ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL WIN THIS SET MADE BY MELANIER JEWELRY!
JUST ENTER BELOW!
(Photo by Julie Daniels Photography)
I have kind of big news today! OK REALLY BIG NEWS TODAY!
I am going to offer my first MENTORING DOWNLOADABLE SERIES!
It will be EASY TO USE, INTERACTIVE, and designed to MAKE YOU MONEY!
So who's ready to hear what this workshop is all about? Here's a clue:
That's right! It's all about planning for the holiday season! After all..."It's the most wonderful time of the year!" Insert music notes here.
It's the time of year retail businesses make most of their income. Statistics show the average retail business makes up to 60% of their profits during the Christmas holiday season.
So let me ask you a few questions:
Are you set up to maximize your profits during the holiday season? When do you start selling? When do you cut off sales? Are your product offerings set up to increase your average order size? Should you run sales and if so what kind? How do you manage production?
If you answered, "not sure" or "I haven't really thought about it." to any of those questions. This workshop series is for you! The best part is I am breaking it down into categories so you can pick and choose to focus on the courses that you nee most!
If you are ready to push yourself and your business to have the most profitable, organized and energized holiday season yet, stay tuned for details!
For those of you that don't know I have an online children’s clothing business, kangacoo designs. Last week I sold 100 pairs of girls ruffle socks in 2 days using an email campaign. I do most of my sales through Facebook and Email even though I have a website. I have gradually been converting my Facebook subscribers to email subscribers to give me more control of the selling process without having to pay to boost posts on Facebook.
Today I want to give you a few tips to create sales results with your email campaigns:
Try it out and let me know how it works for you!
Yours in success! Katie TFBM
You might also want to check out:
KATIE TFBM: I know your children inspired your kids line but you started in women's fashion. What inspired you to get into the fashion industry?
Andrea: My love for sketching and fashion very early on and beautiful things really. I just love the creative process, to see something drawn come to life, the ever-changing fashions, colours, inspiration, no one day is the same as the last. I get bored easily so fashion is perfect for me.
KATIE TFBM: About your Creative Process...What is your favorite design you ever made?
Andrea: I'm still working on that one, I always feel like I could still do better…
Katie TFBM: I know your children inspire your designs. What about them inspires your creative process?
Andrea: My daughter is very kooky and experimental, she's not afraid to wear crazy outfits that she puts together herself. So I guess as she's pushing the boundaries she pushes me along somehow.
Katie TFBM: How do you keep your designs fresh each season?
Andrea: Oh god that's easy how do I keep the collection under five hundred pieces, the inspiration is endless. I always find amazing vintage pieces and I work with very talented people in India who make the process easy. The hardest part is usually to say stop the collection is big enough, this has to go into the next one.
Katie TFBM: I know you mfg in India, why did you choose this location?
Andrea: India has the best beaders in the world, they can do anything and it's done by hand not by machine as in China. There is no way I could find anyone in Australia or anywhere else in the Western World for that matter (except maybe in the Haute Couture studios in Paris) who could our embellishments. But apart from that, India is so inspiring, the colours, the people, the country, I feel naturally drawn to it, I'm happy to spend time there.
Katie TFBM: What are your top tips for a designer looking for an overseas mfg?
Andrea: Probably visit trade shows where relevant manufacturers exhibit.
Katie TFBM: What is the minimum amount of garments one should be ready produce before looking for an overseas mfg?
Andrea: It depends, the problem with places like China is that minimums are high, India does much smaller quantities, so it could be anything from 50 units.I think my first production run was less than what we make now for show room samples, quite funny.
Katie TFBM: How do you ensure seamstresses contacted to work in other countries are treated and paid fairly?
Andrea: We work predominantly with one workshop that produces exclusively for us and have done so from the very beginning, I go there twice a year to work on the new collection with the beaders. I can see first hand what's going on, the premises, the cleanliness and the fact that all work is done on the premises and is not subcontracted out. The women there are very skilled and get paid accordingly. The owner of the workshop is female, she makes sure the women have flexible hours and can take their children to school etc. Our workshop has gone from employing a few women to most of the women in the village which is really amazing. It makes me happy to know that we have provided extra income for those families and it reassures me to see that the women that have worked there from the start are still there except that they're now supervising and training the newer employees.
Our workshop has grown with us from the beginning and I know that the workers are treated fairly and and get paid fairly but if you produced overseas remotely it might be harder to tell how workshops or factories are run except if they're certified or are happy to be audited.
Andrea's Top Business Tip
Be very clear in how you want your business/brand to look and stick to it. In order to be good at something I think you have to follow your passion but stay true to your vision, it's easy to get distracted.
This photo is from a beautiful spread for TFBM Magazine by Meagan Alisa Photography featuring Tutudumonde clothing. Click the photo to go the magazine page. You'll find this spread in ISSUE 2.
THERE ARE MORE INTERVIEWS TO BE READ...
I know I said I was only covering 2 ways of handling production but I wanted to throw in a BONUS POST for those of you who are ready to move on to wholesaling or are ready to produce up front so your items are ready to ship. If you aren't quite ready to front the expense don't worry. I have already written posts in this series to help you out. Links are at the bottom of this post.
I want to start with a warning. Before you order a bunch of fabric and pay to produce up front you need to do your homework and have a network of people to sell to. Whether it's your own money you are spending to produce up front, or an investors, you don't want to waste it. While there is the risk of financial loss with producing up front there is also a lot to gain. Customers love instant gratification so ready to ship product will usually create more orders for you.
So that you can be sure you are ready to produce up front with minimal financial risk I want to give you a list of things you must have before you decide to produce up front:
1. An audience to sell to. Do you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Etsy Shop followers, and an email mailing list of qualified customers to promote your product to?
2. A history of sales to help you determine what to produce. Do you know what sizes sell best so you can create a production run that will sell and leave you with little overstock?
3. An overstock plan. Do you have an outlet to unload overstock? This could be a discount site or an affiliate business willing to promote a sale for you.
4. Pricing knowledge. Do you know how to properly price your product so that you don't take a loss when you have to run a sale?
If you have these 4 things under control good for you! Push forward with production upfront! This is a major step in getting ready to wholesale! With wholesale you will have to produce up front before you get paid so starting with a retail run where you front the production is a great start to getting used to the financial process of running a wholesale fashion business.
Have you read the other posts in this series that will help you with production?
Psst...you are the first to know!!! I will soon be releasing an ebook on how to plan production for the holidays to maximize holiday profit including a production schedule you can personalize! Be sure you sign up for my email list so you don't miss it by clicking below.
Today I continue with my series on production planning for the independent designer with a lean budget. In my last post I covered how to manage your production based on taking orders first and ordering supplies based on the orders you get. This is the easiest way to work closest to the dollar and have little waste or excess stock. Early on in your business it is so important to work close to the dollar. I can't tell you how many times I remind myself of the old saying "waste not want not". I say it when designing, cutting, producing and especially in fabric purchasing!
But let's say you are ready to move up to buying your materials up front. Either you have found a great deal on a fabric you love or you have to purchase from a manufacturer pre-season. Either way you have said amount of fabric to use and you want to use it all and sell it all!
It may be tempting to just figure out how many garments you can make using your, let's say 50 yards of fabric, and then produce 10 size runs and try to sell them all. But this is how designers get stuck with inventory they can't sell.
It may also be tempting to make a sample then put it in your shop and wait for orders then make them as they come in. But this is a time sucker and requires you to keep pushing that product which may become stale to your shoppers.
You want to Create, Sell, Produce all in one streamlined process that will not waste fabric or leave you with inventory you can't sell (which means lost money for you) and here is how you do it.
APPROACH 2: Production based on amount of materials available
Great job time to start over with a new design or collection. Or perhaps if this one sold well offer it in some new fabrics or colors with a different sleeve length or hem for the new season!
UP NEXT: BONUS POST!!! Producing without taking orders first.
YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT THESE RELATED POSTS
Manufacturing your line with minimal investment is an art. But it's one I know a lot about. In the 7 years I have had my business I have never invested more than what I have made selling my product. I started with a sample and made up front sales with a 2 week out delivery date. This allowed me to collect the money up front, buy materials make my product and deliver the goods. I would then take the profits to make other samples and sell other designs, later investing my profits in marketing and showrooms. Again I built my whole fashion business on nothing more than a $10 investment. I really believe in organic growth because it worked for me.
There are many ways to approach production but I have chosen to detail 2 ways that help you run your business in a financially lean way with little waste or excess stock. My blog is geared towards the independent fashion business or start up. I want to teach you the right way to start; the way that does not require a ton of money, because most likely you don't have it and if you are new you don't have an investor willing to take the risk.
The biggest difference between the 2 approaches to production is this:
In one you have good access to your materials and know you can get as much as you need for a good 2-3 months (Your sample making through selling period.) In the other you are buying materials up front. (Let's say a 50 yd fabric roll in the fabric district that you got a great deal on.) In one case you are trying to only buy as much material as you need in the other you are tying to sell as much of the material on hand as you can.
Still with me? Let's start with approach 1.
APPROACH 1: Production based on your actual sales: In this approach you are not buying your materials up front but you have done your due diligence to know that you can buy more throughout the next few months. DON'T just look online in retail shops to see if lots of stores carry it and say OK there is a ton of that fabric out there so I am good. I made that mistake before. Read more HERE. You want to find out who manufactures the fabric, what the wholesale price is and how much they have in stock and if they will still be producing more. OK so you have secured the fabric availability let's move on to the production cycle.
Now get the word out! Add a nice listing to your shop then drive traffic to drive sales. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,
Email Blast, Direct Sales, Walk a Sample into a few local boutiques to get orders.
YOU'LL WANT TO CHECK OUT THESE RELATED POSTS
An ode to my mentor and an invite for you to be involved in The Fashion Business Mentor Magazine Issue 5
HELP ME HONOR MY GRANDMOTHER BY PINNING THIS PHOTO.
Those of you that follow me regularly know that I was a bit quiet the beginning of this year due to having a baby. But there was more going on that I didn't talk about. My mentor, biggest cheerleader and the one who taught me to sew passed away. My Grandmother, Kay Massone. But she was so much more than that to me. She taught me to be patient and kind, to give back to the community, to make others feel validated and important. She had a heart made of gold and being around her made me want to be more like her. And she was strong. So strong! My grandmother survived breast cancer in her 30's and again last year. But then the cancer reappeared in her lungs and bones and took her life this Spring.
My biggest fear was that she wouldn't get to meet my new baby Jude before she passed. I was lucky to heal pretty quickly from my C-section and when Jude was 3 1/2 weeks old I boarded a plane with him and my daughter to the Bay Area to say good bye to my grandmother. My family was not sure if she would be able to hold on until I got there but she did and even managed to whisper the word "sweet" when she met Jude. I stayed with her the last few days of her life, sitting and crying and telling her how much she meant to me. I could not have asked for a more proper goodbye.
Towards the end of her life as my grandmother got too weak to talk she still sent texts. God bless her for embracing technology. This was the last text she sent to me.
"You are a beautiful thread in the fabric of my life."
I could not ask for more beautiful words from someone I loved so very much. They not only describe how she felt about me but how I felt about her and how I feel about YOU. Yes you. I feel so fortunate to be a part of a community of designers like you. I enjoy our interactions, supporting each other, watching your businesses grow, answering your questions and seeing your creativity. You add such beauty to my life on emotional and visual levels.
I would like to invite you to help me honor my grandmother in TFBM Magazine Issue 5 the Fall issue. I would like to make a quilt using squares sent by you. It will be a visual representation of "a beautiful thread in the fabric of my life". I will take the quilt squares you all send me and make one large quilt. The quilt will be used in an editorial in the Fall issue and all involved will get credit. You do not have to be a clothing designer to participate. You can be a photographer, patternmaker, accessory designer, or just a follower and supporter of the tfbm blog and tfbm magazine.
If you would like to be involved here is what you need to do.
Make one 12"x12" quilt square. It could be a beautiful patterned fabric, textured fabric, or one you embellish. Just something that represents you. It should be made using woven fabric only (no stretch please). Then mail it to me by August 1. I will then take all the squares you send to make one quilt.
If you want to participate please send me an email and I will give you the address to send it to. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you in advance for participating. It means the world to me.
The big buzz this morning is a new Pantene commercial saying that women apologize too much (see the YouTube video below). Since a large percentage of my following is women it got me thinking. How does this affect the way were a seen as business owners. And are you using the 5 letter word inappropriately?
There are times when an apology is important. A damaged item, a late order, a wrong charge these things happen in our business and require a sincere "I'm Sorry" but do we also apologize when we shouldn't and does it make us look like we aren't capable and in control of our business? So I came up with a list of things to stop apologizing for when it comes to your business and some alternative statements you can use. Let me know if these would work for you.