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American Manufacturing

540 300 Jesse Dombrowiak

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.

jakejosephco

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

540 300 Jesse Dombrowiak

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.”

 

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!

Jesse Dombrowiak

Production minimums….wait…what?

Production minimums are the smallest number of units that a manufacturer can (or is willing) to go into production on. Most manufacturers set their minimums by body style and color way. For example, at Indie Source our production minimums for most custom work is 250 units per style, per color. This means that a crop top in maroon jersey fabric will require 250 units or a mens french terry sweatshirt in blue will require 250 units. These units can then be graded and divided into any number of sizes that the client requires.

Why do we do this?

While there are many things that go into this calculation such as fabric minimums, sewing minimums, etc. the main reason manufacturers need to set a production bar is to protect themselves. There is an inherent setup cost for a manufacturer whether they are running 100 units or 10,000 units. That cost is absorbed (in most cases) by the manufacturer and divided by the total number of units.

Using this same example, lets say the setup cost is $500. This could come from the cost of sourcing fabrics, sourcing trims, gathering artwork, making patterns/samples, and collaboration with the brand to understand exactly what they need.

If we divide $500/100 units, then there is a $5 per unit cost for each item to be made before any profit is calculated (manufacturers actually need to make a profit to stay in business). This does not even take into account the COGS (cost of goods sold) like fabric, trims, and printing materials let alone costs for labor and quality control.

Alternatively if the order is 10,000 units we’ll divide $500/10,000 = $.05 This is much more manageable for a manufacturer to absorb.

The trick here is finding a balance. Everyday there are thousands of new designers eager to go to market. Our goal is to afford them the least amount of risk as possible while still maintaining a business model that keeps our doors open. The more designers and new brands can understand the challenges of manufacturers the easier collaboration between us will become. We love to see new brands thrive and want to support them whether they come to Indie Source or go elsewhere. Good luck!!

Jesse Dombrowiak

From Design To Production: Starting a Fashion Line

The public relations team at Indie Source asked me to explain in basic terms what Indie Source does. There is a good understanding in the world about what other industries do to make their finished product but, little understanding as to all of the work that goes into fashion from design to production.

Starting a fashion line begins with a vision to build a fashion house and brand which is much like building a house, your dream house. The difference between building a house and a fashion house is not much different but, the finished product and know how that are used to build the fashion house are longer term and require more information, education and team building than building a home. An architect alone cannot build a house. He can draw up the vision, lay out the plans but, then he needs a team to actually build the house.

A fashion designer is an architect and engineer of fabric, drawings and history. A fashion designer combines their knowledge of history with their inspiration for a collection designed on mood boards with fabric selections and then designs a full collection. The collection is made of croquis sketches which show the designs and illustrations that are loose interpretations of the design. From there, a designer will need to draw technical flats with specific measurements to create a pattern block and a pattern to go into production. Often, the process is lengthy and not all designers know what a tech pack is or why it is needed. It is also important to understand through the design process the production calendars and timelines so product is delivered on time and in season for buyers to buy at market and editors to publish before market for customers to buy. This is where Indie Source comes in.

As a full service development and production manufacturer, Indie Source provides all the details that designers need to see their designs and dreams come to life. Production is a complex process that like building a house, requires a good team of people. A designer (architect), construction manager (project manager) who manages budgets and timelines, building manager (textiles and fabric production) who sources materials and insures their delivery for construction, and of course, construction (pattern makers and graders, cutters and sewers). Indie Source is a designer’s dream team bringing designers drawings to life and allowing the designer to live the independent life they love. For more information on our services or a price quote on production and public relations please e-mail: info@indiesource.com

Get social with us and follow our social media.

Instagram: @indie_source

Twitter: @indie_source

Facebook:www.facebook.com/IndieSourceApparel

Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is architecture,” and she was right. It is the architecture of building a long lasting vision from brand to consumer. With the production and public relations built with Indie Source one collection and each season at a time with high American made quality control standards, your designs and brand will be built on a strong foundation enabling it to last through time with the changes in fashion while creating a style and lasting vision of your own.

The production team looks forward to hearing from you and answering your questions to get your vision started from start to finish, season after season. We deliver independence to independents, one design into production at a time.

@oliviapalermo #fashion #style #blogger #designer

@oliviapalermo #fashion #style #blogger #designer

150 150 Jesse Dombrowiak

International Clothing Line Shares about Creating Apparel

As one of the exhibitors of Magic Marketweek Feb 2014, Indie Source, got a chance to meet with Founders, Sheena Gao and Laura Krusemark from the brand International Citizen (i.CTZN), who was also awarded as being “Best Emerging Designer,” for Magic Marketweek’s 2012. We wanted to sit down with i.CTZN to hear more about their personal story on creating an apparel line with global appeal that is unifying various cultures from around the world. Here we got the scoop from some eclectic ladies that have some interesting strategies and techniques to share with aspiring designers. Our interview is as follows:

 

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Q: Please tell our professional network at Indie Source how the brand of International Citizen came about? What was the brainchild behind iCTZN?

A: After 15 years of working in Apparel Product Development with some of the leading retailers in the U.S., as well as mentoring many talented designers from Europe, Asia, and U.S.A., I decided I had the perfect opportunity to launch a fashion line, something I had been wanting to do for a long time. Along with my talented friend, fellow fashion designer Laura Krusemark, we formed International Citizen Design House, LLC also known as International Citizen [i.CTZN]. The brand is based on inspiration from both of our passions for world travel and fashion.

 

Q: So, how do you take an idea and concept that spans world-wide, meant to unify all cultures, and develop an apparel line that reaches a broad spectrum of individuals to create mass appeal? What type of research did you both do before going into production with your line, so you knew you would attain a global desirability for your brand?

A:  From our world travels, we’ve realized there is a niche market for our unique style that blends cultural details into the garments.  We incorporate these cultures and countries by showing their flags as patches or screen-print calligraphy in different languages but all with a universal style that is comfortable to wear and easy for travel.

 

Q: Is there a particular age demographic for iCTZN? If so, can you please tell us more about your target consumers and who you feel are the buyers of your brand of clothing and why?

 A:  Our demographic is between the ages of 28 and 48. We target a middle to upper class individual that has a strong level of education, works in the creative field, is inspired by travel, international cuisine, music and learning about the cultures of others. Our clothing stands out clearly from other brands and the demographic we cater to is always excited when they get to touch and feel our product. Its all about getting in front of the right people, at volume.

 

Q: Is i.CTZN currently abroad in any specialty stores that are located in foreign markets? If so, how were you able to tap into those markets? Please give our network some solid tips to break into certain markets based on some of your personal experiences of being in the industry in regards to building iCTZN’s brand on an international level?

A:  Yes, we are currently carried in stores in Tokyo, Japan and have lots of interest from Germany, Spain and France as well as Canada. We were able to find these buyers by doing trade shows such as MAGIC.  We find the best way to break into the market and find new buyers is by doing these trade shows…as many as possible for the best exposure. We have also done fashion shows and been featured in magazines which helps for the branding and exposure, but for actual sales, tradeshows have been the most valuable.

 

Q: If you are physically not in markets abroad, does i.CTZN produce a lot of online sales on a global level; and if so, what type of online marketing have you done to be effective in gaining an online presence of followers to promote sales abroad?

A: We have our website online and we also promote and sell on Amazon and Etsy which are both Internationally known sites.  We also have followers on our Facebook fan page, Twitter, our blog, Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest – all of these sites provide international exposure and allow us to have more the most reach.

 

Q: Where is iCTZN housed, where can consumers purchase your clothing– in stores locally here within the US and online, and how did you connect with the owners and boutiques of some of these stores?

A: We are based out of West Hollywood and consumers can purchase our current inventory on Etsy.  However, we predominately focus on wholesale to buyers for retailers.  Most all of these storeowners have met us through doing trade shows such as MAGIC.

 

Q: Can you please share with Indie Source and our followers some current projects that i.CTZN is involved in that our professional network of followers would be interested in hearing about, so we could keep an eye out and promote iCTZN with these endeavors?

A:    We will be showing with RAW Artists fashion show coming up on April 13th in Hollywood and also working on partnership and licensing with Paramount Pics.  Please follow our progress on our Facebook fan page, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates and news on International Citizen’s events.

 

Q: Since the world is so big, how do you strategize and determine what destinations to hit up first, and what are specifically some pre-marketing tests that you perform to do some of the analytics to verify if i.CTZN’s clothing will be well received in various countries abroad?

A: We have worked with a marketing company in Spain, who have recommended testing our product in fashion capitals such as Berlin, Milan, Barcelona and London. We have discussed a gorilla style marketing technique(s) to introduce the brand to their markets and see how well received they are.  In our four year experience, our feedback from European countries as well as Asian countries have been very positive so I know we would have a good customer following there.

 

Q: Lastly, what does i.CTZN mean to you and what type of lasting impression do you want i.CTZN to have within the industry of the world of fashion and for your consumers?

A: We are dedicated to promoting the power of universal oneness and creating openness between cultures and countries through unique men’s and women’s fashion. We hope we can continue to represent this vision and create a lasting impression within the world of fashion for many years to come.

International Citizen Apparel

International Citizen Apparel


150 150 Jesse Dombrowiak

“Made In America” What does it mean?

The “Made in America” claim is used describe the extent of a product’s US origin. Although the reasons may vary, the steps for obtaining an “American Made” certification are very simple and straightforward. You must first fill out an online form with the Made in America brand, self-certify that you meet the requirements of displaying a “Made in America” certification, and get accredited by the brand. The major requirements are:

1. You must be able to prove that your company has been in operation for 12+ months.

2. You must make a product or service that is all, or almost entirely made in  America in accordance to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) definition of “Made in America.”

3. You must retain evidence that your product will continue to be made/produced/assembled in America (that is, you must prove you will continue to be eligible for the certification).

4. You must provide exceptional services and produce well-made goods.

5. You must pay an annual licensing fee based on your company’s annual revenue.

There are four separate “Made in America” certifications which describe the amount of American materials that the product was made with. The minimum is a “51% American Made” credential, the next highest being 75%, then 90%, and then 100% American-made. The percentage is determined by several factors, including where the final manufacturing step/assembly/processing took place and what materials make up the components of the final product. The FTC requires that, specifically for apparel, the final product must be manufactured in the United States, of fabric that was manufactured in America (regardless of where the raw materials to make the fabric came from). Even if a garment is made of raw components that originated in America, it is not considered “American made” if it was manufactured outside of the US because the raw materials are considered too far removed from the final product to have bearing on where it originated.

If your product does not qualify for a “Made in America” seal (ie, your product is made of 50% or less American materials or was not fully manufactured in America), you can apply for a qualified claim certification. There are declarative certifications (for example, “Made with American materials and assembled in another country” or “Made from American steel”) and comparative ones (“Made with 20% more American materials than our leading competitor”). This is a clever technique that can help a brand showcase its desire to be “Made in America” without having all the requirements met.

The awareness for “Made in America”  is growing. This initiative has many domestic backers, and more and more money is being spent promoting this idea. Now is the time to consider domestic apparel manufacturing. Let Indie Source show you why “American Made” has great branding capabilities.

 

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