You know, with the popularity of Project Runway, so many individuals have gotten the bright idea to start their own fashion line. Little do they know what is REALLY involved. Many people think they have the new hottest idea. Truth is most of it has already been done. Lots of them are trying to reinvent the wheel.
Yesterday I attended the first part of Liza D.’s Fashion School and it got me thinking. Seems about a third of the attendees didn’t belong there IMHO. Not that Liza isn’t a wonderful teacher…she’s great. But some of the attendees were very secretive about their brilliant ideas. In conversations with them, they barely gave you an idea on what they were trying to produce. How the heck are you supposed to give them sources for contractors, fabrics, etc. if you don’t know what they are trying to do.
I shared my line sheets, samples, and some fabric sources with the class. Yet, when asked directly, several of the “designers” were very guarded with what they were trying to manufacture. Well, how in the world is anyone going to suggest a sewing factory if they don’t know what you are sewing? See, some sewing factories are great at sewing knits while others only sew woven fabrics. A place that sews bras wouldn’t sew your hats (unless of course you’re wearing a bra on your head). Thankfully, by day two, attendees started to loosen up a bit.
Many were so concerned with patents. Unless your idea is truly innovative, that’s throwing money away. Instead, spend that money on marketing.
One of the great things about Liza’s seminars are the networking opportunities. There were a few individuals I’d want to hang with: the three girls who wanted to start a bathing suit line (they asked the right questions), an Asian gentleman who was all business, the Vietnamese handbag guy who knew a lot about overseas production and the sweet blonde who wanted to do plus-size women’s wear. These were the ones I’d put my money on. They got it and would most likely be successful in their ventures. None of them were concerned with small silly details.
Liza stressed the importance of having a business plan and went into detail of what should be included. This particular session was very helpful. One of the things which she suggested be included in your plan was asking and answering the questions, “What are the 5 problems that can happen?” and “What are the solutions to these problems?” It’s how you deal with these types of things that can make or break your business. For instance, let’s say a particular fabric you were planning to use is no longer available. How do you plan to source replacement fabric in a pinch? Or a worse case scenario–what about if the sewing factory burns down? Do you have a back-up sewing factory? I’ve purchased the Canadian Fashion Incubator’s Fashion Business Plan, but see where it needs to be tweaked.
Another important thing is the Cash Flow Chart. It was suggested that you make a 2 year chart. As designer entrepreneurs, we tend to focus on the artistic aspect of the business, but we really need to spend just as much time on the financial part. Your designs may be awesome, but without a plan for financing it, all is lost.
I found came across this link which might be useful:
Today’s 2nd part of the seminar was awesome. We learned about costing, cut sheets, factoring and production. While I knew a lot of what was taught in the seminar as I’ve been researching my plan for the past two years, the most important thing I got from Liza was to stop over-researching and JUST DO IT!
Meaning, I could have the greatest ideas, but unless I get out there and produce, it all means nothing. Thanks Liza for a wonderful weekend! You’re truly inspiring.
For those interested in learning more about Liza D.’s Fashion School, visit her website!
ok…now for some pics of my traffic nightmare getting to and from Manhattan this weekend…a mere 15 miles which took over an hour each way…ugh!
While idling in traffic, I noticed this De-Fender fender protector on the SUV in front of me. How hysterical! Who would have thought?! So if someone bumps into your fender, you don’t scratch your $2,000 bumper…brilliant and useful here in NYC.
Here’s a close-up pic of the De-Fender borrowed from an auto parts website:
Leaving the city, I passed the old World Trade Center…which is just a large pit and dozens of construction vehicles. Still no new buildings. The city has really dragged their feet on rebuilding the area. Sad.
Seems most of Manhattan is under construction…ALL THE TIME. Doesn’t matter what day or time it is, there is always construction. The roads are getting worse everyday. When they say you take your life in your hands driving in NYC, they aren’t kidding.
Oh and in case you thought it’s all bumper-to-bumper traffic in NYC, you can still drive 70 mph through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel…LOL! See?
Off to watch the Season Finale of Desperate Housewives! Have a great night!