I’ve owed you guys this blog for quite sometime now! It’s been a busy month of calling buyers, running webpages (a big part of my day job) and helping to bring our 2014 Fashion Week event to you with a bang! We have so many more designers this year, and it’s also time to start putting out those press releases – not to mention we’re building our retail website… and I’m going to let it slip that we’re going to do some VERY exciting things within the 3D printing industry – just wait! It’s going to be so big, and it’s absolutely going to revolutionize the fashion industry – and we’re at the forefront! The implications for manufacturing are endless, and I just can’t wait to see what my lovelies come up with. Don’t know what that means? You will soon! So speaking of industry, manufacturing, and being at the forefront… on to the long-awaited part TWO of our Blog “From Concept to Market: What’s a Designer to do?”.
5. Build Relationships
There are probably as many different manufacturers as there are designers – it’s a wild world out there, and it might not be a great idea to do a fast google search on manufacturing – unless you’re into gambling your business on it. As in all things, quality can take time, and it’s best to go by word-of-mouth and to really investigate and interview the person/people who will be leaving their mark on your design. What you’re doing is building a relationship. And just as in “normal” relationships, things may not always work out, and great relationships take time, work, and communication.
… it isn’t always about you. Leslie, of Arrowhawk Industries, states “I want to work with people who have a long-term vision”. Leslie has been on both sides of the fence, so to speak, as both a designer and a manufacturer. She goes on to say, “Find the right fit! Go out, participate, meet people, go to shows, listen to word-of-mouth”. “…and don’t discount Battleaxes! You’ll see them at shows – good business women who are hard core but their check is good. They’ve been around, and they know what they want.”
Nothing can mess up a relationship like dishonesty – with yourself or your manufacturer. Sure, it goes hand-in-hand with being realistic but one thing that happens is that in their excitement designers can loose site of what is realistic for a manufacturer to actually do – Leslie likes to know up-front about what kind of costs are involved in making the article, and not to worry – there are always non-disclosure documents to sign. Leslie, and most other manufacturers aren’t interested in “stealing” your design or knowing exactly where you found that ultra-rare fabric – just simply that you can get more of it. In this process of building trust in your relationship with your chosen manufacturer, it’s good to see that person as a helpful guide in your process. They are there to help you, as your success directly equals their success. If your project just isn’t viable for one specific person to touch, price-wise or otherwise, then that honesty helps both you and them.
Good Questions to ask a prospective Manufacturer:
1. “Do you bid on garments?”
2. “Do you supply notions?”
3. “Will you help with sourcing?”
Leslie adds that she has her own sourcing contacts, but that the Textile Association of LA can send some names. and though everyone has to starts somewhere, to be careful in making sure that any online wholesalers are reputable – and if you do use them, close them out: know exactly how many of a certain kind of garment you’re going to make, and secure that fabric! Any money you’re able to save on material will give you more for the manufacturing of your garment… and another way to save money is to have your material cut out ahead of time (see part 1 of this article: make sure you’re properly specked for production!”
Relationships, as in all things are why we’re here and the best way to be successful in business, as well as in life in general. No one exists in a vacuum and not one of us is an island. We all need each other, and those connections are the spice and flavor in life – use them~!
Amanda out. <3