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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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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Building Relationships in the Fashion Industry

Building Relationships in the Fashion Industry

Posted by on Jun 7, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Industry Know How, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

Like any workplace, the fashion industry thrives on relationships.The way you work with those around you, will greatly affect and influence your ability to forge ahead. Build your relationships early. Make yourself known.At Sample Room, our extensive experience in the fashion industry tells us that it is a fickle business. Manufacturers are fickle, suppliers too. Customers are fickle. Fabrics and tastes often have a quick turnaround.  Everything you thought was solid and reliable one week can alter by the next. And that makes the entire industry cautious. Nobody wants to make a mistake. Production runs cost money and if there’s an error in the design, fabric, trim, then most people don’t want to own up to it.‘It was your fault!’ ‘You never told me that!’ ‘This wasn’t meant to be there!’ We’ve pretty much heard them all.Here at Sample Room, we have seen some extraordinary successes from new start-ups, and we’ve seen some abysmal failures too. And we think it comes down to relationships and the way you deal with those around you. It’s how you handle yourself and your relationships with suppliers and colleagues and manufacturers when it all goes awry that matter, and define how you go on.So how do we suggest you build your relationships, so that you can be successful, wherever you are within the industry?Don’t play the game of blame. When things go wrong, it’s never a good idea to point the finger of blame. It only puts those around you offside, and therefore reluctant to work with you again. It also can create enemies. Admit that a mistake has been made. If it’s your mistake, certainly own up to it as this will hold you in good stead. We admire those around us who can say, ‘Yep, that was my fault. Sorry. Let’s move on.’Keep your word.If you make a commitment or a promise to get something done, make sure you do it. If you tell a manufacturer that you’ll get your designs to them by a particular date, then do it. Please, never let a deadline amble past. If you can’t manage the deadline by the agreed time, speak up and perhaps agree to a new date. This shows honesty and respect.Congratulate others and share the successes.When your production run goes without a hitch, make sure you thank and congratulate all those involved in the process. This will help build allies for you within the industry, and we know you’re going to need them.In short, treat others with respect and kindness. Always. And that includes yourself, too. Believe in yourself and your ability to create and...

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Transform your IKEA Kura with the Safe Night Net

Transform your IKEA Kura with the Safe Night Net

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Mentee | 0 comments

 So often people have an idea for a ‘Thing’… this ‘Thing’ is made from fabric but it is not ‘Fashion’ or even Clothing. In today’s blog you will find out about one of our clients, Megan, and her journey to create a bed cover using an IKEA bed. The Safe Night Net looks like a normal mosquito net, but it’s not. It’s designed to keep some things out and others in. The mesh used is 100% made in the USA — used for industrial applications. It looks and feels good, but can also survive all kinds of mistreatment without developing tears or holes. See just how strong it is in this video when put to the test against normal mosquito netting.This specialty product is made by a small family business operating out of Australia, and they are dedicated to producing a quality product for Safe Night Net (plus they will back it up with a 12-month guarantee against tears and holes). We asked Megan some important questions on how she started the process of creating the world’s strongest mosquito net1. What is your label and who is it for?My brand is the Safe Night Net. It is a very strong net that fully encloses an IKEA bed. It is for parents of children aged 3 and up. It’s a mosquito net, but it can work for children with a variety of issues, including sensory processing disorders.2. How long ago did you start the process of your own label?Over two years ago. It’s been a much slower process than I expected. A big part of this was waiting on shipments of materials from overseas. And finding a Patternmaker!3. What is the biggest thing you have learnt through the process?That other people’s input is VITAL.If it wasn’t for other people’s expertise (including Julia’s), I would never have got this far. I’m not really a collaborator by nature – being a bit of a know-it-all and an introvert – and I’ve got away with it on previous projects where I have a lot of expertise, but NOT THIS TIME. Trying to enter a new industry is a massively challenging and complex undertaking. You need a guide.Also, discussing your project with others – even if they aren’t experts – can throw up very useful ideas. Here’s a recent example: I was telling a close friend I had booked the first photo shoot for my product. She asked how I was styling the product. I said “I’m not styling it – it’s a practical product, not really a décor thing”. My friend was horrified and said I was missing a big opportunity to market my product on social media with cute photos. She was totally right. If I hadn’t (manically) gathered together some quilts, cushions, etc, – and ordered some adorable stickers for the bed – my photos would have looked super dull and medical. Looking back on it, I...

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