Fashion

new fashion line
1024 683 Jesse Dombrowiak

How to guarantee demand for your new fashion line

L.C. was my favorite alum on the MTV reality television series, Laguna Beach. I looked forward to each new episode every week. The drama was tantalizing and addictive. Yet, I watched mostly to see what the kids were wearing and trying to figure out what the next hot trend would be.

During the Laguna Beach/The Hills run, Lauren Conrad, known as L.C., put together runway shows for charities while still in high school. Years later, Lauren became a big name in fashion with her new fashion line. She sells her designs at department stores like Kohl’s. Quite the accomplishment!

Living the designer lifestyle can be exciting and lucrative, but starting a new fashion line takes money, traveling in the right circles, and talent. For the young, entrepreneuring designers of today, it’s not as “easy” as it was for Lauren, but it IS possible! If you’re ready to start today, we have a quick and dirty cheat sheet that’ll help you get started for development.

With a little talent, ingenuity and a lot of hard work, the dream CAN become reality. So, where do you start?

1. RESEARCH THE MARKETPLACE

When you want to start a new fashion line, from shoes to under garments to hats, you have to first and foremost, know your market.

Knowing your market entails researching trends and market powers. Most importantly, it means understanding who your ideal customer is. For whom do you want to design? Which customers are you targeting?

Knowing your target customer helps you determine the following:

  • Price
  • Design
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Distribution

So, who is your target customer? Understanding your customer’s demographics goes hand in hand with determining your marketing strategy. Think:

  • Age
  • Income Level
  • Profession
  • Geographic Location
  • Shopping Habits
  • Interests & Hobbies

IF YOU DESIGN IT, WILL THEY COME?

Lauren Conrad lived in an area that lent itself to developing major trends. She was able to play this into her marketing strategy. Younger, impressionable customers looked to the West Coast for the next fashion trends and she grew up in an affluent neighborhood, which definitely played an important part in her success.

She lived within her market base and her following on MTV was huge. Her marketing strategy was built from her own backyard. To be that lucky!

If you don’t live in a fashion metropolis, how do you research and find potential customers? Here are a few ideas:

  • Google your product and analyze competitors
  • Check subreddits
  • Talk to people
  • Follow relevant social media brands and personalities
  • Shop (online or offline)
  • Go where your customers frequent, i.e. clubs, music festivals, beaches, business districts

UNDERSTAND THE BRAND OF YOUR NEW FASHION LINE

One of the best ways to find customers is to actually go shopping! Go to the stores that reflect your style and where you would love to sell your line. Observe everything from the actual customers to the showroom floor. Visualize your product in the store.

Focus on your brand’s personality. Here’s how:

  • Imagine staking your claim in the market – where do you fit in?
  • Find your unique selling position (what do you have that they don’t)
  • Give your brand/product a personality:
    • Simple or Extravagant?
    • Bookworm or Sexy?
    • Serious or Goofy?
    • Modest or Over-the-top?
    • Outdoorsy or Corporate?
    • Dry or Flamboyant?

Describe your line as you would a person. Give it a personality!

KNOW THE COMPETITION FOR YOUR NEW FASHION LINE

Knowing your competition inside and out will help you define your line. As with all things, keep an open mind and look at everything from different perspectives. Find out what works and what doesn’t and why.

Analyze, analyze, analyze!

Look at these aspects:

  • What are your competitors doing well?
  • What are they doing poorly?
  • How do they position themselves?
  • How do they market themselves, i.e. look at:
    • Their business model 
    • How they target customers 
    • How they advertise

Visit their blog or subscribe to their newsletter. Keep them in your sights and you’ll have a leg up on your competition.

THINK QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY

When starting out and finances are tight, keep your collection pieces to a minimum. Instead of creating 20 pieces, stick to 5-10 pieces, maybe even 3-5.Less is more. If you make too many of a product and it doesn’t sell, you’re out the money and your shelves are filled with stale product. As with all businesses, it will take a good season or two to create your best collection and you don’t want to go all out before you’ve tested the market.

Keep your collection and marketing fresh and current. Building a win-win relationship with buyers is crucial, so keep your line fresh and moving. They don’t want to see the same pieces over and over, any more than you want overstock that doesn’t sell. Stay smart, stay fresh and don’t over-produce.

PLAY TO YOUR AUDIENCE

Talk to your customers and test in small batches. Lauren Conrad already had an audience in high school, through television exposure and parents with deep pockets. It worked for her and that’s cool, but most of us do not have that luxury.

You want to create products that excite people. A line that they are willing to max out their credit cards for. (Been there, done that!)

You want something that resonates with your audience and totally engages them. Communicate with your customers through:

    • Brand Ambassadors
    • Social media advertising
    • Sampling events

It’s better to lose $100 finding out that a product doesn’t work, then to spend $10,000 on producing a product that doesn’t sell and sits in the storeroom.

Two ideas that can really help and are smart moves:

  • Convince a retail shop to carry your samples
  • Give out gift cards/promotional goods to consumers for taking surveys on your product
  • Test 1-2 sponsored posts with influencers to see what happens
  • Run $100 in ads on social media to see if your product resonate with customers – and start meanwhile experimenting with digital marketing

RESEARCH, START SMALL, AND TEST YOUR NEW FASHION LINE

Minimize risk by testing the market and learning about your consumers. Two designers tell you how they create successful lines.

Fashion designer Meir Yamin of Donatella Dress goes for the vibrant colors, embellishments, and sophistication that would come out of the Kardashians, bringing out the celebrity persona in everyone.

He believes in testing designs by showing samples to customers and getting any feedback that will direct and promotes an upcoming collection.

The fashion design house, ICTZN, uses social media campaigns to test markets abroad, including:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest (my favorite)
  • Blogs

They also use:

  • Short video posts
  • Online competitions
  • Videos of their fashion shows
  • Behind-the scenes footage

They use this guerilla marketing technique, which is a low cost, unconventional way to create buzz about a potentially killer new fashion line. It’s online marketing at its best. The key thing is to research, smart small, and test.

Finally, there are crowdfunding campaigns. If you think your product is incredibly unique, you might have a shot at building some early buzz. Kickstarter is one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms for creative and artistic projects.

Here you can, according to Jake Joseph, who ran a successful campaign for men’s underwear on Kickstarter, “genuinely understand your audience while developing an approach to providing them with a highly unique outcome.”

BUILD ON THE SUCCESS OF YOUR NEW FASHION LINE

Start by following some of the examples here and, along with your talent and hard work, you’ll be able to grow a line that may even rival Lauren Conrad’s someday! If you’re ready to get going, download our quick and dirty cheat sheet that’ll help you get started for development.

We can all dream, can’t we?!

Sure, and nothing is impossible with the right marketing technique and hard work! Pound that runway, research your intended market, and know your customers. The customer is always right!

540 300 Jesse Dombrowiak

Crowdfunding: One Way to Finance Your New Clothing Line

Among the many doctor and actor aspirations, lays an ambition many are not equipped to start: creating their own business. As many startups 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 crowdfunding 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 crowdfunding 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 “Crowdfunding 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. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are terrific platforms 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 crowdfunded 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 crowdfunding campaign and we’re now in production – product to be completed January 2017

540 300 Jesse Dombrowiak

Meet Indie Source Trim Specialist: Johnny Quintero

This 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 specialist, 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

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:

 

logo

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


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