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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Get Involved!

Posted by on Nov 30, 2017 in Fashion Design | 1 comment

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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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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Finding a Good Patternmaker

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

Firstly, I would like to say that I am sorry for the long spaces of time between blogs lately. We have been very busy at Sample Room. We have also been caught up in the employment process, looking for a new pattern maker for our team. It has been long and drawn out process, with a false start. In reflection, it has made me realize how hard it must be for you, the designer, to find a pattern maker that’s right for you. I thought it might be helpful for you to know how we select a pattern maker. This might also help you decide who you want to work with.1. Understanding of the brief.When a customer comes to Sample Room they are not just presenting a drawn garment. They are telling us who their target market is, the purpose for the style and who will wear it. It is then our job to create a pattern and garment to suit that customer. How low the neckline sits, how short the skirt is and how tight the garment fits are just some of the things we think about when designing a pattern2. Are they a visual pattern maker or a spec pattern maker?Some pattern makers need specs to make a pattern. This is the only way they can understand what the customer needs. We prefer pattern makers who understand both the customer and the look, and how to create a pattern for this look. It is important to have some measurements from the customer, such as length and circumference measurements. There is no benefit in being told by the customer after then garment is finished that the under bust should have been 75cm. That information is much more helpful before the pattern is made. Length measurements are also important. If a garment is drawn on a croque, it provides a better representation of the proportions. The bottom line is: if the measurement is important to you, it is important to us.3. Style.An in-depth knowledge of what is in fashion is important, so we are on the same page as our customers. An understanding of how a young girl is wearing a dress length or how a boyfriend jean should look is important. This allows us to use the same language as you, the customer, when we discuss your designs.   4. Speed and accuracy.Personally, I would love to spend all day on one pattern but something tells me that you, the customer, would not like to receive this invoice. Accuracy is also a very important factor. By computer pattern making, we are able to tick both of these boxes. A pattern maker who would like to drape every pattern to a stand before a pattern is made, will probably have a hard time coming to terms understanding what it takes to create a pattern as a contract pattern maker....

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