This year has been a fascinating one. In the beginning of the pandemic, I was quite sure that things would really slow down as far as my business was concerned. No one was looking for a designer, much less a production house, amidst a nation-wide pandemic, right?
SO WRONG. I was so. Wrong.
This year has been my busiest to date and after speaking to client after client about their goals and why they’ve decided to start a clothing line NOW, I’ve realized that for most people, it’s now or never. Their work has either drastically mellowed, or faded altogether. I realize that for some this pandemic has completely changed peoples’ livelihoods, but for those who reached out to me, it was because they saw their newly-cleared calendar as an opportunity to do something they’ve always wanted to do-start their own product line.
It’s a refreshing change to be able to speak with people who’ve taken their lemons and are choosing to make *sweet* lemonade. They’re choosing to do something productive with their “down” time and I have SO enjoyed meeting and working with all of these ambitious individuals.
I wanted to write this post in case you, too, are on the fence about starting a new project. There is a lot of new opportunity to be had as people and companies shift the way they are clocking in for work.
Wonder where the best opportunities lie in the next year?
If any of these categories has been on your “someday” list, I dare you to take a leap of faith and just do it. For most of us, it really is now or never.
Glad you stopped by, because today I am sharing some free knowledge on the apparel design process from concept to shipped product.
I normally reserve this on-boarding guide for new clients who don’t know anything about the industry, but I’ve had a lot of requests for more content like this, SO I bless you with a quick 15-page guide that I hope will give you a peek inside the fashion world and what to expect when diving into a new project.
I’d love to hear from you with questions, so DM us @casualbrandcreative or email email@example.com. Until then, happy reading ❤
I want you to have your fashion brand dreams realized.
I want you to have all of the creative fun putting together what your first line or product will look like. To feel the fabrics, create patterns and colors that you’ve dreamed about. To see the designs that have been sitting in the back of your mind realized, down on paper, rendered.
I want you to feel the accomplishment that comes with learning about the process and work that goes into building a physical garment.
I want you to build a brand that will one day be profitable, and sustainable.
I want you to have a really great time at your first photo shoot with YOUR product being shot!
I want to sip that champagne with you when you receive your first orders, be it online or through a wholesale account.
I want all of these things for you.
But in order to do any of these things, there are a lot of things to seriously consider before you decide to jump in and commit. And commitment is the baseline.
A few key considerations to reflect on before committing to starting your apparel line
I feel like this should be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many people I speak with come to me wanting to build a product and brand without any real financial commitment to the project.
This is not to say you need to be a millionaire to start something. Different projects will require different financial commitments. If you are starting off with 1 sock design, you will not need as much money prepared as for, say, someone looking to build a 10-piece collection. Which brings me to…
How many items are you looking to start out with at the outset? You should have a solid idea of what it is exactly that you want to do.
One thing to note, is that you do not need to have a huge collection to start off. In fact, I work with a lot of individuals looking to launch 1-2 products in the beginning. And that is totally fine. I will say, however, that those 1-2 products should be the best in their category if that is the product that you will announce to the world as your brand.
Cliche but true: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your line be.
If you are sampling and producing in the US, you can expect sampling to take around 1 month for 1 sample (and usually you will need at least 2-3 rounds of sampling, depending on the complexity of the garment). Production will usually take around 10-12 weeks.
If you are sampling and producing in the overseas, you can expect sampling to take around 2-3 weeks for 1 sample (and usually you will need at least 2-3 rounds of sampling, depending on the complexity of the garment). Production will usually take around 3 months.
You will be har-pressed to find a quality manufacturer to make 50 units of one style for you.
Prepare for at least a 100-300 style minimum order requirement. And that usually covers 1 color.
So, of your minimum order requirement for 1 style is 100 units, and you want to offer 2 colorways, prepare to order 200 units for that particular style.
As a brand, you need to consider the calendar when beginning design. If you want to be in the wholesale business to sell to retailers, you will be on a less flexible calendar than someone who is doing a direct-to-consumer (D2C) business. Buyers buy at certain times throughout the year to fulfill their seasonal inventory needs, so if you want to sell to them, your collection needs to be ready to show at specific dates.
If you’ve considered all of these points and are confident that it’s time to move to the next step, I encourage you to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And even if you’re not confident…we’re here for that to!