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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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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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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Looking for a Point of Difference?

Looking for a Point of Difference?

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

The fashion industry is always changing. Trends in how to design and manufacturer a product change just as often as hem lines.  One of the biggest changes I have seen in the last year is that a lot of traditional developers/retailers have started to design. Now this may sounds a bit strange but what I mean by this is, in the past designers have often travelled overseas and purchased samples, come back and designed ‘based’ on these styles.With the ‘onslaught’ of overseas retailers, it has made it increasingly hard to ‘develop’ product from these buying trips. On top of this, there is the financial pressure to reduce travel etc. There are a new breed of developers who are quickly climbing the ranks and we are liking it!These developers still research the trends on buying trips and trend forecasting websites but they also bring more experimentation into the design process. They design unique garments!But this makes it harder to develop your product with overseas manufacturers who are very literal and require detailed instructions and specifications to make a pattern. This new way of designing requires a closer relationship with a pattern maker to create unique patterns and problem solve any issues before heading back overseas for production.Well not all pattern makers are set up for offshore production. The minimum requirement is a computer pattern making system that can export patterns to DXF, a universal file format that means you can open in most pattern making programs. Other skills a pattern maker needs to successfully work with offshore manufacturers include a knowledge of offshore specifications, and how a manufacturer thinks and works as well as an understanding of what can go wrong to set up instructions to elimiate the risk. At Sample Room we are onshore and offshore friendly.You might come up against some resistance from your manfacturer and it is important for you to know why. They may want to control the patternmaking process to lock you into a ‘contract’- if you need that particular style/fit then you have no choice but to stay with them. They may not have a computer pattern making program and don’t want to tell you (we can always send a paper pattern by mail). They may not know how to import a DXF pattern (believe us this happened just the other day when we showed a Tasmanian manufacturer what a DXF pattern was and now he has discovered a whole new world to his manufacturing business!).Anyway, whatever the reason, we just want you to know that if you are looking to do something a bit different and you have no idea how to get your idea across. Don’t worry, have a chat with us and we can get you to market quicker with unique design that no one else has thought of. How cool is that!You can email us at info@sampleroom.com.au or give us a call...

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Off-Shore Manufacturing – Will I save money?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Fashion, Fashion Design | 1 comment

 We have met a number of new designers the last season who have fallen into this trap. It is so sad to hear the stories of someone who has put $10,000 of their heart, soul and cold hard cash into their passion only to receive a shipment of disaster.This blog is for those starting out. I want to say, you can’t send a picture and a couple of garments overseas and expect to get a shipment back of 1000 amazing, top quality, well-made garments back for a fraction of the price of local manufacturing without any effort on your part, but I can’t really say that I can.What I can probably say is the process of manufacturing overseas takes a lot of detailed information, a lot of checking and rechecking and a lot of fingers crossed.Firstly, you need an amazing spec sheet.Secondly, you need to know how to choose a manufacturer a how to create a contract that sticks (even I don’t know how to do this one).Thirdly, you need to know what to ask and when you need to be signing off on it.Fourthly, you need to be in a position of bargaining so that you have the upper hand.Fifthly, you need to go over there and check up on production and you need to know what you are looking for and how to fix it.Sounds easy right! Wrong – This is why overseas manufacturing is for the big boys. People who have had long standing relationships with manufacturers (and even then, as one customer this season attests, does not mean they will do what you said when you said).In my opinion, you are better to make a small run locally so you can learn all there is to learn while you have little money. You might not make as much money but you won’t lose it all either. Even when our clients have managed to get their money back they still have lost a whole season.Alternatively, you could work with someone who has an office in Australia so at least you are dealing with someone whose door you can knock on. Then all you need to worry about is the minimums they require for the time they need to put in.Believe me, there is a way you can work locally, as long as you are not trying to compete on price.Call us to discuss the best solution for your business (03)9940...

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