Apparel Manufacturing

How To Create a Clothing Line Budget in 5 Steps
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How To Create a Clothing Line Budget in 5 Steps

One of the first questions we ask our new development clients at the beginning stages of creating a clothing line is “what is your budget for the project?” Most new designers and entrepreneurs have no idea. We know that creating a budget can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out, so we decided to outline a few important budget components that we share with all of our clients.

Here are five steps for putting together a budget for your new clothing line.

1. How much can you spend in total?

It might seem elementary, but the first step to devising a budget for your project is to look at your finances and determine how much you can spend in total. Lots of new clients will say they do not have a budget, and that they are willing to spend whatever it takes to get their clothing brand up and running.

But, let’s be honest, most of us do not have an unlimited pile of cash to funnel into a new business. So sit down and take a look at your finances to see just how much money you are willing to invest in your new brand. Once you have your total budget, you can then decide where to allocate your funds and how to utilize your resources best.

2. How much do you want to spend on product development?

Once you have an overall budget, the next step is to split it up into a handful of different buckets, including product development, manufacturing, and marketing. With international production and larger orders, these buckets get more complex, but we will assume you are starting small and your clothing line will be USA-made.

As for what to budget for product development, you can use our in-house Product Development Program as a guide. For fabric sourcing, trim sourcing, pattern making, and cut and sew for your samples, clients typically spend between $1,500 to $2,000 per sample. We recommend that you devote at least $2,000 to each sample to create a quality product that will be successful in the marketplace.

3. Decide on your target price per unit for manufacturing

Once you have allocated funds to product development, calculate how much you can spend on manufacturing by focusing on the cost per unit to produce in bulk. To determine your target price per unit, start by learning the industry standard retail prices for similar products and work backward. Find out who your competitors are and what they are charging for their products. Their prices will allow you to hone in on a target retail price and get closer to how much you could reasonably make off of the sale of each unit to earn a profit. From there, you can determine the target price per unit.

4. Choose your method of distribution

How will you be selling your product? Will you be selling your clothing to stores or will you be selling on your e-commerce site? Many new businesses start out with a Shopify site to keep web development costs down, but some hire a web developer to design an e-commerce site for them. Decide how you want to sell your product and figure out how much you will need to spend to make distribution happen.

5. What is your marketing strategy?

For a startup clothing brand, we recommend allocating a significant amount of time and resources to marketing your product. Clothing moves when there’s buzz. If funds are tight, we recommend utilizing free social media marketing tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer to get started.

If you have extra budget for advertising, Facebook and Instagram ads are a great way to jumpstart your company’s social media audience and promote your brand name. Alternatively, PR is also possible with little to no budget if you are willing to come up with angles yourself and do the legwork of finding and contacting writers; and influencer marketing on Instagram is a marketing channel that many budding designers have used with success.

We hope these steps get you started on your clothing line budget. Is there something you think we should add to the list? What unexpected costs derailed your budget? Leave us a comment below with any questions or comments. We love feedback.

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Your Kickstart to Entrepreneurship!

Amongst the many doctor and actor aspirations, lays an ambition many are not equipped to commence: creating their own business. As many start up’s disappoint before they’re fully able to thrive, a middle ground of uncertainty is present: how does a novice idea meet the demands of initial costs, provide a product worthy of consumer demands yet provide an opportunity to gain loyal customers willing to purchase at my inauguration? Enter Kickstarter, the crowd-funding platform that provides potential entrepreneurs with the opportunity to turn their dreams into reality.

There are many variables contributing to the success or deemed failure of companies; some externally or internally known while others are not. Whether or not the variables identified to the failure are presented, it’s best to reflect upon the factors contributing to success. I had the pleasure to speak with two very successful brands– one that has had recent achievement and the other still in the process of a Kickstarter triumph. Whether you’re planning the next great funded project or simply looking for inspiration from relatable businessmen, Ryan Beltran from Original Grain and Jake Joseph from Jake Joseph Underwear are idyllic.

Before investing in inventory and product development to begin any business venture, research and adequate testing are needed to determine if your product is in demand. With that said, Ryan Beltran believes “Kickstarter is a great avenue for testing products and gauging potential demand” as it develops a platform for advancing decisions to determine to continue or not. It’s also a great platform due to the audience – “an overflow of people who appreciate creativity and I wanted to reach and work with those people” reveals Jake Joseph.

As one of the most funded fashion projects to date, Original Grain fuses local wood inspiration from their Pacific Northwest hometown and modern eminence that results in a captivating timepiece. “Our primary goal when launching Original Grain (OG) was to develop a product unlike any other on the market. We wanted to create a watch that would ‘turn heads’, but was top notch in terms of its quality. That’s to be great at making our watches and provide a good experience for each and every customer we have.” With plans to solidify OG as household name and eventually expanding into a lifestyle brand, “the only way I can get there is

to focus on making a high quality product and continuously innovating our product offering.”

Original Grain

Jake Joseph elevates a traditional, hidden piece and “adds quality and workmanship to an often neglected garment”– underwear and proves that internal details and value of the first layer of adornment is equally vital. Insight to this piece was gained as this was in the process of development just as his project was launching. “We are constantly looking for ways to design products that are not just beautiful, but offer a solution too. Kickstarter is a terrific platform to introduce the The ZenSho Collective – the first underwear to never rise.” Ultimately, passion is vital Joseph believes, “be passionate about the product you want to introduce and illustrate that passion in your product and its benefits.” Genuinely understand your audience while developing an approach to providing them with a highly unique outcome, just as the exclusive underclothing of Jake Joseph has done.

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Passion coupled with an essential connection with your audience and quality product, all combine to make both of these company’s successful Kickstarter projects. “Kickstarter is an amazing community of people that want to help companies get off the ground…you just gotta go and do the dang thing.” Provide an experience for the consumer by revealing your story; when done effectively, the generated buzz will appeal to the need of your consumer now while also illustrating ideas for the future. “People love helping others achieve their goals, especially when they’re genuine” concludes Beltran. Therefore, the highly advantageous and mutually beneficial Kickstarter are highly recommended for the inner entrepreneur in all.

Original Grain: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/originalgrain/original-grain-all-natural-wood-and-stainless-stee

Jake Joseph: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/678444944/jake-joseph-redefining-mens-underwear?ref=discovery

By: Storm Tyler

***Update: Check out one of our brands NAMAKAN FUR: they just ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and we’re now in production – product to be completed January 2017

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IndieViews: Meet Johnny Quintero

Our IndieViews series highlights the talented and committed people who power Indie Source.

In our interview with Indie Source’s trim specialist Johnny Quintero, he shares his wisdom, experience, and excitement for what’s next.

What inspired you to work in fashion?

I would have to say the artistic part of fashion. I’ve always been attracted to fashion growing up. Seeing people express themselves through clothing always puts a smile on my face!

What advice would you give an aspiring fashion designer?

Do your research and think your design through to the end. Think about how your garments will be produced in production and design thoughtfully! I’ve seen so many times, designers “make it happen” or alter trim, sewing or cutting for samples and when the garment goes into production everyone scrambles to figure out how to reproduce the sample. You do not want to sell your garments one way and then in production find out you can’t do the same.

JQ2-for-webWhat has your career path looked like? 

Most of my experience has been in production. I started out as an assistant for development and production, then a production trim buyer, to domestic production manager and import coordinator. What brought me to Indie Source was the opportunity to be part of a development team again. I love working with a team to bring peoples designs to life.

What sets Indie Source apart from other places where you’ve worked?

The wonderful people here! Everyone has an entrepreneur attitude and we all work so well together. It’s a great team to be a part of.

What’s the best aspect of working at Indie Source?

The best aspect of Indie Source is meeting like minded people and always developing new and exciting garments! Every client is different and the work is always changing.

Any amazing Indie Source moments? 

Right now is the most memorable moment! We are growing the company and partnering up with so many great brands. I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us!

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Watch Indie Source In Action On BET

Indie Source delivers for Damon Dash’s Poppington on BET’s Music Moguls.

Damon Dash’s vision for his Poppington apparel line is 100% independent and made in America using the highest quality materials and construction. On BET’s Music Moguls, Dash finds the key to his vision in Indie Source.

The BET crew captures Dash and partner Raquel M. Horn’s visit to Indie Source and meeting with Zack Hurley and Emily Meaker, where they review sketches and discuss samples. Dame’s reaction when he receives his samples from Indie Source? In a word – LOVE!

“To make something in America, at the quality and level that you like it … to me that’s real fashion,” says Dash. “With a group like Indie Source, I can make my samples, I can cut to order. I don’t have to hold a lot of inventory, because inventory’s what kills you in the fashion business.”

As a company that was created to help support independent designers, Indie Source is excited to be manufacturing Dame Dash’s vision for Poppington. We help designers like Dash develop their initial product. They bring us their sketches and we make modifications, source the fabric, and put together a collection for them. Once they’re happy with samples, we take them into production. And we manufacture it all here in Los Angeles. Indie Source is transforming the fashion industry in LA and making dreams into reality for indie designers.

Check us out in the Music Moguls episode below and find out more about what Indie Source has to offer independent fashion designers.

https://youtu.be/J2zSE6jDnrI?t=13m50s

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Ace Your Indie Source Intro Meeting

Ready to work with Indie Source? Your Intro Meeting is the first step. Here’s everything you need to know.

When you’re ready to transform your daydreams and sketches into a clothing line, Indie Source is the resource to make that happen. As a full service clothing manufacturer, Indie Source takes your ideas and makes them into something wearable by combining the right materials, fit, and construction. Our experienced, knowledgeable and passionate team will transform that overwhelming feeling of “where to begin” into the sense of delight that comes from manufacturing your line and bringing it to market.

The Intro Meeting

Your first step in working with Indie Source is the Intro Meeting. This is your chance to introduce your brand to us and share your vision for your business, as well as the specific products we’ll be creating with you. In your Intro Meeting meeting you will:

  • Meet your project manager, who will be your direct point of contact. They’re going to supervise, manage, and ensure the overall success of your project.
  • Meet our fabric specialist and trim specialist, who will be sourcing the perfect fabric and trims for your products.
  • Meet with Indie Source’s pattern maker, who will take fit notes (if you already have a prototype sample) .

The Indie Source team is experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated to making you and your brand a success and helping you along the way.

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To get the most powerful results from your Intro Meeting, you’ll need to be ready to discuss a broad range of topics around your label, as well as go into detail about each one.  Here’s a rundown of all the info you should have at the ready.

About Your Brand

  • Have a strong vision and goals, and know the values of your brand
  • What makes your brand unique or special?
  • Who is your competition?
  • What are your specific goals for your brand?
  • What is important to you in the development of your brand?
  • Are you price or quality focused?
  • Do you have a logo? Tag line? Mission statement?

Have A Brand Business Plan

  • How are you going to sell your product? Will you have a website? A storefront? Sell wholesale to retailers?
  • How are you going to market your brand? To who?
  • What are the price points for your products? How much do you want to pay to produce them versus how much do you want to sell them for?
  • How many units are you going to order? We have a minimum of 3 style and 250 pieces per style.
  • What is your budget for development? For production?

Have A Product Plan

  • Remember – we think of you as the designer! We are here to bring your ideas to life. Think through all the small details. We’re happy to make suggestions and help, but this is YOUR brand!
  • What are your sizes going to be? XS-XL? S-L?
  • What size would you like your samples to be made in? Think about who would come and try them on. If it is you, have the samples made in your size so you can make sure it’s the perfect fit.
  • What are the grading rules for your production? This means how much bigger do you want each size to be from the last? It is usually 2’’, but look at a line in a store or do some research and compare.
  • Will there be artwork on your products? This includes your logo.
  • What will your main label tags look like? Will they be printed or sewn in? They should have your name, logo, tagline, where it is made, and size. What will they look like? You send your tag artwork before your first meeting!
  • Are you going to have a hang tag or any other tagging or labeling on your products? Think about what they’ll look like in the store.
  • What colors do you want for your fabrics? Bring a color sample with you. We will find similar colors in in-stock fabrics. If you absolutely need a specific hue, we will need to dye it! Bring the exact color sample or find it using the PANTONE color finder. Keep in mind that colors might look different on a screen than in reality.

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Have A Timeline

  • When do you need your samples done? The development process usually takes around six weeks. However, the more custom and detailed your products are, the longer it will take (i.e. custom elastic and prints).
  • When do you want full production to be done? Production usually takes about 4-8 weeks depending on the complexity of your designs.
  • Set dates from start to finish! When do you want your clothes ready to be sold?

Have Patience

If we’re starting your line from scratch, it might take a round or two of sample making and fittings to get everything perfect. Indie Source wants to make sure you love your line and fits how you want. Be prepared to make more than one sample.

Now that you know what you’ll need to get started, are you ready to call Indie Source? Let’s manufacture your dream line!

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A Zero-Waste Fiber Is Brewing

Kombucha tea is the source of a new fiber aimed at creating sustainable fashion.

A new fiber made from tea is being developed as part of the fight to decrease waste and pollution in the fashion industry. An article published by Iowa State University details a new cellulosic fiber that’s a byproduct of Kombucha tea and is being grown in a lab by Young-A Lee and her research team. The cellulose fibers grow as a gel-like film that feeds off a mixture of vinegar and sugar. Once harvested and dried, the material is similar to leather, and can be made into clothing, handbags, and shoes.

Lee, an associate professor of apparel, merchandising, and design at Iowa State, received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop sustainable clothing and shoes from the new fiber. The global environmental impact of fashion manufacturing is far-reaching. Non-biodegradable clothing ends up in landfills, use of nonrenewable materials depletes natural resources, and chemicals used to manufacture and dye synthetic fabrics contaminate water and soil. One fact recently published by Forbes starkly illustrates the devastating environmental impact of manufacturing and, inevitably, disposing of synthetic fabrics:

Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose.

Lee’s new cellulosic fabric is not only 100% biodegradable, it represents the possibility of a “cradle-to-cradle” design cycle of continuous reuse and regeneration. The material is grown in the lab using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), and when discarded, it goes back to the soil as a nutrient. It’s hard to imagine a greater contrast to the fashion industry’s current reliance on synthetics!

There are definitely issues to work out in developing this novel fiber before it will be ready for mass production and marketable to consumers. Lee’s team is working on shortening its growth cycle as the material currently takes 3-4 weeks to grow in the lab. Tests of clothing made of the fiber show that moisture makes it less durable, while cold makes it brittle. A survey of college students about a new cellulosic fiber vest revealed concerns about the color, texture, comfort, durability, and ease of care of the material. Lee is confident that these concerns can be addressed through the development process to ultimately produce a fiber that works for fashion companies and consumers while providing the universal benefit of contributing to sustainable fashion.

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Smart Fabrics – New Functions In Fashion

Smart fabrics are bringing fashion design face-to-face with technology, and the possibilities are unlimited.

Smartwatches and activity trackers are on wrists everywhere. Virtual and augmented reality headsets give us a new modality of entertainment and learning. By 2020, wearable devices will represent a market worth of $40 billion with over 240 million annual unit shipments. A growing segment of wearables that integrate technology into fabrics in a visually seamless way is opening up a massive creative space for fashion designers in this highly technical market.

With their invisibly embedded technology, smart fabrics make donning wearables as second nature as throwing on a jacket before heading out the door. Invisible sensors and intelligent analytics provide what we’ve come to expect from wearable tech – communication, health data, exercise stats – and perform more advanced functions such as monitoring one’s emotional state, stress level, and ergonomic posture.

Embedded On The Go

Google’s Project Jacquard enables interactive technology to be woven into any textile. The tech giant has announced it’s partnering with Levi’s to create connected, interactive garments that combine the authentic feel and durability of denim with embedded technology that allows the wearer to interact with mobile devices in unprecedented ways. Scheduled for release in 2017, the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket is designed to enable bicycle commuters to wirelessly control mobile devices through gestures and touch.

Jacquard is a conductive fabric technology developed by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group. Tiny components and conductive yarns attached to connectors and circuits allow the wearer to seamlessly interact with embedded technology. The fabric wirelessly transmits touch and gesture data to mobile devices, allowing users to control apps, manage calls, and use other smartphone features.

Jacquard yarns and fabrics can be produced using standard equipment already in use in mills around the world, and the fabric looks and feels just like the fabric consumers already wear every day. Fashion designers can use Jacquard in any garment without any knowledge of technology. This level of versatility means there is essentially no limit to who can use Jacquard in their designs, nor to the types of clothing that can be created.

From Physiology To Physicality

The possibilities of the intersection of wearable technology and fashion design don’t stop at wireless interaction with mobile devices. While most wearables detect physiology, BeBop’s smart fabrics sense physicality: presence, movement, weight, shape, force, location, and size. These measures are rendered as 3D maps of pressure, bend, location, rotation, angle, and torsion. The Berkeley, California-based company’s fabric contains embedded sensors, traces, and electronics using their proprietary Monolithic Fabric Sensor Technology. The only known viable fabric with these capabilities, it is also durable, lightweight, thin, washable, and more affordable than other sensor technologies.

BeBop’s main vertical is the automotive market, with applications in autonomous cars, safety, HMI (Human Machine Interfaces), and OCS (Occupant Classification System required for better airbag performance). BeBop’s other active markets are consumer health and IoT (Internet of things). With over a million sensors in daily use and $5 million in funding secured this month, BeBop’s smart fabric sensor technology has potential applications in almost every type of industry.

With a 67% increase in sales in the past year, wearables are one of the biggest emerging technology markets. As technologies become embedded into the very fabric of the clothing we wear, the potential for innovative and inspiring wearable tech apparel is unlimited. Powerful collaborations between fashion designers and product developers, component makers, electrical engineers, investors, medical device developers, textile manufacturers, and others will dramatically change the function of fashion in years to come.

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American Apparel Crowdsourcing New Products

Los Angeles-based fashion company launches crowdsourcing campaign to discover new product ideas.

As one of the largest apparel manufacturers in North America, American Apparel has made its mark on the fashion industry with its anti-sweatshop values, entirely made-in-USA manufacturing, and controversial ad campaigns. The company’s new “Made In” crowdsourcing campaign calls for vendor submissions of new American-made accessories to be sold in its retail stores and online.

American Apparel crowdsourcing“Made In” is seeking submissions of leather goods, canvas goods, footwear, jewelry, paper goods, fragrances, and small home furnishings. Products must be made in the USA, priced at $100 or less, and vendors must be able to ship 500 units in a 30-day period. Vendors may submit their products for consideration by uploading an up to 60-second video to American Apparel’s website. Submissions are due June 17.

American Apparel opened its downtown Los Angeles factory in 2000, a seven-story 800,000-square-foot facility where it produces more than 55,000 products. The company has seen major highs and lows, from being on Inc.’s 2005 list of the 500 fastest-growing U.S. companies, to ousting its controversial founder and CEO Dov Charney in 2014, and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015. American Apparel is faced with turning around a company challenged by financial losses and leadership upheaval, and its “Made In” crowdsourcing campaign is an effort to revitalize its offerings while supporting small US accessory manufacturing projects.

While American Apparel must cut costs as part of its turnaround strategy — according to the Los Angeles Times, experts say the company may eventually move all of its manufacturing to another U.S. region where production costs are less — the company continues its commitment to American apparel manufacturing. Senior vice president of marketing Cynthia Erland says, “We want to continue to support manufacturing in the U.S. by giving small businesses the opportunity to thrive and succeed.”

 

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Blue Jean Baby, LA Label

What difference does Indie Source make for its clients? We asked Blue Jean Baby’s Lola Rogers.

Lola Rogers gives us a real world look into how Indie Source delivers on its commitment to designers developing and producing their lines in Los Angeles. Lola has a commitment to Made In USA and a passion for the success of her eclectic and inspiring brand, Blue Jean Baby. In our interview, she reveals how partnering with Indie Source is making the difference in having it all come together beautifully.

Tell us about your line and what sets it apart.

Blue Jean Baby is the name of our line. My sister, Taylor, and I are from Texas, where the American classic – blue jeans – are a staple from farm girls to fashion girls alike! We love the easy going, care free vibe that a pair of blue jeans give to an outfit, but we have also always been drawn to luxurious fabrics that make up vintage lingerie, like silks and lace. Our line is a combination of these elements. We curate vintage as well as manufacture our own line.

A big part of our vintage line is our denim, predominately Levi’s 501’s, 505’s, and 517’s, but we also pick up Wrangler, Lee’s and any other unique looking denim we find when pulling vintage. The redline and selvedge Levi’s, we sell as is, in order to keep that authenticity, as some are from as early as the 1930’s. The later era denim, we rework with patches, embroidery, rosettes, etc. Our rework process is constantly evolving and it’s a lot of fun!

for-web-vintage1On the other side of things is our capsule collection, a vintage-modern twist on classic pieces like the slip dress, slip camisole, wide leg trousers, blazer with shoulder pads and a contrast hem, ruffle bloomer shorts, and a muscle tee. Our line is predominately silk, with a few cotton and rayons thrown in the mix. It is also all ivory, a simple neutral that we love because it can mix with anything … especially denim!

We love clothes that feel soft and easy, so that’s what we aim to create. Our Spring/Summer 16 line is mostly made from washed silks, linen, and cotton. We will continue to put an emphasis on quality fabric, as we believe that is what will set us apart from competing brands. High-quality fabrics are timeless.

We’re curating vintage, which we sell on Etsy currently, and once our line is being manufactured, we’re going to launch our vintage on our site, as well as our line. We’re hoping to open a storefront in Texas in the next year or so, and in the meantime we’re planning some pop-up shops in malls around Texas and possibly the LA area. We’re hoping to get on the festival scene or even get an airstream truck to sell our line on the road. We’ve done Flea Style in Houston and Dallas with our vintage collection and received a great response.

Who is your target customer?

Our customer is your laid back all-American girl who is inspired by culture, art, and music. She’s always down to try new things and meet new people because through these experiences she learns, finds new passions, and falls in love with what the world has to offer. On the other hand, she feels most at home in a pair of blue jeans and a white t-shirt.

Blue Jean Baby will be a fusion of exactly that. Our vintage Levi’s are a focal point of our brand because they are a base on which any style can be built, like the first coat on a canvas.

for-web-me&tay-copyWho or what inspired you to create your line? 

Growing up with a very fashionable and creative mama – although she would probably tell me not to say that – and we learned a lot from her sense of style! She was always re-decorating our house and we would tag along to vintage shops around Dallas finding amazing pieces of furniture, sometimes she would re-cover chairs, or re-work vintage furniture. As we got older, we developed our own taste in vintage clothing and loved the adventure of finding new shops, scavenging for the best pieces, etc. We knew from a young age that we would love to have our own store.

We are most inspired by the craftsmanship of vintage clothing; the delicacy, quality, and thought put in are impressive. As customers, that matters to us. So, we want to deliver that same standard with our clothes.

What is your fashion background and what type of work were you involved in before developing your line?

I went to college at Arizona State University, and Taylor went to Texas State University. After I graduated, I went on to FIDM because I wanted to learn everything about the fashion industry. My first job out of college was at Topson Downs of California, a large scale manufacturer in Culver City. I was doing accessory design and development as well as sourcing for a 20 person design team, in multiple divisions. Working at Topson really gave me the tools and confidence to begin the basics of design, which starts with conceptualizing the line, and sourcing the right fabrics and trims.

Taylor went on to work in retail at Aritzia in the Chicago area, and I went to work for Versace after I left my job at Topson. Once we’d gained substantial knowledge in multiple aspects of the industry, we felt prepared to take on this adventure of our own line, Blue Jean Baby.

for-web-boutique-neonWhat stage are you at in the development process?

As far as our capsule collection goes, we are in the last stages of the development process, which is so exciting! As far as designing and sampling and getting everything right, the process is not quick, most the time things need a second sampling, as it’s hard to get everything just right. Even the smallest details cannot be overlooked to bring together a precise and inspired collection that flows just right. We should have all our complete and perfected samples done by the end of this week. From there, we’re going to do our photo shoot, look book and then we’re going into production.

With our vintage line, the development process is never really complete, because each piece is one of a kind, it requires constant searching for the right pieces. We have reliable sources for most items at this point, but there are always more places to scour! The embroidery on denim trend is really hot right now, so we’ve had a great response to that, but we try to be innovative and fresh, so we’re never really done finding new ways to rework those pieces.

What challenges did you face before working with Indie Source? How has Indie Source made a difference for your success?

We just started conceptualizing our line and brand as a whole around October 2015. So once we knew we wanted to start with smaller runs, we began looking for a boutique full product manufacturer in the Los Angeles area, as Made in USA is a crucial aspect of our line. We visited with a few, and Indie Source just stood out.

Our first meeting with Emily was great, she was able to answer all the questions we had and calm any fears we expressed to her, all the while being extremely down to earth and easy going! It felt like a great fit.

It has been amazing to work with a team that is
really just there for us, isn’t too pushy, and has been willing to both collaborate and completely sit back and let us do our thing. Having done sourcing for one of my previous jobs, it was really important to me that I was able to collaborate in this aspect- and when I expressed this, they did not hesitate to meet this expectation. I was able to spend a morning sourcing alongside Nara, which allowed me to assure that she understood what exactly I was looking for. Some places won’t give you the time to work with them side by side like that.

So the biggest challenge in designing and developing a great line is always going to be time. Everyone is always going to wish there was more time in the day to get everything necessary done, especially when you’re working with different sources that all must work together to get one style done. Our project manager, Jennifer, has played a huge role in keeping us organized and on track. Having someone like her assures that little parts of the process, like care labels and hangtags, that can easily be overlooked in the craziness of creating and developing a line, are completed and ordered on time.

As far as production, we are just getting started, but I know that having someone work out our costing, is a huge, huge plus for us. Building our brand is the most important thing to us, but making money is obviously what we came here to do. So having someone we trust to crunch those numbers and assure that we are on track is a big factor for us.

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Is there anything you would have done differently?

The only thing we think we can improve on is just timing. When we decided to actually do this thing, we were in between seasons and new to the whole process, so we were designing with a certain season in mind and ended up having to adapt and change certain things to meet deadlines and ensure our product will hit the market at the ideal time to sell. When you are a creative mind, things can kind of take off in the direction of your art, but in the end, this is a money game, and staying on track is essential!

What has been the best surprise along your journey so far?

I think just the genuine response we’ve gotten from friends, family, and our vintage buyers thus far, has been the biggest victory! Having sorority sisters, and old friends reach out telling me they have told boutique owners about us, and not only that, but that they have gotten great responses, has been unbelievable!

 

for-web-neonWhat advice would you give to aspiring designers?

Follow your dreams! The marketplace may seem intimidating these days, everything is oversaturated and there is seemingly endless competition but staying true to YOU is what will set you apart from the crowd. You have an idea that you think is brilliant and you start Googling and you see it’s already been done. Fashion is always going to be a “knock off”. There’s no new silhouette you can come up with; everything’s been done. It’s all about putting your own flair on things. Confidence is key. My sister and I were very nervous at our fist show and the more you’re in the moment and making things happen and hearing people respond to things, it changes everything 100 percent. You have to just start doing it.

Not feeling the pressure to know it all is important. My dad was CEO of a company and he would say, “I don’t look to hire people who I’m smarter than; I want to hire people who are smarter than me”. He wanted to bring people onto his team who could teach him things and provide a new, fresh point of view.” That gave me a lot of insight. In my first meetings I felt nervous and shy about not knowing everything. But I realized the reason for working with other people is to learn and hear their ideas and get inspired from that. Knowing your strengths, and knowing when to sit back and listen to other people is key.

Everyone is afraid, no matter what people say. It’s scary to invest in yourself sometimes, but that’s the best thing you can do. Take the time to learn as much as you can before you go out on that limb, but there is no way you can know everything. Once you take that leap, you learn that you must be willing to adapt and learn as you go. Things will be thrown at you and you will be forced to make big decisions, but you will rise to the occasion, I promise!

540 300 Jesse Dombrowiak

Why Made In USA Matters

Indie Source enables independent designers to produce fashion lines that are made in the USA. But why?

For Indie Source, “Made in USA” is much more than a label or marketing tagline. The loss of American clothing manufacturing jobs to low-wage overseas factories has been harmful to workers, communities, and the environment. In addition to being a powerful resource for designers to develop and produce their lines, Indie Source is committed to reviving American clothing manufacturing and, along with it, creating skilled, well-paying jobs for domestic workers while influencing a move away from cheaply-made and cheaply-paid fast fashion.

During the 1960’s, about 95% of the clothing worn in the US was made domestically. The decline of US manufacturing has hit one industry hardest: clothing. Today, 97 percent of apparel and 98 percent of shoes sold in the U.S. are made overseas, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association. The loss of domestic apparel manufacturing jobs has diminished what was once an in-demand trade that allowed Americans to support their families. More than jobs, an entire skill set has nearly gone extinct as most American sewers, cutters, and patternmakers are in their 70’s and 80’s. Bringing clothing manufacturing jobs back the the US brings with it the rise of a new generation of skilled garment professionals and revitalizes a highly specialized trade.

While clothing produced cheaply overseas provides a ready source of low-cost garments for American consumers, the proliferation of apparel manufacturing jobs has harmful effects in developing countries. Garment factories compete for business by constantly undercutting each other’s prices, which continuously drives workers’ wages down while pushing productivity demands up. Worker safety is often ignored as factory management prioritizes production above all else. On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,100 people. This disaster brought the plight of third world garment workers into the public eye. With constant downward pressure on wages, as well as negligible safety and environmental regulations, the rise of apparel manufacturing in developing nations exacerbates poverty, worker deaths, and environmental destruction, even while creating more jobs.

Watch the 2015 documentary The True Cost to see a fascinating and frightening expose on the massive outsourcing of US garment manufacturing to developing countries and its impact on quality of life, safety, and environmental conditions around the world.

Indie Source is proud to be part of the Made in USA movement and we look forward to making a positive impact in the lives of clothing designers, tradespeople, communities, and consumers for years to come!

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