The Design & Development Calendar

The subject of the design calendar has come up a lot with clients and potential clients this month. Something must be in the air, because I’ve had to have a few chats about why the calendar is so important when planning your new line.

In the past, I’ve worked on plenty of projects that were not planned properly.

And do you know what the outcome was?

Because there was no proper timeline or calendar (just a vision to get to a photoshoot and trade show and relish in all the glory), there’s a decent list of things that went wrong (and you can expect to go wrong,) if you don’t have a clear plan set out:

  • The line was sloppy, thrown together, and was not cohesive. There was no story to tell – there were hand-beaded gowns mixed with body-con knits and distressed-jersey tees. That’s the sort of threesome that’s literally never going to work out. You cannot start a brand new label and offer everything under the sun. No one will take you seriously and they’ll just be confused about who you are as a brand. A good designer or design team will take at least 3 months to really research and develop a cohesive story and line plan.
  • The fit of the garments were not great. When you’re offering a hand-beaded gown for $600+ your fit cannot be bad. It better hug that model in all the right places and not have a weird armhole. Fitting the line properly once you are in the development stage is crucial. Some designs are more difficult than others, and if you rush through and don’t take time to properly fit the garments, expect that your return rate will be high. You can expect the development process to take 2-3 months. Always plan for 3.
  • So then there’s production to work into the calendar. If you’re already pinched for time, running the proper QC needed and keeping attention to detail for the production is going to be non-existent. I don’t think I need to say why that would be bad. Plan for 3 months production lead time (+1 month vessel to port, total 4 months) if working offshore. Plan for about 2 months if working in the USA.

You’re basically giving birth to your new line – 9 months is the bare minimum it should take to set your new label up for success.

Don’t cut corners.

Don’t believe someone can get you up and running in 2,3,4, 6 months. They can’t.

Don’t trust that your USA production house says they will have your product out in 6 weeks. They won’t.

Do trust people (me) who have seen it all. Believe that if I had superpowers and could get your line up and running in a month, I totally would. But, I don’t. So, do it right!

Happy Friday!