Honing Inspiration & Defining Your Customer; what does it mean and where do we start?!

Honing Inspiration & Defining Your Customer; what does it mean and where do we start?!

Posted by on Nov 5, 2018 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Manufacturer, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

From paper to production, there are SO many factors to consider in bringing a design to life. But after meticulously stewing over fabrics and hemlines for months on end, who is going to be wearing your garments?! And what needs do they have? As part of our Fashion Label Launch Pad program, our group of mentees hold a monthly phone call to discuss queries and roadblocks as they work towards launching their first fashion labels. During our call this month we chatted all things sourcing inspiration and how to tailor your brand to suit the people purchasing your product. With what can be such a tricky task, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind for the designer carving out the personality of their brand. INSPIRATION As a creative, inspiration is all around us. Everywhere we look there is a new idea waiting to be thought up, designed and created into something wonderful. In the beginning stages of design, observing the spaces around us and collating stimulus for later reference can be invaluable. But inspiration can be unpredictable and we might not always be prepared for when our light-bulb moments hit. So, below are a few tools we love that you can use to immediately house your sources of inspiration when they come to mind. All of which are easily-accessible apps you can instantly download to your phone! These will also become valuable platforms you can use to assist in determining your customer.Trello Whether you have a more left-leaning analytic brain or a visual mind, Trello acts as a project management application where you can jot down those fleeting thoughts in list form. It’s super easy to categorise with labels, throw in screenshots and cue in whoever you want to check over your ideas. Check out how it works here > https://trello.com/tourPinterest You may have used Pinterest already, but what a great tool for the visual mind it is! Here you can create mood boards, collate photos and combine an endless amount of stimulus that might take your fancy. The perfect tool to assist you to formulate the overall feel of your collection. Check it out here > https://business.pinterest.com/en/how-pinterest-works DEFINING YOUR CUSTOMER In using these platforms you’re off to an excellent start. Now it might be a little easier to visualise an overview of what you want your label to represent – encompassing mood and overall feel. You may have numerous categories and ideas representing different ends of the spectrum and this is great!However, in determining who you’re creating for and who will be purchasing your product, we have to get down to the nitty gritty and be specific. Ideally, we want to create 2-3 profiles or ‘personas’ to match the looks sitting at opposite ends of the spectrum. Eg. If customer A loves to wear rich, colourful prints and customer B wears monochromatic tones and tailored fits;...

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FABRIC AGENTS – how, who, where, what!?

FABRIC AGENTS – how, who, where, what!?

Posted by on Oct 2, 2018 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Manufacturer, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

As part of our Fashion Label Launchpad program we have a group call with our Mentees to discuss challenges and questions they may have. It is also a great opportunity to chat with industry, and like minded people who are in the same position as you. Who knows what next great idea or inspiration will come out of the conversation! During our August catch up there were a range of great questions (and answers!) but let’s talk about the very first one “HOW TO CONTACT FABRIC AGENTS.”The reason I am choosing this topic, is because fabric sourcing is often one of the first questions we get asked when people first approach Sample Room. It is hot on everyone’s lips to say the least. Unfortunately we will not supply you with fabric. This would be an impossible task as there are 1000’s of fabrics and I believe that fabric should inspire your design process. This is far less frustrating than choosing a fabric that you can not find locally. We will however provide guidance in where to do and if a fabric is suitable.  So; how, who, where, what!? Let’s start with WHEREYou don’t need to find someone in your local state. If you choose the right agent and communicate your needs correctly there is no reason why you can’t use an agent interstate. Most fabric companies will have a local rep so please call and find out if there is someone near you. You could search overseas as well but keep in mind the shipping charges. To begin with, try not to think about having a fabric made up just for you as the minimum order qty will be out of your reach (often 20-60 rolls). Which leads us to HOWThis is the most important part. How you approach Fabric Agents and how you communicate your needs will determine your fabric success!I recommend the first contact made is via a phone call. But before you pick up the phone be prepared.Prepare yourself by:–Creating two moodboards; one for colour and one for styling- this is important to show the agent what you need  if you don’t know the names of the fabric-Detail, very specifically, who your target market is so they understand the price point and end look.-And, how will your target market be using your garment?-You might also like to find garments that use similar fabrics so show what you like.Have this at the ready and pick up the phone. Ok, so WHAT fabric do I need?Leave this up to the Fabric Agents! They are very knowledgeable, they ARE the experts in fabric. You can have a look through the range but if you give them an idea of what you are looking for from the above list then they will be able to suggest a variety of fabrics to suit.  If you follow the previously mentioned preparation steps they will be able to...

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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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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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Fabric and Printing

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 in Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Lifestyle, Manufacturer, Sample Room Solutions |

 Photo: Sample Room’s WorkroomAs an emerging designer, how do you know what to do to achieve the look and finish for your designs? And if you want prints or logos on the fabric, whether small or all over, which is the best way to go ahead with that? Is it easiest to purchase the type of fabric you’re after with the prints already on them? But what about your logo? How does that get printed? What if the print is a specific design in itself – which is the best way to have it printed?So many questions! So many possibilities! It can be more than enough to discourage a start-up!I am hoping that the information below will help guide you, at least with a few things to think about, although I am aware that it might confuse you more. When we work with a client, we can help guide them and answer all the questions that arise. It may be just a few key questions that narrow down the choices to the one that suits your design, brand and label.Most often, we’ve found that the answer to these questions lies with the individual designer, you may have the vision but just don’t know what it is called and how to go about the process to get the result you are looking for. It really will be dependent on how much money is at your disposal.If you are looking at adding prints to your designs, there are quite a few choices and different reasons for each choice.The type of fabric, the final use of the garment, the finish you are looking to achieve and the quantity of garments you would like to make, all have an input into the final decision you will make.For example, if the stretch of the fabric is important to the design such as sportswear then the print finish will have an effect on the stretch of the garment. Choose the wrong print and you will find the print will restrict the fit and pull, resulting in a poor finish.However, there are some rules when it comes to printing. Let’s take a quick look at some of those options.Yardage Printing This type of printing is all over the fabric and is best suited if you are designing a garment that has an even all-over design. If you are looking to design your own print or have a surface print designer to design one for you then be mindful to choose a 2 way print (can have 2 panels cut in different directions that look the same) over a 1 way print as this will give you better fabric usage, reducing your garment costs. Often a yardage print is the right choice but depending on how you print it, you might be up with a large initial outlay depending on the number of colours, the detail of...

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