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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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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Sustainability in Fashion

Sustainability in Fashion

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Fashion, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Lifestyle, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

The fashion industry has not always been known for its kindness to the environment. Furs, anyone? Dyes that are high in toxicity? Sweat shops? But in today’s world, you’ll hear the term sustainability in all areas, and the fashion industry is no exception. Customers are concerned, and rightly so, about the impact fashion has on the world around us. Customers are savvy, they’re aware of the landfill and contributions to this from old clothing, fabrics and materials.But what does sustainability look like in fashion? What does it mean exactly? Well, there is no one specific explanation, so let’s take a look at some of the terms it can refer to.Fabrics & Materials It can be as simple as the fabrics used in a garment. Organic cotton, naturally processed wools, and low-impact dyes, all contribute to the sustainability tag for your design. Natural fibres, organic production, recycled fibres and job lot end of run fabrics all relate to sustainability as they all have less of an impact on the environment.Slow-fashion This term is used to describe the care and time taken to ensure the longevity of the garment. This can be achieved by creating a timeless classic with natural and durable fabrics; it can be done by ensuring the materials used can be recycled. Your customer is more likely to hold onto the garment for more than one season if they feel an emotional connection to it. The way you can help to create this connection is to be transparent with your customer, by noting your production and manufacturing processes. If your customer can see the process behind the garment, then they will feel a greater link with you as its designer.Reuse This is similar to recycled and upcycled fabrics, as they, too, are being reused. But there are other ways that you can offer to reuse your garments, to increase your sustainability focus. You can, for example, create a buy-back option: when your customer has finished with the garment, you buy it back to create something new. Alternatively, you can offer a percentage off their next purchase if they donate the original garment once they’ve outgrown it. Or why not set up a forum where people can buy, sell and swap with other fans of your garments.Marketing The way you market yourself and your brand goes a long way in speaking of your efforts in the sustainable fashion. Make sure your labels are clear and your customer understands them as this is one of the ways the sustainable fashion message is passed along. As noted above, be transparent with your customer, give them a chance to get to know you, the designer, as well as your brand. At Sample Room, we believe that marketing yourself begins long before your begin your designs (read our blog post on Marketing here *insert hyperlink*) and creates the connection that you need with...

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Customisation versus Bespoke

Customisation versus Bespoke

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Lifestyle, Sample Room Solutions | 2 comments

The fashion industry is always moving. It’s the ethos behind it, really. Fashion moves us, shakes us, tempts us and encourages us to try something new.The latest disrupter to our world in fashion is known as customisation.It’s happening all over the fashion world: with handbags, shoes and clothing! It is also happening with consumer goods as well—do you remember Coca-Cola selling bottles with your name on it, as did Nutella? That’s all part of customisation.There are a number of factors behind the increase in customisation. Creating a point of difference in a tough retail market can give your brand exposure and create a successful profitable business. One highly positive way to view customisation is the pinnacle of customer service. It makes your customer feel special. You are able to give them something that no one else can.It’s exciting and interesting. But also very tricky for a start-up. Customisation can be quite cost-prohibitive for a start-up. Perhaps if you are lucky to have partners or investors, you can dabble in this latest trend, but generally speaking, it makes for headaches for you, the designer, and your manufacturer. It is important to understand the difference between Customisation, Made to order and Bespoke (or made to measure).Customisation is the first level of making something individual. It is where the customer gets to personalise their product. If you’re designing a T-shirt, your customer, through customisation, can request to have a short sleeve T-shirt, instead of the long-sleeve tee you’ve designed. Or, request for their own initials to be placed on the front pocket or a split where a seam would normally go. Of course, you want to give your customer enough choice in details to make it individual while keeping within the parameters of what is capable. What do I mean by this? To understand the parameters it is important to understand the basic economics of mass production (by mass I mean more than one garment).The price of these products is determined by the cost of making the product (fabrics, trims and make costs) plus margin, plus mark up to wholesale and then the retail mark up.In order to keep within a reasonable price-point, you must keep the initial cost of fabric and production as low as possible. The way to do this is through bulk production. We start this process by creating a production marker (laying the pattern pieces on the fabric in the most cost effective way. This allows for greater than 75% usage of the fabric which is very high) you then lay fabric on top of each other in multiple lays, sometimes 100 lays, to reduce the time to cut each garment (this is called bulk cutting). Garments are then sewn in a production line of a few machinists all working on their individual machines at the same time to utilise machinery and time. Economies of scale reduce the...

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