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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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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The Initial Design Meeting

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Manufacturer, Mentee, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

When you first start your label it is a really exciting time. You have every right to feel proud and eager. But, you may also feel apprehension too. This is normal. You will have a lot of questions; this is normal too.One of the most common questions we hear from start-ups is ‘What do I bring to my design meeting?’ and ‘How do I explain what I want?’ Well, at Sample Room, we can help answer these questions no matter who you work with, as well as alleviate any concerns you may have.The initial design meeting is the most important stage in development. It is not something to be rushed and there is a certain process that is needed to get all your ideas out of your head and mouth in a way that explains it to a pattern maker to create your vision. It is your chance to unload everything to us.Your worries, your ideas, everything. This meeting is about anything you choose; it’s all about you, your designs and dreams, your budget, and your questions. It’s a good idea in the weeks and days leading up to the meeting to jot down some of the issues you’d like to go over. Write down all your questions, note the choices of fabrics that you’re thinking of using for your garments, bring in garments to show fit, make or fabric, bring in swatches, and tear out pics from magazines. You can use this meeting to simply have a chat with us; to bring forth the ideas that are presently buried within. We understand that ideas have to germinate in your brain; equally, we understand that an idea will stay as just that until you talk it over with someone.The best advice we can give you, however, in preparing for the design meeting, is to make sure you know your customer. This is so important, we can’t stress it enough. You need to have researched every aspect about your customer, you need to have invested time and energy into them. If you’re about to launch a label, you have to know that person is out there to buy it. It’s no use creating cycle wear for women who wear Size 16 and over if you’ve not done the research to show that such a product will sell. Likewise, if you are designing quality work-wear for the professional woman, make sure you understand everything about her. What is her age bracket? What is her salary range? Is she a working mum, or is she child-free? What movies does she like to watch? What are her hobbies?Does she do yoga, or is she a marathon runner? Know the other brands that your customer purchases. Have a clear picture in mind, so that you are well-placed to succeed in launching. Reach out to your customer, get their feedback, and make conversations and connections.Why...

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What is a Toile?

What is a Toile?

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Lifestyle, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

Photo: Actual Toile Fitting in Sample RoomThere are many tricks of the trade within any industry. Certainly, within the fashion industry, one such trick is a toile. But what is it, exactly?A toile is a word, derived from the French language, which describes a mock-up of your design. It is an early version of a garment, made of a cheaper, but similar fabric, to test and perfect the design. You can see how important this is to the industry, and also you, as the designer. It is in this toile that a designer can see if the garment is going to sing or sink. It is a necessary step and will assist in avoiding wasting money on sampling that will otherwise fail. I like to call it a quick and dirty version of your design.When it comes to a toile, it is essential to use a fabric that is similar to the one you will use for your garments. If your design is made from a heavy and stiff fabric, then find something cheap and similar to this. If you’re going for a drapey, slinky and lightweight feel, then yes, do the same: find something close to this, but much cheaper and use for your toile.In addition to being a similar weight and feel to your actual fabric, the fabric for a toile should be light in colour, so that you can use tailor’s chalk to mark out where changes need to be made. Here is where you get to test the design lines, and the fit of the garment. You can make markings on the toile and see if a lower V neckline will suit better than the round neck that you initially sketched. The toile will guide you to add darts, or lengthen the hemline, or if cap sleeves will fit better than a three-quarter sleeve.The toile is your important chance to play with your design.Once you’ve made the changes to the toile, then translate them back to your pattern. If you’ve had to cinch in areas on the toile where there was too much fabric, or if you’ve had to loosen where the toile showed pulling and stretching, translate these into your pattern. You might even choose to make a second toile if you’ve made a lot of changes.We prefer to start with a toile. There is nothing worse than making a garment up with topstitching, pockets, overlocking and lining only to find out the shape is not right. It really is a waste of money. A toile costs approx half the cost of a sample if not less. Therefore this is valuable money wasted. I much prefer that we get the shape, length and placement of key measurements right first before creating the final garment.Another option is the make the toile in the final sample fabric but only make it to a toile standard. We call this a...

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Which Social Media Platforms Should Your Business Use?

Which Social Media Platforms Should Your Business Use?

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

 Social media is prolific. It almost seems there are new sites, new platforms springing up nearly every week. There’s so much choice out there. How do you, as a fledgeling business, know which ones to use? Which ones generate the most traffic? Which sites should you set yourself up with?Here at Sample Room, we think, along with most things, that it comes down to your business, your brand and importantly, your customer. If you’ve done your research about your target market, then you know who your customer is. You know who you’re selling to. And that means, you know which social media sites are going to get you the most exposure that will benefit your brand. Ultimately, that will translate into more business dollars.But, let’s be honest, there are some sites that generate exposure more so than others. There are social media sites that are good for businesses and there are ones for, well…um…social linkages, to phrase it in the nicest possible way.So, firstly, let’s talk about Instagram. If you’ve got your brand ready to launch, if you’re looking to widen your exposure to your target market, then get yourself a business account on Instagram.There are many ways for you to increase your followers on Instagram.Be strategic about who you follow: make a list of the brands that identify with yours the most, including the reasons why, and follow them.Make interesting comments on those sites; comments of ‘geez, cool’ aren’t going to generate interest in your brand. Be thoughtful, interesting and funny in your comments. That is what will lead others to your site and they become your new followers.Look into ways to streamline your posts so that it’s more time effective. Let’s face it, nobody, except for teenagers avoiding homework, has time to endlessly skulk through Instagram to create posts and make thoughtful, engaging comments. Look into the various apps that can schedule posts. Canva helps you do all your posts and allows you to set up schedules for posts – and it’s free too! If you haven’t already heard of it or started using it, get onto it! Similarly, Schedugram is another useful tool for scheduling, posting, hashtags and all things related to Instagram. It’s not free – keep that mind.Hashtags! Not so long ago, most of the world assumed that hashtags were useless. Not so. Using the right hashtags can help you expose your brand. Have a clear strategy in place for your use of them. Do your research and discover which hashtags your followers are using most, and which ones are most active. Use them. You can also use those active hashtags to search for other posts that use those same hashtags.Once you’ve found some that you identify with and aligns nicely with your brand, then start commenting.Pinterest is another high traffic social media site that we suggest you think of for your brand exposure....

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Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

Posted by on Jul 12, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

Influencer marketing. Have you heard of it? It’s huge these days. But what is it, really? Even if you haven’t actually heard of it, or recognised the term, we reckon you’re probably aware of it.Wikipedia defines influencer marketing as a form of marketing where the focus is placed on key individuals, or one in particular, rather than the target market itself 1. It’s really the sway of one individual over others, influencing choices, purchases, and lifestyles. We already know that people buy from others that they know and trust. Influencer marketing builds on that premise and is about people buying from other people who they admire and respect, and importantly, who are seen as authentic.But how does that affect you as a person who’s about to delve into the market? At Sample Room, we think influencer marketing has the potential to impact your business and the ultimate success or failure your brand. There’s a lot of murky waters surrounding influencers, so it’s best to be well-informed. Here are a few tips for you to ponder.• You need to think about your brand, about who you want to represent it. If your brand is luxury bed linen, you need to approach someone who embodies class, all things luxe and lavish.• Do your homework before you get involved with an influencer. There’s a lot of fake influencers out there, those who are in it only for the perks. Some want to be paid for their role in promoting your brand, others are content with discounts off your merchandise. Your homework should include an understanding of the other brands that the influencer works for, to make sure they complement yours, not compete against it.• To use an agent or not to use a PR agent? An agent might provide much-needed assistance to wade through these murky waters, but it comes at a mighty cost. Can you afford the outlay of an agent’s fees for your brand? Can your brand afford not to use an agent? You alone can answer this.Influencers do speak with each other. Despite it being a huge part of the marketing world, it’s still small enough for influencers to know each other. While you’re doing your research behind influencers, before you make your pitch, make sure you tailor your request to the individual influencer. Think about why you want to work with that particular person, and what is specific about them. Don’t simply ‘copy and paste’ your requests, as it will reflect poorly on you and your brand. You can also use various apps such as Tribe and Brandsnob.• Draw up a contract. Clearly outline what you want from the influencer, and what you’ll give them in return, whether that be product or payments. This is a business relationship, not a friendship or a favour. Make sure that the influencer follows through with what they say they will do...

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