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Brand Interview

540 300 Jesse Dombrowiak

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

540 300 Jesse Dombrowiak

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!

Jesse Dombrowiak

Interview with Production Manager of Electric Yoga

You. Are. Electric. This slogan is found on Electric Yoga’s website and definitely describes the feeling woman will feel while wearing one of their pieces. Customers are deemed as “electrifiers” according to owner, designer and master yogi Michelle Bohbot. Bohbot opened Electric Yoga in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles with her daughter, Stephanie Bohbot, with the purpose to combine modern fashion and function to each of their pieces. Each of these characteristics are evident when browsing their online store. Leggings feature bright colors and unique designs with the perfect mix of Nylon and Spandex. Accessories, outerwear, tops and bottoms are also sold in their store It also helps that Michelle Bohbot was previously a fashion designer for 20 years with Bisou Bisou. Indie Source conducted an interview with the daughter Stephanie Bohbot, who is the production manager at Electric Yoga. Read on for Stephanie’s view of how she produces their successful line. www.electricyoga.comIMG_0952

Interview conducted by Laura Stone

Q1: I see you are a production manager for Electric Yoga. Why did you decide to work for Electric Yoga?

A1: I believed in the line and its potential. The colors were different. The patterns were sexy, but most of all the bras were supportive! I knew the line was heading in the right direction.

Q2: What are the day-to-day duties of a production manager? How would you describe the lifestyle?

A2: Constantly meeting with different factories. Attending trade shows and expos to see what are the latest trends.

Q3: What is the most challenging part of what you do, and how have you been prepared or have prepared yourself to tackle it during the day-to-day?

A3: Being organized. I was very disorganized and in order to succeed in production, you must keep every file and document every change. Files within files needed to be made. Once I figured that out, my life as a production manager came together and I was able to work more efficiently!

Q4: What do you wish you had known before getting into fashion production?

A4: How organized you have to be. I wish I was trained on being organized.

Q5: What advice would you give for people trying to start their careers as production managers, or any other part of a fashion production team?

A5: That you must believe in the products and that you have to wear every item to decide what changes should be made and go from there.

Q6: You have your line manufactured in the United States. What are the advantages of this?

A6: The quality is amazing. The feel of the material is luxurious. You don’t see sweat marks. Every item either has a dual function or is super detailed and catered to the woman who is active.

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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


Jesse Dombrowiak

Onzie Yoga Apparel; Q&A w/ Founder Kimberly Swarth

More than two decades ago, Yoga became a lifestyle practice for Kimberly Swarth and with it, the driving force of her business. Swarth has another milestone coming for her next year; she is coming into motherhood. Now that the Onzie brand, pronounced OWN-zee, has been well loved within the culture of fitness and training, she takes most of her work / life balance along with her vision, in the most wonderful humor. “My brand will pierce the heavens” could easily be her mantra—and until today, her thriving L.A business has been her baby. Swarth shares her wit and wisdom with Indie Source in an exclusive interview.

Q: Are you just the woman behind the Onzie brand, or are you part of an out-front effort to manufacture a holistic line of active wear?

A: We have really created this business as a team here. In terms of creating the brand, I feel that the people who are here with us have created it—this brand is not even really me anymore. We have created a workplace culture, a powerful all female crew with an entity of its own.

Q: How did your team come into being?

A: Each person here came to us in a different way, there was not a usual hiring process, everyone is so unique and brings a piece to the puzzle—each one an individual in our community that has built us into the company we are today.

Q: Who is the woman behind the Onzie brand? How would you describe her? Who is she and how does your brand pay tribute to her?

A: On our Instagram there are hundreds of photographs of this woman—this woman that is dedicated to the practice, very dedicated to her workout and she is proud of her own health. The Onzie woman is all of these things; she is like a goddess. Our site shows her in so many forms, she is healthy and she is glowing in all of her beauty. With our product, we aspire to match that goddess concept—in both femininity and strength.

 

Q: Beauty in strength is also a hard-fought win. The Onzie woman has worked hard to evolve and to strengthen her form through meditation and stamina. In what ways has your business done the same?

A: In our organization, my mother, has been doing Bikram Yoga for now, 25-years. It all started with her. Bikram Yoga is done in a heated room of about 100 degrees. Back in the 90s, you worked out in a leotard. You sweat so much that you had to wear a one-piece garment and we started playing around with a mix of different colors for that initial piece—sort of like a onesie—a classic piece for practicing yoga was at the center of our design. We made a word play off of it and pronounced it OWN-zee, and all we were making was a leotard at the time—we liked how the word looked, and then it took off.

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Q: So, you set out to put an end to the plain black yoga wear?

A: Yeah, I guess we did. Four-years ago people were not doing color like this. There were no prints for yoga. It was subdued an pastel, calming and quiet. The Kundalini woman was soft, draped in white fabric. She was not letting her higher-self shine through. Today there are many other expressions of exercise and we wanted our line to really let the practice match the experience and all of that color brings.

 

 

 

Q: So, is it safe to assume that you all practice yoga. How have you utilized the principles of yoga practice in your own business?

A: Yes. We do. My staff here, they are all dedicated to their own workouts. The health and wellbeing of our minds is something we practice in our business as well. Our roots are in Bikram Yoga and hot yoga. Dedication, endurance, and determination are huge in our business. At its core—what makes it work— we are sometimes too dedicated—but we have really worked as a team to achieve our goals together and stay strong. We have a Rock star authenticity, All of us here, we are all determined to get that high that comes with doing something really well, and that helps us all to be focused.

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Q: How do you decide what to manufacture in your line? Who makes the decisions as to the growth and the look of your brand?

A: The Bikram Yogi was always a bit flashier, a bit more whimsy; we want that to be live in our brand. What’s the most important to us is that we are making a killer fabrication—the product is key—there are so many different products out there, we have stayed really true to our core— and for the price-point that is required for accessibility of our clothes. All of our decisions are made around that truth.

 

Q: You have celebrity interest in your designs—in the funky prints and ‘mod’ designs.  Even Lady Gaga wears Onzie. How did she find out about your clothing and come to take a selfie wearing one of your prints?

A: It is all, organic—it is through the yoga. She is actually an avid Bikram yogi and one of her teachers is connected to the brand and bought our stuff, and literally just rocked it in class. It was not just a PR thing. We don’t do anything like that. The clothing speaks for itself—it’s where a little bit of karma gets you, and a good product.

 

Q: Offer a bit of advice to aspiring designers here. What are the four things you can suggest to make a line a success?

A: I would say that they should have spirit; they need to know their customer well, and live the lifestyle to match their end user—and have some fun. It is also important to make your line accessible to people and an affordable part of their lives—make that a priority in your business and everything else around your commitment to your work will come natural.

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At Onzie, our philosophy is “keep your practice challenging, and your wardrobe simple!”

Indie Source makes premium apparel for clothing brands, then ensures those products make a big impact in the market. Learn more about how they support fashion brands with garment development, apparel manufacturing,  fashion sales and marketing at www.IndieSource.com  

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