Mid August 2019
Happy to announce that we were able to cut a huge cost out of the material cost for the modular maxi dress by purchasing directly from the manufacturer! Delay in production of the sample size runs so those will be in shipment at the end of August. Everything else is on schedule. A lot of tweaking designs/sizing but I’m ready to get them!!!
6 Designs – 6 Sizes XS – 2XL = 36 garments arrived!!
Starting a new campaign of showing real women, all different ages, different backgrounds, different sizes… all evolverie women!
Fittings and photoshoots starting and planning staggered launches for all of the new garments over next 2 weeks.
End of July/Early August 2019
Production begins on our full sample run. We have 7 garments to start, including the 3 from the kickstarter campaign. My goal is to lower the cost of the modular maxi dress. Although it’s still cost effective at under $30 per piece (1 dress = 9 garments), I would like to be able to offer it to a wide range of budgets. Again, focus is on quality, ethical production, sustainability, versatility… this dress is what started the journey so it’s high up there on my list to find a way to make it work. More research. I’m confident we’ll get there. Spend this time on many late night 2 am calls while we continue to virtually shop for deadstock fabrics , measuring and fitting the garments. With a 12 hour difference, we are both committed to to making it work.
July Week 3 2019
We’re on our way! If you recall one of the goals was to make sustainable fashion more affordable. The production costs are the same as the states, however, the minimum to produce for the cost is much lower. Instead of over-producing 300 garments, I can start out with 30 and do a full size run in each garment. They handle the grading of sizes (translating a pattern from one size to multiple sizes) and turning my designs into actual patterns. The Philippines also has an abundance of deadstock fabric, which is fabric leftover from large brands that are destined for a landfill. This does mean smaller runs, smaller quantities of certain fabrics/patterns making some limited but that’s ok! I love the idea of being able to make a handful of garments and it being one of a kind!
July Week 2 2019
Been a few weeks since I’ve updated. I had a call with Hannah, the owner of TELAstory at the end of June. She was in the states visiting family, and I sent over all of my patterns, designs and ideas for evolverie for her to review and take back home with her to the Philippines and I’m happy to announce that they will be my production partner! They check off every single box, every single vision and then some. I’m very excited to share more with you as our relationship progresses. We have a virtual call scheduled after Hannah has had a chance to return back to the workshop and review all of the fabrics, patterns and outlines I’ve sent to her.
June Week 4 2019
With my new goals and direction, I set to search for someone that aligns with these main key points. I wish I could give a good post that the response was overwhelming but sadly, it’s not. I’m continuing to hit one hurdle after the next. I have all of my pre-production completed and just need a partner to move forward. US production is looking bleak. Too expensive for start-ups and small production runs. Plus, they all want a lot of money up-front just to look at everything I’ve paid thousands for already.
Looking for referrals from my design friends & fashion groups… posting and searching I finally come across one that is outside of the US but the owner is from the states so that’s a bonus. I reach out to them and wait for response.
June Week 3 2019
Fashion is the 2nd largest pollutant in the world. My mission has always been to help reduce the carbon footprint that fashion adds to the world. I’m just going to put this out there and hope it’s not crazy to say so here it goes. My family income ranks in the lower middle class. Why does this matter? I can’t relate to those with a higher 6-figure income when it comes to buying habits. I was so focused on this difference and that my friends, was my first a-ha moment! I was so focused on the what vs. the why.
Regardless if you’re living paycheck to paycheck or have money to spare, there is no discrimination when it comes to caring. Caring about others, your environment, your well-being… we’re all human and all a part of this world. I’m not trying to be preachy… but it’s 100% true.
I’m not 100% plastic free, I’m not 100% recyclable… I could go on and on. BUT… I’m trying. Small steps add up to big changes and I know there are so many other people that want to make changes! How could I do better to offer better choices for others? To really make impact, create a solution and not cause more problems with adding more clothing to the ever-growing heap of thrown out/unused clothing?
First, offer smaller production runs (no fast-fashion), avoid over producing creating excessive stock.
Second, care and quality while helping reduce waste
Third, create garments that help others in fulfilling a purpose
Fourth, create a business model that focus’s on affordable, sustainable, ethical options for clothing
Fifth, find a production partner. With the emphasis on partner vs. manufacturer. Partnering for a common goal.
June Week 2 2019
Time to re-evaluate production and offerings.
When I first began to search for a manufacturer, I had a few things that were important to me.
- Based in US
- Women owned
- Pay workers a living wage, good working conditions
- Bonus if they support a cause or help/train workers to succeed/have a career
After 2 years of rigorous searching, nothing fit all the above. I have plenty of fashion friends that have production right here in the US that they are quite happy with. For me, I just wasn’t having any luck! A few came close, however, I found the same thing time and time again (yes, I’m going to list again). *This applies to my unique business model.
-High Minimums 100-300 MOQ (minimum order quantity) per style
-High Up-Front Capitol $40K-$60K
-Long production times 6-8 weeks
-Inflated Per Piece Production cost/ The smaller the company the more overhead and risk they have = higher production cost for designer
-Full Package clients are priority. Meaning if I came to them with all of my pre-production already completed (patterns, grading (this is when you have patterns made for every size you offer), samples (these are physical samples you have made of the finished garment) completed before working with them) my prices were then inflated to “check” that all was up to their standard. Front end/Pre-Production is where they make their money.
-Those who claimed to want to help start-ups, ultimately, I found that it came down to one thing… money and that didn’t sit well with me. I understand they are a company and need to make money. But what I didn’t understand was why everything was so inflated to get started?
On average, to create just one garment is $1500-$2,000 from concept to reality. One garment. This includes patterns, digital patterns, size grading, tech packs, materials, samples. Add $250-$350 for each additional size sample. A lot of capitol up front and that doesn’t include any capitol to put towards the minimum units to actually then go into production.
$8K later… I was just plain tired of the race that I couldn’t win.
Our Kickstarter “failed”… Now what?
June Week 1 2019
This is a long, overdue update on what and where our journey is following our “failed” kickstarter project. Why do I use quotations you ask? Well, technically, we didn’t get fully funded so the campaign failed. But… did I ultimately fail? Boy I sure felt like it, for weeks in fact. Because I believe it’s important to share the highs and the lows, 25 supporters out of the thousands that were reached, contributed to the campaign either via a monetary amount or by pre-ordering our garments. Those 25 people will always hold a special place in my heart!
After a month of reflection and knowing I spent our entire savings on trying to get this concept off the ground, a few key points came to me.
# 1 Failure is not trying at all.
#2 My heart was in it but maybe not 100% for all the right reasons (more on that later)
#3 I certainly had a lot of buzz around the launch, at least I thought that I did? Why didn’t people show up? Was I trying to be something that I wasn’t?
#4 After my US based production company dropped me like a hot-potato after the kickstarter failed, I realized that I needed to partner with someone who was invested in me the same way I was invested with them. I thought they were (big wake up), I didn’t want to just be another dollar amount to a company.
I can’t explain how lonely and vulnerable launching a dream is, especially involving a kickstarter campaign. Who was there to talk to that had been through this? I read anything I could get my hands on regarding the subject, any podcast that covered this topic… those that went on to be successful following a failed kickstarter campaign all had the same thing in common. They didn’t let it stop them from moving forward. They pivoted and were better off for it.
May Week 1 2019
Returned back from our trip and our campaign is at a stand-still. It’s so disappointing, frustrating and so many other things and I’m trying to not listen to the statistics that we won’t be funded. Learning a lot about growth, resilience and humility during this campaign.
We’re in Disney part of the week! The trip was a gift and we are excited to get away for a bit. I packed the maxi dress and only 2 other pieces ~ putting outfits together for travel in a blog post following the trip.
First week on Kickstarter and we did not hit our goal but we aren’t giving up! I am continuing my marketing efforts, email my contacts, following up with media contacts and posting on social media. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the response we were hoping for from friends and family and the initial backing is low. We’ve had a lot of shares but haven’t hit the reach we had planned on but again, we aren’t giving up! We’ve put 2 years of every penny we have and endless hours working on this project so we’re pushing onward!
April Week 4 2019
We’re LIVE! You can view the NEW LINE HERE .
We encourage to share the news with friends and family and help us bring evolverie to your closet!
Wednesday: At 2am I received notification that my identity was confirmed & my project was approved! We’re onto launch for this evening as scheduled!! Below is the image I created for my project cover on Kickstarter!
Tuesday: A few set-backs (time) getting confirmed with Kickstarter. It took longer than anticipated so I had not choice but to push back VIP pre-reveal until a few hours before the official launch. I was totally bummed, but I have resolved to not ponder on situations I have no control over.
Monday : My kickstarter video is done!! Next step, designing my project page. This whole process took 4 days. Most of which was spent culling images, creating graphics, content and setting up pricing structures, rewards and updating social media as well.
I’ve had questions about Kickstarter so I’ve answered a few below:
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Kickstarter is NOT a donation service. It’s a support and backing platform.
It’s an all or nothing campaign. Meaning, if I don’t hit my goal, the campaign is considered a “failed” campaign and any support money is returned to the backer. I don’t receive anything if it fails.
Why use Kickstarter?
To reduce fast fashion, I’m using KICKSTARTER to meet production minimums and sell as a pre-ordered item. Which means I won’t be over-producing and adding to the 2nd largest pollutant in the world (fashion). This will also give a good gauge as to how the product will sell and help me with marketing my product in a larger scale.
Most US manufacturer’s require a minimum quantity for production
How do we support or back your project?
#1 SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!
Even if these pieces aren’t for you, sharing with everyone is crucial in whether this campaign is successful.
I just ask that you share with your friends/family.
Share an Instagram post or story, a facebook post or forward/share any emails with your list of friends/family.
You never know who this might “spark” interest in 🙂
If you decide you want to also back the project you can do that via the kickstarter page.
There will be reward tiers set up on my project page that will also include all of the details of the project and the goal of the project.
The reward tiers include options for pre-ordering pieces. The early backers get the best discounts, however, everything on the reward tiers will be discounted.
I won’t be selling wholesale, only direct-to-consumer so that I can extend the best prices and service to my customers. I am transparent with pricing and you can read more on that here
How does your project run on kickstarter?
It runs for 30 days. Marketing runs through the entire period. If you know anyone in media, have a favorite blog or podcast please hit reply to this email and let me know!
April Week 3 2019
Wednesday- ANNOUNCE KICKSTARTER PROJECT LAUNCH DATE : APRIL 24TH!
Tuesday- working on press kit, prepping emails for friends/family, press, media and influencers. Email my 2 favorite influencer’s… fingers crossed they want to collaborate! Set up newsletter for subscribers.
Monday – work on revision/edits for kickstarter video after receive draft. Finally receive my fabric for the final counter sample for the manufacturer! Took 2 weeks to get and just found out that now they are fully booked through May (so bummed). I was really hoping to have my final pricing before launch of kickstarter. Now I will have to base pricing off of the estimates. There isn’t much I can do at this point. Set-backs are a constant in this business and I’ve got to be better at putting in more padding time than what “industry standards” recommend. Ship out the remaining materials for final counter samples. I’ll also be having the patterns digitized (everything is digital now)! This next round of samples are $300 each piece and the grading of sizing is additional cost.
No sales from the VIP special I ran last week. Disappointed that I just can’t seem to get this marketing thing right. I post and get very little engagement on Instagram and Facebook.
April Week 2 2019
End of the week work a local market and get a lot of positive response for the maxi dress, top and vest which I had on display!
Receive notification that one of my fabrics, that I’ve had samples made for the maxi dress, has come in but has been dyed incorrectly and is slightly off in color. Scramble to figure out another option to use for sample material for my counter sample. After back & forth for a few days with the fabric source, we find a 99% match on color, same fabric content, weight etc. to use. Finally, after 2 weeks, the fabric is going to ship! This of course, now delays my counter samples. So frustrating!
Set up marketing campaign for a special sale for my VIP members.
Receive first draft of kickstarter video. Make a list of edits and revisions to submit.
Prep-Week for local market. Cut, sew and prepare for all that market entails!
Start shooting styling videos for IGTV on Instagram which I’ll also be publishing as blog posts.
Work on Part 3 & 4 of Blog Post series “I quit myself” for publishing next week.
April Week 1 2019
Thursday: Research options for other cut and sew facilities for shirring piece for the maxi dress. I prefer to have options!
Begin prep for first local market of the season, which is next weekend.
Wednesday: Video shoot and Photoshoot. Working on 35+ outfit shots of the 3 pieces for a poster image I’m creating for marketing purposes. Such a fun shoot with awesome people. Amanda (photographer) and Daniel and Gina (Bear Creative). I love networking and meeting new local small business owners. We worked for 5 hours getting all of the footage and shots we needed and finished the night with pizza and great conversation!
Monday: Create shoot list for photoshoot, finalize video script, order more fabric for counter samples & coordinate shipment of patterns from maker to manufacturer. Receive images back from first shoot! They are amazing!!
Start working on press-kit. Create a list of influencers I would like to work with. I post on Facebook, ask for referrals/recommendations for podcasts, blogs from friends, subscribers. Unfortunately, I don’t get any responses or suggestions. Feeling a little bummed, so it’s off to research more on my own.
March Week 4 2019
Friday: Work on script for Kickstarter video. Another photoshoot and video shoot scheduled for next week.
Thursday: Guess what… more samples need to be made! This time a counter sample. Basically, it’s where the manufacturer does a time study to determine how long it will take to make the garment. I’ve been given estimates based on the pattern, tech packs and muslin samples but those aren’t a guarantee price. I need to get on the schedule ASAP so that I can have production begin in June to work with my Kickstarter timeline. So I have to go through all of the fabric, order more materials, hardware and coordinate them all to ship to the manufacturer.
Tuesday: Photo/Styled shoot day!! Shoot time is 3 hours and we go over an hour (whoops)! We get so carried away with styling the first dress that it takes us an hour to move on to the next. Styling th 7 different separates with 8 different prints/solids is A LOT of styling! We get what we can get done and are on our way! Some really fantastic shots were taken and I can’t wait to see them! Big thank you to my model Dani and new photographer Amanda! I’m thankful to Rebecca for referring Amanda to me!
Monday: The vests and tops arrive! Steam all of the clothes for the style shoot, pack accessories (shoes, totes, jewelry etc.), can’t forget a lint roller! Make a list of shots to take and styled outfits. I’m also having to get some B-roll footage so will be wearing many hats during the shoot tomorrow!
March Week 3 2019
Friday: 10pm my photographer sends me a text message that she has over-scheduled herself and can’t shoot for me. It’s too late to reschedule everything, I’ll loose 100% payment if I cancel the location. I freak for a hot second then decide that I’m going to let her handle finding a replacement since she made the commitment. Luckily, she finds someone and we’re still on for Tuesday. I can’t handle another delay!
Thursday: My sample maker is able to get 2 vests and 3 tops done for the shoot and delivered the day before the style shoot, but not in time for the video shoot the next day. I start to work on rescheduling that. This set’s the video shoot back for 2 weeks (due to their schedules), which means no launch until end of April. An entire 6 weeks later than originally scheduled. I’m frustrated and feeling defeated. I go back to the videographer (beg them) and they work out an edit completion a week earlier. Thank goodness for them and their big hearts! They even let me borrow a camera to shoot some B-roll at the style shoot
Wednesday: The dresses arrive and I’m nervous to open the box! I rally my tribe and start a group text and they help me via messages open the box and try them all on! What a crazy feeling to finally have my designs as physical pieces in my hands and on my body! Surreal!
Early in the week : Shop for basics and accessories for photo/style shoot. I’m behind on writing my script for my video shoot so start at least an outline for it. Notified by my sample maker that the dresses took a lot longer than the estimated time scheduled and the tops and vests won’t be ready in time for the shoot. Scrambling to see if I can rearrange schedules. This will delay the video shoot by 2 weeks due to schedules. There is no work around with the model/photographer so we will just have to shoot w/out the tops and vests. I’m now forced to have to find another location for the video shoot (weather is too unpredictable here) on another time/day = more money. The dresses are due to arrive this week. I’m a nervous wreck.
March Week 2 2019
Production of the samples begin this week! The shirred back pieces have arrived! Each 1/2 yard of fabric will make 2 shirred pieces. There aren’t many manufacturers that have the machines to do this type of work and there is only ONE manufacturer in the U.S. that makes the elastic thread for this. Isn’t that crazy! There is an issue with the striped fabric pieces. The elastic shirring was ordered to be done horizontal and it was made vertical. There is no extra sample fabric to make new ones and not enough time for additional fabric to be shipped if we want to stay on our timeline. If it were 50 pieces that would be a different story, but with just 2 pieces for samples… I’m going to roll with it. No other choice.
With sample production underway and an estimated deadline, it’s time to schedule photo & video shoots. My photographer recently moved out of state so I begin working on coordinating schedules along with my model who is out of town at college. Scout locations for the shoots as well as begin a list of outfits and style guides.
Plan launch for pre-order of the new gold flecked cardigan which includes taking photos, editing, writing, planning posts, newsletters and social media. A lot of prep goes into launching just one product and now I’m launching a huge campaign on Kickstarter (staying this as I’m pulling my hair out)! Continue work on my kickstarter course. It’s getting time to start creating my page and setting up the structure for the campaign. I was told it would take 3 months to properly prep for a funding campaign ~ proving to be true.
March Week 1 2019
This is the month that the final samples are made with the REAL fabrics – EEK. Things are going to go quickly this month and a lot of planning & marketing to do. Take a short break from my kickstarter on-line course as there is much to do this week.
I’m unable to find enough of the black snap hem tape we need to finish the final samples of the maxi’s so decide I’m going to give my hand at trying to dye the yardage of white I have on hand. Well… it didn’t go according to plan. It turned out navy- Bummer! You can see my failed attempt here ( Even though it wasn’t my first choice, I had no choice but to go with some I found on Ebay. My sample maker gave me a 10 day turn-around for the dresses, tops and vests so I have a deadline to meet for materials. Although everything else has been delivered and things can get started without this, I’m still in a panic to get it to her ASAP! I also decide some of the fabrics for the maxi’s need lined so decide to shop locally for a fabrics for this. Ship them to my sample maker.
Order more tencel fabric sample yardage (from a different supplier) for use in samples for the petal sleeve top and versatile vest. Receive my final tech packs from my sample maker, which is a blue print of the designs. Both the prototypes/physical mock-ups and tech packs are sent out to potential manufacturing partners for production cost estimates. Receive the final revision for the petal sleeve top. The neck opening has been revised as well as adding basting to the waist so it now has structure to it. That means I could leave the tie on one side vs. having to add on both sides (which wasn’t my original design) so I’m happy that we found a fix to that.
I want to add a pricing structure page to my website to show the true cost of ethical manufacturing in the U.S. Hire a web developer to create and implement.
End of February 2019
Final Sample of the maxi dress is here, complete with the new additions of buttons on the straps to make them adjustable and the hem snap tape sewn into all tiers. Definitely a more seamless look on the tiers with this addition! Downside, the cost. We need 4 yards of hem snap tape per dress (that’s more yardage than fabric needed to make the dress)! Without it, the entire dress doesn’t make sense anymore ~ it’s not what I envisioned, so the hem snap tape is the answer and we’re moving forward! I am starting to worry, get anxious and end up getting sick (it was not the best week ever). If you want to see the vulnerable, not so lovely side of this process you can view that here
After a 10 day delay, the sample yardage fabric for the maxi dresses arrives. This throws a wrench in our overall schedule to launch now in March. No control over these things so making adjustments. There are 2 solids and 6 prints. I wanted to give the ability to mix/match the solids and pattern prints. Send fabric yardage to company in NY who will be creating the shirred back pieces for the maxi dresses. Here is an example of what the hem snap tape looks like that will sewn into the tiers of the maxi dress to make them interchangeable. I secure a videographer to shoot and edit my kickstarter video.
Mid February 2019
I receive a message from one manufacturer in the affiliate district. They would like to hear more about my designs and would like to work with me! Once my prototypes are finalized, I will send them to the manufacturer to complete a time and cost estimate. They are in Texas (always wanted to visit Texas)! I start getting referrals for videographer’s to help shoot/edit the video for my kickstarter video. Continue my kickstarter course
My sample maker suggest hem snap tape as a viable option for the tiers on the maxi dress. I research options, colors, sizes and order sample yardage for the final revision of the maxi dress. During this time I also have a change of heart with the straps on the dress. In order to add more functionality, I debate between tied straps or to add buttons to make the strap adjustable. After discussing cost options with my potential manufacturer, buttons it is!
Received my Versatile Vest prototype. The final piece will be in a knit fabric vs. woven, so an inexpensive scrap knit fabric is used to create the first sample. Have a fitting with my fit model. It can be worn long or reverses to a short crop vest. The only minor adjustment is to move the arm hole depth up by one inch.
Received my sample yardage for the tencel fabric. Due to high shipping prices, I had also ordered sample yardage for my pieces for fall (thinking ahead)! I love it. It’s so soft and amazing quality. Everything is made in L.A. and it’s sustainable (bio-degradable). Using this fabric to create the petal sleeve top and versatile vest.
Early February 2019
Research companies for shirring. The back of my maxi dress has shirring and it requires a special machine to create. Secure a company for this technique.
Looking for embroidery company to create a small piece that will be added to each and every evolverie garment! Continue my kickstarter course
Send Maxi Dress & Petal Sleeve Top prototypes back for revisions. The only pattern for the cardigan (which was from the first pattern maker company) needed revisions. After spending hundreds on the pattern, it still wasn’t right. Prototype being made for that. Continue working on a better option for the tiers on the dress to be removable. Hand-sewing snaps is very time consuming and hasn’t proven to be the best option.
Create new pattern for a spring cardigan to be released in March. Video the process from design to finished product, as well as continue my pre-order campaigns & fulfillment for the new poncho.
End of January 2019
Begin prep for new products I designed and made which include pattern making, sizing, making samples to shoot images for website and social media.
Schedule Pre-Order schedule for the new slip-over poncho that I designed and hand-made. Full-fill pre-order’s. Update website with new products.
Finalize the order with 3 separate companies for sample fabric for summer designs.
Not good news from the Carolina Textile Group. Not one manufacturer within their group bid on my job (boo)! They asked if I wanted to send my application to their affiliate districts, so I will keep my fingers crossed there. My goal is to have 4 manufacturers to compare.
Begin my kickstarter course, which is an online course that is part of my accelerated program that I took last year. This course walks you through planning & executing a successful funding campaign.
Mid January 2019
Fabric sourcing began in March of 2017. I have been pulling fabrics I might use for a few months. Now it’s time to narrow it down and place an order for sample yardage.
My prototypes are made out of the muslin and inexpensive knits first and once all changes are approved and made, then final samples will be made out of the fabrics chosen for production. This is a very lengthy process as you can imagine! Choosing which types of fabrics will work best with my designs, sustainability, wear and solids/prints all were a factor. Prints can be difficult as a small swatch all I have to go on. Swatches are sometimes free but there is always shipping to pay! For 2 weeks I had a group of swatches laid out on my kitchen table (my family wasn’t annoyed in the slightest) and narrowed them down a little at a time.
Now to look for a manufacturer! It’s best to have all of your ducks in a row before contacting anyone. Meaning, I need to have my designs ready, an expected date of manufacturing, how many pieces I will be producing, muslin samples and tech packs (which are the blueprints of the designs).
My hope is to work with someone in the Carolina Textile District. I have my second consult with them and submit my application. They share my application with all of the vetted manufacturer’s in their group to see if anyone is willing to work with me, my designs (which include smaller minimums, start-up etc.) for production. I have to wait 2 weeks for offers to be submitted. Wish me luck!
Receive a prototype of my top. The final piece will be in a knit fabric vs. woven, so an inexpensive scrap knit fabric is used to create the first sample. Have a fitting with my fit model. Length, neckline and the waist cinching need revised. Petal sleeves are amazing!
Early January 2019
Receive my maxi dress sample and have my first fitting with my fit model. Modifications and adjustments to be made but it is an amazing start to see a design you created & sketched come to life! I have to narrow down my fabric selections in order to order sample yardage. First samples are made using muslin (inexpensive textile) as we don’t use final fabric while we continue to make revisions. The final dress will be created with a woven type fabric so muslin works well for similar fit.
I’ll admit. I’m exhausted from markets! A lot of traveling, production and fulfillment. Over 300 kimonos and wraps sold just at markets! Now on to finalizing the new ponchos to launch next month. Meeting with Heather to review specifics for the 3 pieces that will launch in March 2019 on kickstarter. I completed the measurements for the sizes I will offer. A median size to work with is a size 8. The patterns will need to be graded into various sizes so its best to work with a size in the middle so the measurements are more accurate when sizing smaller and larger. We discuss options for the tiered maxi. I want the tiers to look as seamless as possible but yet be removable. We are going to try sew-in snaps. Heather will be working on creating muslin samples for the pieces. Received more fabric sample swatches. This is the hardest part for me! Deciding on fabrics because I want to offer them all!
Continue with market season as well as pre-order launches weekly. Streamline my fulfillment for website and market orders. My 3 largest shows of the year happen in November and early December. Send 3 final sketches to Heather to begin pattern making. Narrowing down fabric choices and list of materials need for each piece. Develop a new poncho pattern to launch in January 2019. Revisit fabric sources from 6 months prior and shift focus on fall fabrics to summer fabrics/all-year round fabric options as well as more sustainable.
Markets every weekend (sometimes double markets on the same day), destination wedding and wedding reception! Busy month! Meeting wonderful people at markets and I was selling out at every show, which is a good thing ~ don’t get me wrong! Yet, keep in mind that I am a one-woman show. I do all of my own marketing, website maintenance, create new products from development to fulfillment. Markets that were multiple days meant coming home from a 10 hour day to then reproduce for the following day. Yes, I prep ahead of time but you just never know how well a market will be. All the while, working on additional sketching for 2 more pieces to add to my collection. Interview a potential manufacturer and find a new fabric source and order sample swatches. Roll out a new VIP subscriber incentive to grow and connect with my community. Offering Pre-Order on new products to VIP members.
Market season began. 15 markets between Sept. – Dec. Add to my fall offerings. Based on past client feedback, I revise my blanket wraps to now be wearable and include pockets! Due to finances, I have to charge my fabric (yes, thousands) as I have to order ahead of the season in order to have enough for fulfillment during busy market season.
I reached out to the pattern referral and what a weight was lifted! Heather was just what I needed. She was open to my designs (yes, the maxi is crazy technical) but she didn’t shy away. Let’s do this! I continued to source materials for both the summer 2019 line as well as fall fabric. The original patterns that were completed (3 in total) are for fall so it was back to my arsenal of sketches and finding those pieces that would work for a new focus – summer. I’ve always had a slight love obsession with dresses (see the first piece I made below in 2015) and the maxi dress I’ve had in my head for close to 2 years.
Website Sales are extremely low. Morale at an all time low. Continue to work on finalizing fabric and patterns for fall 2018 launch. Hit a major road block with pattern makers. I was unable to financially pay the balance for my 5 patterns. Decide to reduce from 5 patterns down to 3. Stuck as I didn’t feel we were a good fit (creatively, they were trying to change my ideas). After my 3 patterns were completed, we parted ways. I reach out to a friend I made on Instagram, who happened to also be on project runway twice and runs her own handmade clothing business in Cleveland. She was gracious enough to have a chat with me and connect me with her pattern maker.
I don’t feel ready to launch in October. My son decided to get married the month I was going to launch and with all of the patterns still not exactly as I want them, I make the difficult decision to put off the launch for another 6 months. I felt like I failed myself… like this was never going to happen. Here I was putting it off yet again. I needed to focus on growing my community, at the time, I didn’t have a large group of supporters.
I spent the summer doing a lot of soul searching, looking at my strengths, weakness’s, to what I want my brand to represent, what type of women I want to serve and ultimately, found clarity.
Continue to source sustainable fabric. Create sample pieces & meet with a local pattern making company with my sketches & samples for fall 2018 line. Correspond with a few potential manufacturing companies.
Launch new branding & new website with new patterns for the year-round kimono line
Completed Accelerated Fashion Design Program and Created a separate company from A Stylish Design to Evolverie. Decide to give this business 100% of my time.
Fall (Sept-Dec) 2017
Participate in 10 local markets. Expand my line to include a new pop-over poncho design. Markets sales are good during this quarter, but website sales are low. Took a 2 month break from accelerator course to focus on production for markets. Watched the True Cost documentary, which resulted in a shift for my business plan.
Enroll in a $3,000, 6 month on-line accelerator program for start-up designer’s. Spend the entire summer reaching out to new potential clients, sororities, boutiques for wholesale accounts.
Sales were extremely slow. After 4 months of daily researching, hitting the pavement, emailing, calling boutiques, sororities. 95% did not even respond and the few that did, weren’t interested in a 50% margin. I couldn’t complete with a 70% mark-up for boutiques and my finances were at an all-time low. Looking forward to fall markets to start to generate income again.
Start a kimono/cover-up line using light-weight materials, that can be worn year-round as well as neck scarves and clutches. Use professional models and up-level photoshoots and brand vibe. I try my hand at wholesale and sell to one boutique and a few local markets and consignment stores. Begin sketching and sourcing fabric for a new fall 208 clothing line. After a busy holiday season at markets, I focus on finding fabric I can purchase in bulk/wholesale for 2017 holiday season.
Begin to sew and sell at local area markets. Items such as infinity scarves, fold-over clutches, kimonos, holiday stockings, pet bandana’s. I created a set 6 piece set of tea towels which flopped. I still have boxes of them in my basement. I couldn’t stock the kimonos fast enough. I was trying to appeal to too many people, so I set my focus on clothing and accessories for women.
Take various classes at local sewing shoppe to increase sewing skills and knowledge
private pattern making class to learn how to take design sketch to create patterns for production (which are MUCH different from patterns you buy in a big box store)
Launched my line of vintage aprons and frock dresses
Not one single dress sold.
start sewing, self-taught by watching youtube videos and “just doing it”
create pieces and sell on my existing Etsy wedding store front called A Stylish Design.