Mentee’s Launch: Gabrielle Spencer’s Bridal

Posted by on Dec 6, 2017 in Emerging Designers | 0 comments

Creating bridal is a whole different board game. Come see what our Mentee, Gabrielle Spencer, had to say about her experience and what it is like to see your vision on the catwalk.Click To TweetInspired by nature and the rustic beauty of the country-side, Gabrielle Spencer came to Sample Room with an incredibly strong vision for her designs and business. Staying true to her love of pure fabrics and elegant styling, she has followed her designer instinct to create an absolutely stunning range for brides of any age, shape or size.Congratulations, Gabrielle, on launching such a beautiful collection of bridal wear. It was a pleasure to work with you throughout the development of your first range.What is your range about? My range is about a bride who doesn’t want to wear a traditional gown, a relaxed and casual bride.Who is it for? A modern bride, perhaps mature bride…a second marriage or a gay bride who doesn’t want anything ‘frilly’.What did you do for a career before you started your label? I was an Event Manager for 5 years, before that I was an Event Manager for Westfield Pty Ltd. for 4 years.What is the biggest thing you learnt whilst working through the development process? I learnt a lot from Julia, at the Sample Room. The thing is, designers have these wonderful ideas about fabrics and styles, but they don’t often think of constructions. An example of this, with my range, was a cashmere cardigan. I wanted it to be button up at the back however I didn’t think of the gaping which would happen. Julia suggested to seal the back with the illusion of buttons which was a much better solution. Sometimes, your ideas just don’t work, take advice.What would you do differently if you did it all over again? This is a hard question because the answer is…everything! I’ve recently done a fashion show and I was very happy with it. However, if you ask me to redo the styles I did, the answer would be no, I’m moving on to different styles. I think this happens with every designer, which is why the seasons keeps flowing.How can people buy your product? I have an online presence. My website is in the making, however, I’m contactable through this platform.What is some advice you would give someone else looking to start a label? Make sure you have plenty of time and money to put towards it. It’s a commitment, and you don’t necessarily succeed for the first years.Tell a FriendCloseYour NameFriend EmailEnter Message To Friend Website gabriellespencerbridal.com.auInstagram...

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Get Involved!

Posted by on Nov 30, 2017 in Fashion Design | 0 comments

As a small business owner, it can be tempting to stay locked behind doors. You’re just starting out, with not much confidence in what you are doing. You ask yourself questions like:Am I crazy?Why am I doing this?What if I fail?Can I afford this?The questions of doubt can plague you when you are first starting out. It’s normal to feel uncertain in times of change. There’s something unsettling about being outside of your comfort zone. But we know, from being in business for a long time, that it is important to put yourself out there.We think it is helpful to get involved. Don’t sit at home, thinking that you are alone. Don’t sit behind the computer wondering if you are going to be successful. Open your own pathway by walking out the door and finding your flock.Sign up for everything, including email listings for businesses that are similar to yours. Sign up for marketing emails. Go to trade shows. Go to exhibitions. By getting involved in this way, you are going to connect with people who are in businesses similar to yours. This doesn’t mean that you are on the back foot, nor does it mean that the similarities of your products are going to set you against each other in a fierce competition. Rather, you can rely on their experience and take that important step to success.Listen to podcasts. Read books (or listen to them, if you prefer). Be hungry for anything that can improve your knowledge and business savvy. Understand the pros and cons of owning a small business. Sign up for Business Victoria so that you are up-to-date with the latest offerings from the government, as well as knowing where to find the mandatory requirements before you begin selling your product. Understand what the risks are for your product.There’s something unsettling about being outside of your comfort zone. But we know, from being in business for a long time, that it is important to put yourself out there.Click To TweetTell a FriendCloseYour NameFriend EmailEnter Message To FriendRemember too, that guidelines and mandatory requirements are set in place for a reason. It may seem as though the government is trying to make your life difficult, but there is more to it than a ‘nanny state’. It is likely that something horrific has happened previously and these guidelines and requirements have come after, to prevent further accidents and deaths. Children’s sleepwear has strict requirements in place, because some fabrics are a fire hazard, or something as simple as a button can be a choking hazard.Swimwear fabric has sun protection because of the very real risk of skin cancer. There are people and businesses out there that have done the hard work, they have the know-how behind them. Use them. Use us.Sample Room is behind you. We want you to succeed. We’ve been in business for a long time,...

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Organise Yourself

Organise Yourself

Posted by on Nov 24, 2017 in Industry Know How | 0 comments

When emerging designers come to Sample Room and join our mentoring program, Fashion Label Launchpad, we understand that they can all be at different stages of their design cycle. This is because the program runs for six months but the start of that program is up to the individual.However, the nature of being in business for over ten years gives us some experience which we can offer to you in the form of guidance, no matter where you are in your design or manufacturing journey. Advice is a form of nostalgia; looking back over any career there are areas in which you can see where something could have been done better. One such area is to better organise yourself and, therefore your time, and your business.In our digital world, it is now easier than ever before to keep track of your work and social life. Google alone has much on offer to assist in this area. Use Google’s Calendar to plan events and set up reminders for future happenings that you are interested in attending, even if they’re in twelve months’ time. By the time the Melbourne Fashion Festival rolls around or your favourite marathon, you’ll be organised, prepared and good to go.Google Alerts will help you to find businesses that are similar to yours. Enter keywords that will highlight exactly what you’re after: articles, newsletters, competitions, websites and journals. You can set up how often, and from where, these alerts come to you: on a weekly or daily basis. Save those that are most interesting to you to read through at your leisure. When you’re ready to start your press for your brands, you can use snippets from these articles and emails to guide and assist you. It’s always much easier to duplicate and borrow what someone else has done; there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.The secret to a successful fashion label is to Organise Yourself. The right tools are the key to fashion label success.Click To TweetIf you’re in the very early stages of your design and branding, do an online marketing and media course. There are courses that specialise in the different aspects of social media whether it is Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook Ads or Copywriting. This will help you to reach out to your customers through social media. Find businesses on social media that are similar to yours, and reach out to them with thoughtful comments. Look at their own followers’ sites and comment and like those as well. This will build your customer base as well as effectively shape collaboration with other designers (see our posts on Social Media Platforms here and Influencer Marketing here).Find a way to entice your future customers to your mailing list through blog posts, special interest stories or basically asking people if they would like to know more once you have launched your label.The aim is to build your...

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Working on Shoots

Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Industry Know How | 0 comments

When most people think about fashion, the development very quickly leaps from drawing a picture to a full-blown photo shoot. By now, if you have read any of these blogs you will understand there is a whole lot of complicated work that goes on in between. But today we would like to discuss the planning of the photo shoot so that when you get there you are as prepared as possible to make the best use of the time and money you are spending on this day.This step in your design career is more like a leap, especially if you’ve never broached this arena before. Yes, we’re talking about working with photographers and models. It sounds scary, and if you’re unprepared, or even under-prepared, it can be. But it doesn’t have to be! At Sample Room, we’ve got a few suggestions for making it smooth, well…how about luxuriously smooth silk?1. Work out your budget. Money. It’s always the primary thought, have you noticed? It’s so true though, everything hinges on affordability. If you can afford to pay for Cindy Crawford (who? I hear the millennials ask) to be the model on your shoot for your luxury lingerie brand, by all means, make contact and if she’s available, use her. But if you’ve only got a budget of $200 for models then don’t waste your time on Ms Crawford. Keep in mind that a small budget doesn’t mean your brand can’t get high-quality photos and exposure, though. Which brings us to our next point…2. Choosing your photographer. This is so important, we can’t stress it enough. Often the photographer can guide you, if it’s your first professional shoot, and help with a selection of models. Photographers can be really fussy, perfectionists about their work, which is a good thing, because once you’ve got the ONE, you know you’re in good, reliable and trustworthy hands. Have a look at their style, Instagram is a perfect place to start this process.3. If you are choosing your own model, remember there are places out there on the internet that can help you. Melbourne Last Minute Models and Melbourne Creative are private groups through Facebook which you can join. Simply provide all the details you need and BOOM! before you know it you’re hooked up with a model for your shoot. This is a time for you to be highly specific – there’s no need to worry about sounding racist when asking for a model. If you are after a model with dark skin and a huge afro, here is where you put it out there. If you want a redheaded, voluptuous woman, again, you ask and you get what you want. Let them know eye colour, hair colour, skin colour, dress size, EVERYTHING.It’s all about the right model for your brand, so don’t be shy. The more specific you are, the more on point...

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Seasonality in Design

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

Are you someone who’s ready to jump into the fashion industry? Are you an aspiring creative? Maybe you have a business that is linked to the industry, or you create gorgeous designs. You know you’ve got style, the eye for detail and the ambition that is needed to drive success. But there’s still so much within the industry that eludes you. Maybe you are already in the design stage and ready to choose the gorgeous fabrics that you’ve imagined for your designs. Maybe you don’t know how to approach a fabric supplier.There is a bit more to seeing a fabric supplier than you might imagine. Let me explain. A fabric agent is a trendsetter the same as a designer is. They are ‘designing’ their range in the same way a top design house does. They look to future trends in colour pallets and fabrication from the leading authorities and design the range of base fabrics and colours so that when you, the designer, come to see them they have what you have been inspired by. They understand what fabrics they need to have on hand so that you can design the look you are after.There are also 2 major different ranges they hold. One is stock fabric and one is seasonal. Did you know about the seasonal aspect behind fabric selection? If you are looking for the latest in fabrics and colours you will be looking for seasonal stock. This stock is limited and will not repeat so the fabric agent can bring the latest and greatest to their range each season. You will need to be quick from initial sampling to purchasing bulk as this fabric sells out and does not repeat. You can put a hold on the amount of fabric you need, but only for a short time. I can tell that some of you might be nodding your head because you have experienced this, but believe me when I tell you that there are plenty of people out there who aren’t aware. I feel that seasonal fabric buying is best left to the experts who understand the pace of the fashion industry and their customer requirements.There is also forecasting of fabrics. For example, when Melbourne is in the heart of winter and you look out the window of the tram in the city, you see the teeming rain and bleak greyness. You also glimpse people moving around – under umbrellas or running for cover – dressed in the chic style of winter: scarves, boots, hats and coats. Understand that designers are way past that season. The colours you are looking at today were selected a year ago and have come and gone from the fabric agents. Designers are beginning to sell summer stock to buyers and retailers for a full year ahead and they are delivering summer stock into retail stores that they first saw...

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