Already a while ago Ihave started on my latest dress collection. It was always my plan to move from the t-shirts back to dresses and other womens' wear. Because I am not the best pattern maker, I have paid someone to help with with that, unfortunatelly none of the patterns matched my designs. Getting the needed changes I have to pay her again and again,until the pattern matches my design. And while I can understand what she was explaining, I do not lke, that this was not discussed with me prior to starting the collaboration. For example, I understand that one of my dress ideas had a very complicated design that would break up some of the seams and it wouldbe difficult to make this dress fitting to a person. But rather than telling me that and asking if I therefore like to change the design or remove the design from the collection, it was just altered. So, now I am back with the old crew. yes that is right! I have reached out to my irish manufacturer. While they are rather expensive, with them I know, I show them a drawing and they make not only the pattern but the sample garment and it will match 90% to the discussed drawing, which is really all I need. For some reason this manufacturer seems to be the only one willing to work this rather unusual way. I have reached out to other manufactures in Germany as well as Poland, but they will only make patterns if I provide them with a full specification pack (it is various technical drawings with all sorts of measurements, inside and out). I understand they want this to cover their butts, as they can always point at the drawing and say: but this is what you wanted. However, it is work that I find to be rather difficult without having the actual garment... which makes me running in circles.
You probably have guessed it but the prints I usually have on my dresses (see pictures) are designed by myself. And I find that those prints with the organic material are a unique selling point to my collections and therefore I will focus more on creating new fabric prints rather than dress patterns. Longterm I will have certain dress types that do not change as much, but the prints will.
Tomorrow I have my consultation and I will get the final price on the 9 sample garments I want to get done. It will probably turn out to be 200 Euro per garment + the material that I will still need to source. To reduce my costs the samples will be done with plain organic cotton fabric as this will cost in those low quantities 10€/yard rather than 40€/yard for my prints - yes this is how expensive it is to get my prints on organic material. I am aware that usually in large quantities I should not pay more than 5-10€/yard but then I cannot guarantee the qualitiy of the product anymore. So, as long as I am not in a position to order 1000 yard per print I will have to go with the expensive option. :)
My main failure from the t-shirt collection is advertising. As of yet, nobody has told me that my shirts are crap and I have enough people around me, that would tell me if the shirts were in fact bad. On the contrary, people that have bought my shirts have given me feedback that they are surprised about the good quality. As if organic, fairtrade shirts for about 30 Euro cannot be that good. Well, my costing is quite tight and my margin low. In any way, mouth to mouth advertising does not work as good as I had hoped. Now, it is not the time for t-shrts anymore (baby, it's cold outside). With that I need to come up with a good advertising campaign. And the first step was a fotoshooting. And let me tell you, getting the pictures done the way I wanted was more difficult as I would have thought.
With these pictures I am now working on a flyer to distribute in organic shops. I also am looking into various means online marketing. I have started on pinterest, have to be more active on facebook and instagram and then there is google ads... We will see how that works...
But here the link to pinterest, if you want to pins some :) https://www.pinterest.de/keleven9653/organic-fashion-k-eleven/
It has been quite some time since my last entry... what can I say, I did not want to rant and it seems like the universe was against me, so I kept quiet. Now, some time has past and I can laugh most of it off.
So far my business is a massive failure. This is hard to admit and you do not want to know agout the frustrated tears I have cried about it. I will, however, not give up yet. You should always know when to best give up and count your losses, but this is not the time right now. There is still some fight left. Imagine all those great artists, intenventers and business owners would have given up the after the first failure - let me tell you we wouldn't have a lot of beautiful and wonderful things in our life.
With that thought I am currently working on two business directions (see previous posts from today). Naturally I am hoping that both will pay off.
In the meantime I am organizing a networking meet-up here in Berlin. So far only 2 other designers have agreed to come, but I want this to become a regular thing as I can use a bigger network.
pennyless fashion designer working towards London