Are you riding the development merry-go-round?
Do you feel like you are constantly having to do things over in the development of your fashion product?
Are you constantly facing production problems?
Do you feel like you are working with vendors and consultants who are incompetent or worse~ who do not seem to care?
What is going on here?
Why cant you seem to get this product off the ground? OR moving in the right direction? Or delivered on time and in consistent/correct quality? OR why cant you seem to get your product cheap enough now that you can make volume? OR why cant you find a person to help you get on the right path?
I can tell you- sometimes people in this industry are not responsive/ responsible/ or knowledgable… but for the most part, vendors (fabric mills, consultants, factories) are here to HELP you. Sometimes you need to help yourself first.
HERE ARE 3 REASONS YOU MAY BE STUCK GOING IN CIRCLES:
1.) YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SELLING:
OK. This is a big one. Lets say you are making pants… and I ask you
“What are you selling?”
Pants… Right? Nope. Wrong. You are never selling your product.
You are selling your brand. Everything from the price point to the fabric to the label on the inside of your pants is what you are selling. Not the pants. Not even if they are magical pants that glow in the dark and make you invisible. You see, you are not selling those magical pants, your selling the identity that goes with those magical pants. You are what can people can BE in those pants. ( More on magic words and marketing later…) The Point is that if you yourself do not know the VALUE of what you are selling and why people are going to buy your product, you are going to have a very hard time not only creating a sustainable business. You will also find yourself stuck at number 2.
2.) YOU DO NOT TAKE YOUR DESIGN SERIOUSLY:
Even if you are or you hire the best, most creative and most qualified design and development team in the world… they will not be successful at getting you the best design if you do not take the design of your product seriously.
IF your new to the industry, and even if you are a seasoned designer, there are many ways that you could be unconsciously undermining your efforts to design a great product~
- You are not making a decision on what you want.
- You are not clearly explaining what you want. (techpack, techpack, techpack)
- You are not starting with cost of materials and sales goals first.
- You are not building products to last for multiple seasons.
- You are re-designing your product at every prototype sample.
The bottom line is that a designer is more than just an artist. A GREAT designer thinks not just about fabric selection, but future availability, cost effectiveness, how they can maximize the material into other products, where this fabric comes from, how it will get to the factory, and why it contributes to the VALUE of the product. GREAT designers know where the label is going to go, what kind of hem they need to use, what kind of packaging they should use, and what to ask for when they speak with a supplier.
Fabric mills and factories do not want to guess… they will if they need to meet your deadline, but if you do not like their decision is it their fault? Or is it yours?
If you have started a company, and you know that you are not qualified to be a designer, or that you are not going to be interested in every little last button, bartack, and thread count… you may want to consider hiring a design/development consultant to work with you. Most freelance designers specialize in the parts they are good at- creative direction, sketching, technical design, print design,pattern making…. OR you can work with a studio who can usually consult with you on the whole project. (Like us at Hello World!)
Just remember, even a designer can not read your mind… the more time you invest in your VISION, the better defined your product will be, and that will inspire better execution.
3.) YOU DO NOT PUT SALES FIRST:
It pretty difficult for creative and visionary people to stay out of the product ideas long enough to actually accomplish what they set out to do… which is to make money in addition to creating this cool new business/product/design.
IF you do not make money, you can not keep your business going… and your business needs food. That food is cold, hard cash.
Here are a couple of reasons you may not be making money~
- You are not charging enough of a margin to make a profit.
- You do not make a point to repeat and re-invent your best sellers.
- You decide on a marketing strategy that limits your growth in the future.
- You did not plan for scale, and now that you have orders you find yourself either un-able to produce due to financial constraints or un-able to produce due to poor supply chain planning.
Even if you consider yourself very business minded… these traps are extremely easy to fall into. The worst thing about all of the above points is that sometimes the thing that makes us sell the most garments in the beginning is exactly what limits us when we have opportunities arise that can help us scale.
For example… Brand A has a great quality, really affordable product and has built a following on these two pillars . They decided that to be cost effective, they could cut some of the middle man margin out since they are a direct-to-consumer brand that sells on their website to start. Next thing they know they are getting a lot of attention, and along comes an amazing order from a top retailer, one that could inject a huge amount of cash into their business…and help them reach a new market of customers. Once they go to produce the goods, they can not find a factory to produce at a price that works for them to bring in a wholesaler and still make a large enough margin to survive.
For example Brand B really connects with their customers on their views, and provides them with a totally organic, handcrafted and made in the USA product. After wild success selling direct and to wholesale accounts, the time has come to produce en-masse. The organic, handcrafted materials can not be made fast enough in the USA. and their orders get backed up. There is a way to buy them in bulk and ship them in from an offshore manufacture, but it will no longer be organic, handcrafted or made in the USA… which are the cornerstones to which they built their brand.
There is a point where your MISSION either promotes your product, or hinders it. Its fine if you want to embrace something like “made in the usa” as part of your MISSION… but make sure that you are able to commit to embracing it long haul, by ensuring you have a longterm growth strategy in place. IF you are not making it your MISSION to make money everyday… then just what are you doing?
Please let us know if you think you might be stuck on any of these points.
Hello World offers design, development, pattern, sample, production and consulting services that can help you with any part of your apparel or accessories project.