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
- Plan a Collection or Piece of Clothing
- Make a Sample
- Release the product with a good marketing push on social media, email lists and your website/blog
- Have a selling period and designate a cut off for taking orders. I suggest a 1-2 week selling period. Create a sense of urgency but give yourself enough time to promote it online. You will need to post in several ways and several times to push your product.
- Be sure to give your buyers a delivery window for their order. If production takes 2 weeks and you are having a 1 week selling window then they need to know they will be waiting 3 weeks for their order.
- DON'T FORGET to calculate the max orders you can make with the fabric on hand so you don't oversell!
- Tally up your orders.
- Decide to produce overages to use excess fabric.
- If you decide this route use your orders as a guide of what sizes to make. The sizes that sold best are the ones you want to make extras of so they will be easy to sell later.
- You may want to chose the produce now option if you have a good following and can push the product. If you don't think you can sell more don't waste money on production costs.
- If you don't think you can sell more of this item (perhaps it is seasonal and it's towards the end of the season or it's a holiday item) then just keep the material.
- BUT be sure to use the fabric in one of your next designs. Perhaps it will make a cute trim or lining on a new design. Remember excess fabric is considered a financial loss. Don't let it sit around.
- Complete Lot
- Deliver orders
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.