Posts Tagged :

Made in America

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

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

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

Starting A Successful Made In USA Clothing Brand

Jim Snediker shares his take on how to start a successful clothing brand that’s made in the USA. The secret? Have something new to say, backed up with strong business basics.

A renaissance around Made In USA apparel is inspiring many designers to start businesses centered on domestically-manufactured clothing. But a Made in USA label alone won’t generate enough sales to achieve retail success. Hard work and expertise in branding, design, development, marketing, and manufacturing combined with offering your customer something new and unexpected in an enticing way … all this, plus a little bit of luck, are all keys to starting a successful Made In USA clothing brand.

Jim Snediker, owner of Chicago-based Stock Mfg. Co., distills his hard-won knowledge and experience about what it takes to succeed as a Made In USA brand in a post on the Maker’s Row blog.


“Why should people support domestic manufacturing?” Nearly every interview I take part in features that question, or some semblance of it. My answer to that is, you shouldn’t expect them to. If you aren’t saying something new or doing something unique, you need to re-examine your plan.

Building a Brand from the Ground Up

Starting A Successful Made In USA Clothing Brand - Indie Source

Indie Source – Los Angeles

I figure I should probably back up at this point and give you some background. I make clothing in Chicago. Well, I don’t personally, but the company I own does. My company, Stock Mfg. Co., is a men’s lifestyle brand that designs, develops, and manufactures every item of clothing we sell in America, the vast majority right here in our Chicago factory. Our factory is over 40 years old, and was started by the parents of one of my co-founders. Our founding team’s backgrounds consist of design, sourcing, development, retail buying, sales, marketing, and of course, manufacturing.

I’m not just a fan of the Made in America renaissance going on right now, I’m a very active participant and advocate, and one who has spent a large portion of his life over the last 2.5 years inside an actual factory. I’ve seen firsthand what it takes to start and build a clothing brand from the ground up. I’ve stayed overnight QC’ing shirts for an on-deadline shipment. I’ve dealt with die sets breaking snaps, fabric showing up damaged, buttons getting lost, and operators calling in sick for a week in the middle of a rush order (they’re all rush orders). I know the thrill of having a huge day of sales, and the crushing disappointment of just one customer having a bad experience.

Working out of a factory has also given me an upfront view of how many people get into this industry with absolutely no clue what it’s going to take to build a brand that is even remotely successful. Blaming ignorance isn’t entirely fair…we had absolutely no clue how hard it would be either. However, we started Stock with a clear reason of what differentiated us, why people would be interested in buying our stuff, and how we would go about selling. This is a step that I see a lot of aspiring makers skip.

Of course, things have changed and we’ve evolved over these two years, but the core mission of the brand has remained the same. We offer premium men’s clothing that is entirely made in the USA, and by bypassing traditional middlemen we offer it at a price point that is competitive with brands like J. Crew and Bonobos. We recognized that vertically integrating with a factory was a huge asset to us from both the branding and business sides of things, and we put a strategy in place to build a leading menswear brand on top of the history and heritage of our factory. For us, Made in USA was a differentiator, but not the sole defining characteristic of our brand. We knew there had to be more to our story than “We’re Made in America” if we wanted to build a brand that mattered.

What I’ve seen more of, even more than people wilting under the pressure of actually executing on the day-to-day grind of starting and building a brand, is people that think just because they’ve decided to start a clothing brand and slap a “Made in USA” label on there that they’re going to start selling hand over fist. The fact is, there’s a million “makers” out there doing the same thing as you, and most consumers are more inclined to shop at a fast fashion store, or spend big on a name brand. If your plan is to sell $195 oxford shirts, $150 leather wallets, or $90 polos with a bear embroidered on them because everyone on your lacrosse team called you Grizzly, you better be well connected, well funded, and really damn good. Or really lucky. Don’t underestimate luck.

The fact is, its very, very difficult to start a business, any kind of business, that even sniffs success. It’s a lot harder to start a clothing brand that isn’t really saying or showing anything new. Just doing what other people are already doing and hoping that’s going to be enough rarely ever is.

Starting A Successful Made In USA Clothing Brand - Indie Source

Indie Source – Los Angeles

 

What it Takes to Successfully Compete

That’s not to say in order to be successful you need to have disruptive price points, or a Stanford Business School Grad running the show. Brands like Rag & Bone, Engineered Garments, Todd Snyder and Junya Watanabe have gotten big based off a combination of killer design, hard work and great connections. It’s possible to just start a clothing brand, be really good, work hard and be successful. Just be aware, you need to be REALLY good, work REALLY hard, and that your odds of succeeding are MUCH better if you were previously a designer at a big fashion brand, or have a bunch of friends at GQ. But, even with all those variables in place, the odds of success are extremely tiny, and there are very few people in the world that have a meaningful combination of all those advantages.

Potential designers and makers shouldn’t be discouraged from following their dreams. The point I’m trying to make is that if you want to make a living off your brand, you can’t simply be. Don’t just learn how to sew a wallet, write a business plan too. After browsing Hypebeast, spend some time reading Fast Company. If you want to make things in America, that’s fantastic, but remember; you’ll be selling to, and competing against, other Americans. America is a country born of innovation and capitalism, and at no point in American history has someone truly succeeded by just doing what everyone else was already doing.

Read Jim Snediker’s full post on the Maker’s Row blog.

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

USA Made-Rebecca Minkoff’s #SeeBuyWear

The Chicago Tribune reports on designer Rebecca Minkoff’s new strategy at New York Fashion Week. Consumers were able to buy items from her new collection right after the show, eliminating the usual six month delay between showing a line and having clothing available in stores. How did Minkoff pull it off? By manufacturing her new items domestically in the U.S.

At New York Fashion Week this year, Rebecca Minkoff did things a little differently.

The fashion designer and entrepreneur unveiled her restyled collection for Spring and Summer last week. As part of her new strategy (which Minkoff has described on social media using #SeeBuyWear), consumers were able to shop her collection immediately after the show.

Since Minkoff announced the shift in December of last year, major brands like Burberry, Tom Ford, and Tommy Hilfiger have said that they, too, would be peddling their clothes in real time.

Typically, designers show off their latest designs as much as six months before the collection hits retail stores, allowing fast-fashion brands to imitate the looks in the meantime and steal away potential sales. What’s more, consumers have a tendency to grow tired of the new designs, which are no longer “new” by the time they’re available to shop.

While Minkoff’s show featured some already-shown items, including a billowing blue maxi dress, called the Jane, 17 new capsule pieces were introduced in the collection. All the new pieces were manufactured at domestic factories, rather than overseas, in order to hit the runway in time.

“What we started noticing was this sense of consumer fatigue,” said the brand’s CEO, Uri Minkoff, of the decision to feature a spring label. “The idea became: How do you sell great, full-price retail? How do we reset the system?”

Of course, he admits that shifting the retail timeline has involved many challenges. For one thing, the company had to manufacture the new items in the U.S. at factories in Los Angeles and New York City, as opposed to abroad.

The supply chain shift ended up being a boon for the brand.

“Now we have this more diverse supply chain to be able to react to what’s happening, and as opposed to what’s been happening six months ago,” said Minkoff.

In December and January, for instance, the company kept up with fashion-related searches on Instagram, and even rolled out indoor jackets — the Rebecca and Fellini jackets — when East Coast temperatures dropped substantially last month. Minkoff added that the company was able to incorporate trending pant shapes and colors.

When asked if there was anything else about Fashion Week that needed disruption, head designer Rebecca Minkoff was clear: “I think I’ve taken on enough this year.”

Originally posted by Zöe Henry on ChicagoTribune.com.

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

Fashion Incubator & Production Dev. Hub Opens in DTLA

Apparel manufacturer and fashion consultancy Indie Source is teaming up with Manufacture New York to establish a new Made In USA product development & fashion incubator hub at Maker City LA @ The Reef in Downtown Los Angeles. The official opening is November 13th, 2015

This groundbreaking partnership between The Reef, Indie Source and Manufacture NY will establish vertically integrated support for LA fashion brands. Indie Source will provide businesses with streamlined product development including fabric sourcing, pattern making, cutting, sewing, and finishing, while Manufacture New York will provide a fashion + tech design incubator, complete with a shared designer studio, industrial equipment, mentorship, classes and events.

All brands will have access to state of the art photography studios, media lab, sales showroom & a world class event venue at The Reef.

A launch party for industry influencers, entrepreneurs, local designers and other creatives interested in touring the new facility will be held on Friday, November 13th from 6pm-9pm.

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

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