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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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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Colourways – What Does This Mean?

Colourways – What Does This Mean?

Posted by on Aug 23, 2017 in Fashion | 0 comments

The language in the fashion industry can be daunting if you are considering the new and exciting pathway to being a designer. Language, specific terms, and acronyms all create an environment that makes it hard to delve into.But we’re here to help you, to guide you, so that your entrance into this new world is smooth and seamless (pun intended). So, here’s another word in fashion that you’ll hear quite a lot, but you may not know exactly what it means: colourways or colour grids.What are colourways? Where are they used? What does it mean, precisely?Colourways are different colour combinations that are used in the same design. For example, you might create a dress in navy and white, and offer it also in navy and red. This is known as two colourways. These options are created for your customer to have more choice by each design.For each colourway it is essential for production that you create a colour grid to keep track of the colourways you are offering for your garment and so your manufacturer knows how you want your garments to look in production.Here’s an example of a grid:However, it’s often not as simple as our example above. It is important to test elements of each component. Fusing colours (which only come in black and white) can change the look of a fabric colour. You might find that you need to fuse the whole panels rather than part panels so there is no change in colour. For example, the back panel of a jacket that might have a back yoke fused in black may need the whole panel fused in cream to ensure it looks even and allows an even amount of colour through. You can test this yourself. Cut a panel that is about 60cm x 60cm and press a square of fusing of 20x20cm in the middle. Put this up against the fusing and then drape over a colour fabric to see if it is noticeable.Another aspect of colour in production is thinking about the manufacturing minimum order quantities by colour. Keep in mind that all the machines required to sew the garment need to be changed per colour run, therefore colours cannot be sewn together in the same production run. It is possible to cut all colour ways together to save production costs, most of the time. A situation where you would need to cut colour ways separately is with components such as fused panels or different combinations.Introducing different colours ways to your range is a great way to expand your product offering without extra money spent on development costs. When it comes to production runs, remember to have specific planning for the style quantity in each size for each colourway. The machinist will do all the sizes in the one colourway, then switch the threads on the machine for the next colourway, and so on.And...

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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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