What We Can Learn From A Negative Review

Posted by on Jan 27, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It is an unfortunate side of the business in this day and age that reviews can be written about a business by anyone and can cause a new enquiry like yourself concern about a business. We don’t get many of these reviews and it has taken me a long time to find the most positive way to reply to these comments. I have decided to use each experience as an example of the many ways development and production can go wrong in this deceptively difficult industry. I hope that you learn something from this review reply to help in your own journey. If you have any further questions about this example then I am more than happy to discuss with you. Just give me a call.The below blog is in reply to a message posted by Lia L, a past Mentee who wrote 2/5 stars.Julia and the Sample Room team are lovely. The samples I received, however, were not. Julia puts in a great deal of time and effort into the Mentorship Program and does all that she can to equip emerging designers with as much information as possible in launching their own business. Her patience, continuous support and experience are truly inspiring and commendable. For that, I would rate the Fashion Label Launchpad mentorship course 4/5 stars. If you’re looking to get your designs made up into garments, however, my advice is to simply find a professional patternmaking company who focus specifically in this area (as opposed to spreading themselves over training courses, their own label etc etc.) Due to the poor fit and finishing of the garments I received (and had paid a great deal for), I unfortunately had to have these re-made again by another company. So, having had samples made from both Sample Room and then another Patternmaking company, I found the quality and fit of the garments made by the patternmaking professionals to be of a much higher standard, along with a pricing structure that was ultimately cheaper and had a lot more clarity. I would rate this aspect of the business 1/5 stars.If your designs are quite simple, then your experience may be different. Good Luck!My reply was posted below.Hello Lia,Thank you for your kind words on the Fashion Label Launchpad Mentoring program. We take great pride in the hard work that we have put in to help educate those starting out in the industry to understand the steps that need to be taken, along with the possible pitfalls. It saddens me that you have had a negative experience during the development process despite the information given in the program on the steps that need to be taken to ensure success.For some people reading this review, it might be helpful to understand the process and what possibly went wrong in this instance with your garments to help them avoid this situation themselves in...

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Your Brand. Your Launch.

Posted by on Jan 25, 2018 in Emerging Designers | 0 comments

If you are an emerging fashion designer, from day 1 you are probably considering your brand launch. What lengths should you go to in organising a launch? Is a launch expensive?Well, like anything in life, launching your brand, and the expense behind it comes down to YOU. At Sample Room, we’ve seen many different launches over the years, each of them equally wonderful and successful, and some not so successful. You just need to know who your customer is—we say this a lot at Sample Room, but we can’t stress how important it truly is to know who you’re selling to BEFORE you start selling—and cater to them.Not so long ago, one of our mentees launched her brand and it was a huge success for her with sales on the night of the launch reaching $30,000. One of the reasons behind her success was that she lived and breathed her brand. She wore her designs, she constantly marketed her brand and knew exactly what type of woman she was designing for. Because of the groundwork, she laid in establishing her brand before launching, our mentee was able to invite friends, work colleagues, neighbours and family members to her launch. Each of these people also spoke about the brand and invited more people along.How to successfully launch your brand? Know your target crowd and what type of people you're designing for.Click To TweetYour launch need not be a tricky process. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars and you don’t need to include Anna Wintour on the guest list. It can be as simple as inviting school or kinder mums over for champagne, or a bunch of your girlfriends and theirs too. It can be a dinner party where the men at the table get a chance to see the host wearing your brand. Why not consider a pool party, if you’re designing swimwear or a cycle event and the endpoint is your launch? Get creative in planning your launch. Maybe your designs are kids’ sleepwear—invite all the mums you know, stock the freezer with Icy-Poles and have a face-painter there so the kids are entertained while you launch. If the label you are designing is clothing for woman, why not consider bringing in a stylist to help your customers learn how to put an outfit together? Most of us need a little styling help, wouldn’t you say? We’ve all got different—yet equally fabulous—body shapes so having someone on hand at your launch to give guidance in say, teaming a particular scarf with a shirt. Or how those tailored suit pants you’ve designed can be dressed-down to go from the office to a casual night at the movies.The important thing to remember here is not to underestimate the option of in-home selling. Remember all those lingerie parties, Nutrimetics and Tupperware parties, where the host invited all her friends over?...

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Mentee’s Launch: Harry & Pop

Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 in Follow the Label, Mentee | 2 comments

Today, we would like to introduce one of our favourite mentees from Harry & Pop — Lauren. We first met Lauren a number of months earlier before, as she will mention on the blog, she went down another path which was not so successful. We were more than happy when she called us back as we knew we could get her label and her dreams back on track. Lauren has been such a pleasure to work with because she understands the difference it makes with quality pattern making, sample making and manufacturing and how it feels when you are fully supported in your journey. Lauren and Ben’s Kid 1. What is your label and who is it for? Proudly made in Melbourne, Harry & Pop has designed a range of contemporary children’s swimwear (sizes 00-4) that puts sun protection first without compromising on style. Our premium Italian fabric is UPF 50+ and chlorine resistant to ensure your little rays of sunshine look stylish while staying protected from the sun’s harmful rays. With classic unisex designs in simple custom prints across a crisp pastel colour palette, you can be confident that your child will grow out of our swimwear before it wears out so please hand it down to every member of your tribe.The idea came to me when I purchased my son’s first swimsuit (late 2015). I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of sun protective options that were also stylish.Click To Tweet2. How long ago did you start the process of your own label? The idea came to me when I purchased my son’s first swimsuit (late 2015). I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of sun protective options that were also stylish (everything was fluoro or covered in ugly motifs). We started seriously considering the idea in late 2016 and launched our first collection one year later in mid-October 2017.3. What is the biggest thing you have learnt through the process? The fashion industry is fickle. It’s very hard to get a straight answer when starting out. Everyone is vague and to be honest, I’m pretty sure it’s because no one wants to take on a start-up label. That’s where Sample Room saved the day! Finally, some transparency! Before finding Sample Room we found that no one would commit to a deadline. Days (sometimes weeks) would pass before we heard back. Costing estimates simply weren’t given which makes budgeting impossible. Be wary of this and expect to be in limbo for a while.4. What is one thing you would tell another designer before they were starting out? Make sure you keep some money in the bank for marketing once you’ve launched. Honestly, nothing comes for free so don’t rely on the kindness of strangers to help out (Instagram shout-outs, magazine editorial etc.). They will charge you! And that’s okay too as they’re also trying to make...

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Planning Your Day

Posted by on Jan 4, 2018 in Sample Room Solutions | 1 comment

Happy New Year to everyone! Did you do some planning over the break? I sure you did with a G n T in hand. No doubt you have big plans for this year and all you would like to achieve. How is that going so far???Procrastination. No one is immune.How do you ensure that your days are the most productive they can be? How do you stop yourself from stumbling frequently into social media, or hopping up to make coffee after coffee? How do you make yourself do those tasks that are less than enjoyable? The drudgery of some aspects of business means that there are often small, or sometimes (gasp) big jobs that we push to one side, deliberately ignoring them, simply because we’re too busy, or we don’t want to do it.Planning is imperative in business, and whether it’s small or large. It is important to set goals for your business, and yourself. This helps immensely in, not only your work structure but also achieving greater productivity, which essentially leads to greater profit.Just recently, we have been trying a few new methods to somehow control the madness that goes on in Sample Room. I am discovering a better way to plan out my days every day. I’d like to share a few with you now that you might find useful in your business.We have just introduced Asana to help me with planning and the giant list of tasks that need to be completed for each style we work on. If you haven’t heard of it, or if you are guilty of being easily distracted in your workday life, I encourage you to look at this program.Asana offers something for everyone. There is a free version, for very small businesses, those with up to fifteen staff. It offers a basic search function and a basic dashboard for you to navigate, as well as unlimited tasks, conversations and project options. Asana also has Premium and Enterprise versions, for which you pay a monthly amount, and thereby have access to wider options within the program.Key to planning? Learn how to schedule your priorities.Click To TweetOnce you’re signed up, you can organise your projects and break them down into manageable tasks. You can arrange due dates for each of these tasks, and have bells and whistles to bring in the reminder for those tasks. You are able to send messages to your team members. You can even assign yourself tasks such as shopping for labels, or a phone call to a fabric wholesaler. I find that when I break the tasks down into a timeframe such as ten or fifteen minutes, then I can tick more off my to-do list each day. If a task is too big, or its predicted time too big, then all too often we choose to avoid it.Asana also integrates with other platforms, such as Google...

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Off-Shore versus On-Shore Manufacturing

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in Manufacturer, Marketing, Sample Room Solutions | 1 comment

At Sample Room, there are many questions that we are often asked. One of those is ‘Where is the best place to have my designs manufactured?’Whether you choose off-shore or on-shore, remember that you are creating a partnership. They are considering you, just as you are considering them.Click To TweetWe don’t mind answering this question however many times it is asked of us because our job is to support you. But there is not one answer that fits all designers, all products, and all fabrics. Even if there are a number of designers who are creating similar products, there will still be more than one answer to this question. It comes down to many things, one of which is cost. How much are you prepared to pay for manufacturing, and how much can you increase your price point to cover this important part of the process?Firstly, no matter if you decide to go on or off-shore, you need to ask the right set of questions.These include:Do you work with small companies? What is your limit on production runs? Do you specialise in certain fabrics? How do you handle production flaws? What are your payment terms?If you decide to manufacture off-shore, be prepared to travel there as often as this builds trust and forms the base of a good relationship between you and your supplier. It also gives you a chance to see the factory and know the manufacturing capabilities, as well as the conditions. Be prepared for language and cultural barriers and understand that this is an area from where most mistakes germinate. Most factories have a specific person who speaks English and therefore the conduit to a perfect design. But accept that there might still be mistakes. Do your best to work within the confines of these barriers and be patient. Also, keep in mind that some countries are better equipped for manufacturing certain garments. For example, Bali is a good option for manufacturing swimwear. India manufactures excellent silks and natural fibres, and Fiji is great for sportswear and team uniforms.Some things to keep in mind when you are weighing up offshore production. You need to factor in all of these costs. You will no doubt be looking at the very attractive low manufacturing cost but the extra costs need to be included —Development costs to get a sample right (or at least the cost of freight back and forth which is approx. 8 x $100)Freight, import duty and GST (unknown until it is too late),At least one (1) visit to the factory (flights, accommodation, a week off work).There is also hiring a QC company to check your production and of course, there is faulty stock. I was told recently that some companies factor in 30% loss straight away. That means they only expect to sell 70% of what they paid for and the rest goes on sale or...

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