to your customers, in a visual language they can understand. Use clear, high resolution; and clean, modern lines/shapes. The imagery speaks to your brand. Divide your targeted mailing list into two or three groups by interest, and create two or three versions of the imagery to input. As you review the list, consider grouping customers by previous purchases. Then you can add imagery of current versions of those products, or products that are related to those previous purchases.
4. Brand Message   The brand message and call to action has to be front and center. Any relevant information should be highlighted along with the contact information. You want to keep it cohesive across all marketing channels so repeat customers can instantly recognize. Stress to the customer what value you bring into their life.
5. Headline
Simplicity is a rule of thumb. Keep your headline simple and to the point. Anything too wordy gives the customer time to lose focus and toss your mailer to the side. People love free stuff, and they love to win things. So consider offering a promotional contest or giveaway to get their attention.
Assess your market by your targeted mailing list. If you want to create more customized designs for your materials, limit it to three or four designs. They should appeal to those customers, and offer a solution to fulfill a need. Overall, variable data printing is more simple than it sounds, cost effective, and more effective than traditional printing.

Diary Of A Fashion Designer: #Real #Fashion #Business


Anything's possible in America...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.

I’ll sell local, and reach out to surrounding areas like Chicago. I have about five stores in mind in my state. Next time around I’ll extend to Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, and Alaska.

            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.

          14. Pray.

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

TSX Design House…Beyond New Style, Where Fashion Is Art In 3D

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Diary Of A Fashion Designer: The Turning Point


ZAZZLE2   There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s career when everything changes. You either bang or bust. Whether it’s for the good or the bad, you just don’t know until it happens. It seems surreal, but that moment is instrumental in molding the future of your brand. You’ll know where it’s going, as well as how, when and why.

TSXDH is at that moment right now. The wheels are already in motion, but the next seven days will pick up the speed of things. I keep asking myself if I’m ready, and the answer is yes. Then I venture into a little self doubt and wonder if I’m worthy of success, and the answer is yes. Then I face the ultimate question, what if I fail, and the answer is I won’t. From the initial conception of my dream, failure was just not even an option. As I’ve been putting this together over the years failing was not part of the plan, my vision was just too clear.

This is the turning point, I’m at the crossroads; with full realization of everything I worked for so close I can taste it. I did everything I said I was going to do, and consider myself successful, so now what’s next? It’s funny though, I always thought I’d have to see my first million  before I felt complete. You always think you know what success is going to look like, but it’s not all black and white. It’s something you have to experience on the inside. It’s a feeling that transcends material things and other people’s opinions. With that said, here’s a breakdown of what success looks like to me…

1. Money

I want to turn a profit. The bottom line is I want people to buy my products.

2. To be recognized as a brand.

When people see my logo, I want them to recognize it. When you see my artwork, clothes, or any products I create; I want you to recognize my brand identity, respect it, and then participate in my brand culture and embrace it as a lifestyle.

3. I want it all.

I want my career, my family, and stability.

So this is my turning point, this is it. This is the time to make shit happen. Nothing is going to stand in my way. As I look back and reflect, the naysayers and haters have always been around. Never in plain sight, but camouflaging and disguising themselves as friends. As I choose this path and leave the past behind, I also very politely tell those people to eat my dust. I’ve turned the corner, right onto the catwalk, and from there I’m going to take it all the way to the bank…stay tuned MUAH, aaand scene.

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Spring sales and updates coming soon…

Diary of a Fashion Designer: Sustainable Sourcing and Design


pic2     The business side of fashion requires alot of responsibility. But if you want to play in the big leagues, and win, you have got to know the rules. If you try to undermine the regulations the star player under your brand umbrella can quickly get benched; and your team’s reputation ruined before you ever even see profit or success. As the global marketplace expands, so do opportunities and outreach. The potential to influence markets around the world is now just a simple click away.

Rule Number One: Know your product.

When I say “know your product” I mean in terms of materials and fabric. Requirements are so strict now on what you can import into the U.S. it’s your responsibility as a designer to know what your product is made of. Certify and verify the materials. If your designs contain hardware, sequins, zippers, studs, dyes or any other value added details; you have to have them tested for chemicals like carcinogens. Make suppliers provide proof your product’s been tested and properly labeled because if it hasn’t been, your head is on the chopping block.

Rule Number Two: Know your manufacture.

Don’t use a sweatshop point blank, period. You want fair wages and work conditions in the factories you use. No child labor, human trafficking, or inhumane conditions. It’s not only bad business, but bad Karma. What you put out into the universe, is definitely what you’ll get back.  Nobody wants to associate with a company that sources manufacturing to a factory that’s against women’s rights, or anything else that infringes on human rights. It’s ok to raise your price point a to balance the cost. Address this issue in the product development stage to appeal to a target market that won’t mind the trade off.

Rule Number Three: Know your distributor.

Don’t distribute directly to discount chains. Require clear and concise paperwork. You want control of where your product goes, how, and when. Just in case they don’t oblige, legal ramifications need to be felt. If your brand culture is high-end to luxury market, distribution to outlets is an early death, your brand will never fully recover and your customers will never pay the price you set forth.

Rule Number Four:  Protect yourself.

Copyright, trademark, and patents have to be in place before you make any major moves. The worst thing that can happen is you have a multi-million dollar idea, and somebody steals it from you, believe me, it happens all the time in fashion. Develop a backup plan, or backup brand, to follow suit if you do get knocked off. You copyright the art, patent the construction, a trademark the distinguishing characteristics of your product. Once you register it, counterfeits can’t come into the country. Mark your patterns, sketches, brainstorms and notes. Sign and date everything, make a photocopy and mail it to yourself; this is called a “poor man’s copy”. Until you can afford all your legal paperwork.

Rule Number Five: Go green.

If you can afford it, go green. Move to environmentally friendly materials and operations. Go paperless, use hemp cloth, whatever you can afford to do to make your company more sustainable. It shows your brand is socially conscious.

Rule Number Six: Support something besides yourself.

Support your community and the global community as a whole. Teach a class, support a class, volunteer, plant  a community garden, adopt a tree; share your knowledge and good karma with an outsider. It never fails, you’ll be surprised how much more successful you’ll be and how fast the good times will come when you reach out to others. This will also build a good reputation for your company, more brand awareness, and brand loyalty.

Rule Number Seven: Personally oversee your paperwork.

If you can afford it, get an attorney. But even if you do, you need to personally understand, sign and approve every piece of paperwork. Especially if there is a licensing agreement involved. Don’t be afraid to limit your partner’s role, and retain creative control. You want anything licensed under your umbrella to communicate a unified brand message. The visuals and promotion should all be in sync.

Remember, your brand is an asset, it’s as valuable as your body parts. It’s more than your money, it’s your life. Your dreams coming to life, so treat it as such. Develop a full strategy because if you’ve invested years like I have, you can’t stand the risk of someone coming in and snatching the rug from under your feet; you can’t stand to lose….stay tuned, MUAH aaand scene.

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Check out my portfolio @

TSX Design House…Beyond New Style, Where Fashion Is Art In 3d

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