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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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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What is a Toile?

What is a Toile?

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Lifestyle, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

Photo: Actual Toile Fitting in Sample RoomThere are many tricks of the trade within any industry. Certainly, within the fashion industry, one such trick is a toile. But what is it, exactly?A toile is a word, derived from the French language, which describes a mock-up of your design. It is an early version of a garment, made of a cheaper, but similar fabric, to test and perfect the design. You can see how important this is to the industry, and also you, as the designer. It is in this toile that a designer can see if the garment is going to sing or sink. It is a necessary step and will assist in avoiding wasting money on sampling that will otherwise fail. I like to call it a quick and dirty version of your design.When it comes to a toile, it is essential to use a fabric that is similar to the one you will use for your garments. If your design is made from a heavy and stiff fabric, then find something cheap and similar to this. If you’re going for a drapey, slinky and lightweight feel, then yes, do the same: find something close to this, but much cheaper and use for your toile.In addition to being a similar weight and feel to your actual fabric, the fabric for a toile should be light in colour, so that you can use tailor’s chalk to mark out where changes need to be made. Here is where you get to test the design lines, and the fit of the garment. You can make markings on the toile and see if a lower V neckline will suit better than the round neck that you initially sketched. The toile will guide you to add darts, or lengthen the hemline, or if cap sleeves will fit better than a three-quarter sleeve.The toile is your important chance to play with your design.Once you’ve made the changes to the toile, then translate them back to your pattern. If you’ve had to cinch in areas on the toile where there was too much fabric, or if you’ve had to loosen where the toile showed pulling and stretching, translate these into your pattern. You might even choose to make a second toile if you’ve made a lot of changes.We prefer to start with a toile. There is nothing worse than making a garment up with topstitching, pockets, overlocking and lining only to find out the shape is not right. It really is a waste of money. A toile costs approx half the cost of a sample if not less. Therefore this is valuable money wasted. I much prefer that we get the shape, length and placement of key measurements right first before creating the final garment.Another option is the make the toile in the final sample fabric but only make it to a toile standard. We call this a...

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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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Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

Posted by on Jul 12, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

Influencer marketing. Have you heard of it? It’s huge these days. But what is it, really? Even if you haven’t actually heard of it, or recognised the term, we reckon you’re probably aware of it.Wikipedia defines influencer marketing as a form of marketing where the focus is placed on key individuals, or one in particular, rather than the target market itself 1. It’s really the sway of one individual over others, influencing choices, purchases, and lifestyles. We already know that people buy from others that they know and trust. Influencer marketing builds on that premise and is about people buying from other people who they admire and respect, and importantly, who are seen as authentic.But how does that affect you as a person who’s about to delve into the market? At Sample Room, we think influencer marketing has the potential to impact your business and the ultimate success or failure your brand. There’s a lot of murky waters surrounding influencers, so it’s best to be well-informed. Here are a few tips for you to ponder.• You need to think about your brand, about who you want to represent it. If your brand is luxury bed linen, you need to approach someone who embodies class, all things luxe and lavish.• Do your homework before you get involved with an influencer. There’s a lot of fake influencers out there, those who are in it only for the perks. Some want to be paid for their role in promoting your brand, others are content with discounts off your merchandise. Your homework should include an understanding of the other brands that the influencer works for, to make sure they complement yours, not compete against it.• To use an agent or not to use a PR agent? An agent might provide much-needed assistance to wade through these murky waters, but it comes at a mighty cost. Can you afford the outlay of an agent’s fees for your brand? Can your brand afford not to use an agent? You alone can answer this.Influencers do speak with each other. Despite it being a huge part of the marketing world, it’s still small enough for influencers to know each other. While you’re doing your research behind influencers, before you make your pitch, make sure you tailor your request to the individual influencer. Think about why you want to work with that particular person, and what is specific about them. Don’t simply ‘copy and paste’ your requests, as it will reflect poorly on you and your brand. You can also use various apps such as Tribe and Brandsnob.• Draw up a contract. Clearly outline what you want from the influencer, and what you’ll give them in return, whether that be product or payments. This is a business relationship, not a friendship or a favour. Make sure that the influencer follows through with what they say they will do...

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