Rank #1: SFD041: How to Set Up Your Fashion Brand Successfully, from Samples to Production
Tricia runs her fashion studio, Hello World Fashion, in DTLA. With more than a decade of experience in the industry designing, sourcing and doing production, she can help you set up your fashion brand successfully, from the entire design through development process, including sampling and production.
One of the things I love most about how Tricia runs her studio is her dedication to designer's successes. While many sample rooms or development houses will just take your money and do what you tell them (even if they know it's a bad idea or won't work), Tricia will give you her honest constructive advice to help you set up your fashion brand for success and sure you make the right decisions throughout the entire process. She also is completely transparent about her process, suppliers and the supply chain (she'll help you source your fabric, but won't keep that supplier a secret from you - whaaat? YES!).
Tricia shares tons of lessons she's learned in her industry experience including when / why you want to source locally versus offshore, whether you should use stock or custom fabrics, and how to think about wholesale and retail pricing to set yourself up for success.
In the interview, we talk about:
- Different business models to gain success with your fashion brand
- When and why you'd want to develop custom fabric vs working with stock materials
- What the design to development process looks like
- The importance of a tech pack whether you're making 20 units or 20k units
- The most important questions you need to ask your suppliers as a startup designer
- Options for protecting your designs (and why you shouldn't always worry about it)
- How to think about scaling and planning for the future
Feb 19 2018
Rank #2: SFD058: Navigating the “4 P’s” of Fashion Marketing and Overcoming Networking Intimidation, with Robyn Spady
One area of the fashion industry that unites us all together is marketing - getting the right message about our products to the right people. On this episode of The Successful Fashion Designer podcast, I interview Robyn Spady, a lifelong handweaver and fashion industry professional with over 17 years of experience.
Throughout our engaging conversation, we discuss the 4 main pillars of fashion marketing: product, price, position, and promotion. Robyn shares her secrets to successfully networking with industry pros and how to handle hearing “no” in challenging conversations.
Her advice will surely help you approach fashion marketing the right way. It’s always easier to grow from small success than recover from large mistakes. Start your business off on the right foot by giving this podcast episode your full attention!Outline of This Episode
- [3:45] Robyn Spady, textile expert and fashion professional, is my guest for this episode
- [5:50] Robyn shares how she got started in handweaving and why she enjoys this niche market of fashion design
- [16:55] Overcoming intimidation while networking in your niche market
- [24:26] Learn to understand the “no’s” you receive in fashion design
- [32:55] The importance of marketing to the right people
- [42:28] Navigating through the 4 P’s in fashion marketing
- [56:51] Keeping your brand fresh and examining buyer/wearer demographics
- [1:03:24] Here’s a tool that helps gain your brand exposure
Networking doesn’t have to be intimidating! Use these tips to secure great connections
Networking in the fashion industry shouldn’t feel like a burden. It should always be about connecting passionate people to others in a shared community. You can leverage people and their extensive knowledge without taking advantage of them, and reaching out with questions could lead to career-changing conversations.
Robyn shares main tips for networking success on this episode. Here they are!
- Do your homework on potential contacts
- Be prepared and respectful when initiating a conversation
- Focus your questions on one specific topic - not the entire industry
- If you receive a “no” or “not right now,” understand the reasoning behind that decision
The goal at the heart of fashion marketing is communicating your brand’s message and products to the right buyer at the right time. Robyn encourages all fashion designers to be laser-focused on the right type of customer. She explains, “If you market to everybody, you’ll miss everybody.”
Many fashion designers fear missing out on sales if they have a target audience that’s too focused. But that belief simply isn’t true! Robyn believes that “When you meet a customer’s need beautifully and better than everyone else, the result will be more business than you know what to do with!”
Don’t fall into the trap of creating products for every demographic in every size. Learn from Robyn’s extensive experience and develop your targeted fashion marketing strategy. Check out this episode for all the details.Here’s how to navigate the “4 P’s” in fashion marketing
Defining the “4 P’s” in fashion marketing for your brand will give you a launchpad for future marketing initiatives. Robyn shares a few key ideas on each of the 4 and wants you to understand them. Check it out!
- Product - Understand what your market is looking for regarding trends and functionality
- Price - Know that overpricing and underpricing are two sides to the same dangerous sword. Know the value of your product and price it accordingly - people will want to pay!
- Position - Your position establishes the image/identity of your brand in the minds of your customers. Encouraging your buyers to be educated in the eco-conscious decisions behind your products or the fair-trade practices are all part of positioning.
- Promotion - Promotion answers the question, “How will you spread the word about your brand and your vision?”
Continuing with her belief that no brand can serve the needs of every customer, Robyn wants every listener to consider buyer vs wearer demographics when designing. She points out that the wearer isn’t always the buyer (for example, grandparents purchasing clothing for a grandchild), and that special considerations in marketing and design need to be made accordingly.
Rotating through various fabrics, colors, cuts, etc. will keep your products fresh in the eyes of buyers. Local boutiques are always searching for new and exciting pieces - your brand needs to evolve as buying interests shift. To hear more about how to keep your products on the racks, be sure to listen to this episode of The Successful Fashion Designer podcast.Resources & People Mentioned
- Heddlecraft magazine
- PODCAST: “Don’t Keep Your Day Job”
- Ep 48, “How an Amazing Eco-Friendly Clothing Brand Was Built on the Passion of One Woman”
- Help a Reporter Out website
Jul 09 2018
Fashion Is Your Business - a retail technology podcast
Wear Your Dreams by Alice Oluyitan
Spirit of 608: Fashion, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability + Tech
Fashion Culture Design
Fashion Revolution Podcast
American Fashion Podcast
The Future Of Fashion Business
Unravel A Fashion Podcast
Drive from The Business of Fashion
Loose Threads — Inside the new consumer economy
The Glossy Podcast
Rank #3: SFD080 Production & Manufacturing Processes for Small Batch Fashion
Jessica Osborn is the CEO and founder of Privy Label, a company that help brands and boutiques create their own custom clothing lines from design to delivery. She works closely with small-batch manufacturers in the USA in order to cut down on the wasteful practice of overseas manufacturing.
Jessica has six years of experience in the fashion industry, the first five of which she worked for a startup in New Orleans that went from being unknown to being carried in Nordstrom and REI across the country! After experiencing such amazing growth in just those five years, she learned a LOT about the production process and how small brand manufacturing works.
Jessica saw an opportunity to give boutiques and brand the capacity to have an in-house design and development team who will work to make their brand more successful, and she took that opportunity and ran with it. In this episode, she talks about production models, pricing structures, and how to make your production more efficient and cost-effective. This episode truly is a must-listen for everyone!
In the interview (which you'll love) we will cover:
- The difference between traditional and on-demand manufacturing
- What it’s like working in the on-demand manufacturing business model
- How competitive these prices are with other market prices
- The production process from idea to execution
- The timeline between the first idea and the first sample / proof of concept
- The (natural) disappointments that come with the first sample
- The (simple, “old-fashioned,” interesting things that clients do to have a successful launch
- How brands are funding / finding finances to get everything off of the ground
- Budget price ranges to get things off the ground and where that money comes from
- Cost differentials between sustainable and ethical manufacturers vs. other manufacturers
- The resources that have become available to designers in the last five years with US factories and suppliers
- The number one mistakes Jessica sees designers making during initial development and manufacturing practices
- The benefits of creating a smaller collection to market test
- Best advice Jessica has for fashion designers - where to start (hint: research, research, research!)
FROM ZERO TO NORDY’S
Jessica started her fashion career as a creative designer for an athleisure brand in New Orleans that was fairly unknown. In her five years working there, the brand went from unknown to being carried across the country at places like REI and Nordstrom. She picked up on a lot during her time there, working with factories overseas and exploring the production process. Then she decided it was time to start her own business.
TIME FOR A BUSINESS
Jessica started Privy Label one year ago providing innovative design to delivery solutions for brands starting their own private labels. She wears many hats during the process, helping her clients with sourcing, fabric, labels, trim, and finding local pattern-makers and seamstresses. She does sample development, fitting, and then sources manufacturers in the US that play nicely with small minimums.
She has a large variety of clients, and her job is to think about all of the nitty-gritty details that the client probably hasn’t thought of (because there’s sooo much to think of!). Jessica touches on a few of the steps, like the initial design phase, fabric selection, tech pack creation, and sample development, then the always necessary changes that need to be made after the first sample (most clients don’t realize it’ll take two or three samples to hone in a design!).
One thing that’s important to Jessica is focusing on finding local vendors and suppliers. These are good for a few reasons, one of which is speed! She likes to find fabrics that use less water to produce, and other sustainable fabrics, while specifically focusing on reducing the carbon impact of shipping mass quantities overseas and reducing the amount of overstock created during mass production. So important.
A FONT OF FASHION WISDOM
Jessica has been at this for a while, and has experienced almost every facet of the fashion industry. She’s full of advice about every step of the way, and talks about the differences she sees in the industry already after 5-6 years of being part of it. There are more resources available to designers now than there were before--and she’s the place to find them! She talks about the biggest mistakes she sees new fashion designers making, how to get your samples into the hands of people making decisions (which may be “old-fashioned”--but they work!), and how to ensure your styles are cohesive.
Oh, and make sure you test the market. Then retest. Then test, retest, and do it again. Get your customer the product they want!
We loved having such an inspirational resource on the show this week--it’s such a breath of fresh air to hear Jessica’s take on the fashion industry after being in it for so long--her advice is for seasoned fashion industry veterans as much as it’s for the newbie just trying to find their place in the fashion world.
Resources & People Mentioned
- Privy Label website
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan 21 2019
Rank #4: SFD076 Six Steps to Starting a Fashion Line that Sells
Designing and starting a fashion line is exhilarating and inspiring and something most of us want to jump right into. Starting a fashion line that sells is something completely different--but it’s something you can do.
Robyn and I are BACK with a podlet that sums up six easy steps to starting a fashion line that sells. The Successful Fashion Designer podcast has been going for 75(!) episodes, and after interviewing as many talented, business-savvy fashion designers as I have, Robyn and I noticed that many of them had similar advice when it came to designing a fashion line that sells.
We went back through and extracted the golden advice nuggets from their episodes and distilled it down for you here--it’s great advice for everyone that wants to start a fashion line the right way.In the interview (which you’ll love) we cover:
- Finding and owning your niche to create a fashion line that sells
- How NOT to design for everybody (seriously!)
- Solving your own problems by facing and overcoming the fashion challenges that you have
- Doing RESEARCH on other fashion lines
- Actually going to where your customer is hanging out to do MORE research
- Testing, testing, and testing some more--getting feedback on your samples
- Engaging and asking your customer for feedback during the design + development process
- Asking open-ended questions to get more information from your customers
- And so much more!
- Episode 17 with Anna Livermore of Vmora
- Episode 31 with Sarah Coronado
- Episode 39 with Exclusively Kristen
- Episode 70 with Aaron Luo of Caraa
- Episode 44 with Timm Smith of Voormi
- Episode 12 with Colleen Monroe, founder of Untucked Workwear
- Learn more about Robyn and her publication, Heddlecraft Magazine.
Dec 10 2018
Most Popular Podcasts
Rank #5: SFD091 100 Ways NOT to Start A Fashion Brand: These Guys Learned Firsthand What Works and What Doesn't
Starting a fashion brand from scratch is a massive challenge. And when you don’t have big investors and influential connections, it can seem impossible. But these three young entrepreneurs found a way to beat the odds and make their brand a reality.
Meet Salvatore Graci, Angelo Acquista, and Luca Graci, founders of luxury streetwear brand CSNV (Casanova). Their passion and seemingly endless determination helped them take CSNV from just an idea to the runway at LA Fashion Week and beyond.
It sounds like a fairytale, but it wasn’t an easy journey. They share their highs, their lows, and the many lessons they learned along the way!
In the interview (which you’ll love), we will cover:
- The first steps Salvo, Angelo, and Luca took when they decided to launch a brand
- How they made cold emailing work for them
- The personality traits that helped make them successful
- What moves helped them grow their brand’s exposure--and what fell flat!
- How they went about finding factories that could produce their designs (when searching on the internet got them nowhere!)
- The marketing campaign that failed, and how they regained their footing
- Why they turned down a huge investor
- How they got ready for LA Fashion Week
- When they quit their day jobs
- And more!
Luca, Angelo, and Salvatore were all less than 24 years old when they decided to turn their passion for elevated, Italian-inspired streetwear into a label of their own.
It started with a phone call. Salvatore and Angelo had joked about starting a fashion line since high school, but a few years later, Salvo called Angelo and told him they should really do it.
Angelo’s response? “Why not?” They had no experience and no real connections in the industry when they started. Yet in less than two years they went from cold-emailing influencers from Instagram, to being invited to LA Fashion Week.
IT WASN’T ALWAYS EASY
The road wasn’t without its obstacles. The guys recall starting out with optimism and enthusiasm, but they had plenty of setbacks. They sent hundreds of emails that never got a response. They made trip after trip to Italy to search for factories and suppliers, spending their savings and coming back exhausted, with nothing to show for it.
“We’d come back from a trip and feel like we're still at zero. We're like, what? We just spent so much money, we spent so much time and effort... and yet we're still at zero. So what do we do?”
What they did was keep on going. Although they all had times where they wanted to give up, eventually they found their footing, and gained the traction they needed to turn Casanova into a successful brand.DISCOVERING WHAT’S NEXT
The guys and their brand are still evolving. Since recording the episode, they’ve rebranded again, and they’re still working on new pieces and new ways of getting their designs seen all over the world. One thing’s for sure: from “No way,” to the jetway, to the runway, these three were relentless in pursuing their dream. And it’s just the beginning.
Resources & People Mentioned
Sep 16 2019
Rank #6: SFD062 Building a Profitable Baby Bag Fashion Brand with No Experience
Do you have ideas, big ideas that can change the way consumers use a specific fashion product? Do you spend all your time drawing up designs, getting feedback from friends and family and thinking of new ways to create ease of use for your consumer? Do you spend time wondering how you can build a profitable brand with no experience? Fashion retail is a tough industry to get noticed in, but you know you have the perfect product that is missing from the fashion market and your just not sure how to get it there.
You can make it happen for yourself! Taking a design and building a profitable fashion brand around it, is within reach as long as you're ready to take on the day to day business tasks of building a profitable fashion brand.
This is exactly what Claire Fuller did when she realized that UK retailers were not selling the perfect baby changing bag she was looking for. In this episode of the Successful Fashion Designer Podcast we will talk about her 10 year whirlwind story of building a profitable baby bag fashion brand with no experience.In the interview (which I know you’ll love) we cover:
- Conceptualizing your design ideas with no experience
- Compiling customer feedback to ensure that her baby bag was exactly what moms needed
- Working with a fashion seamstress/designer to bring designs to life
- Why she decided to self fund her first retail orders
- The importance of consumer markets/shows
- Working through distribution of her fashion baby bag
- Following regulations for making a children's product
- Her strategies for researching the marketplace
- The importance of taking classes and seeking guidance from people who have experience in the fashion industry
- How she realized it was time to sell her brand and figuring out the perfect person to be a partner
- Why she registered the brand name and trade name in China as well as the USA
Claire Fuller is an inventor and designer of the Babymule. She sells her brand in the UK and on amazon.
Like you, Claire started with only an idea but had no experience on how to turn it into a profitable baby bag fashion brand.
Claire started her career by working as a production manager for a local sculpture artist. This job prepared her for the design process of her baby bag because it required a lot of research and problem solving to get to that end goal. But nothing could completely prepare her for this major adventure she was about to embark on. She had just had her first baby and was in search of the perfect baby bag but she couldn't seem to find exactly what she was looking for. So she embarked on the journey of designing and producing her own profitable baby bag fashion brand with no experience.What are the ins and outs of starting your own fashion brand?
She talks about everything from the design startup phase all the way to the production and distribution phase. She also shares some of the burdens that rain down once you have hit a peak in your business and you can no longer run this thing on your own.Resources & People mentioned
Aug 06 2018
Rank #7: SFD070 Build a Fashion Brand with a Cult Following
Seeing other fashion brands on social media with these crazy cult followings can be pretty intimidating. You see these fashion brands and think, “I can't possibly generate that much interest in my designs.”
But it’s possible.! You can design products that people want to buy because they are obsessed!
With the right consumer research and branding, you can fill a gap in the market. Create the right product for the right person? Can lead to a cult following. This is exactly what Aaron and Carmen of Caraa did. But not without the leg work it takes to build this kind of cult following.In the interview (which you’ll love) we cover:
- Starting your fashion career in a different field (finance)
- Finding a gap in the fashion market, and figuring out how to fill the gap
- Saturating the fashion accessories market with a unique product
- Learning how to lead with design, but sell based on function
- Launching with only one well researched fashion product
- Doing product research directly with your potential customer
- Wading through all the financial options for funding
- Working with big brands to collaborate
- Why one way pitching doesn't often work out
- Manufacturing locally until you’re ready to manufacture overseas.
Aaron Luo and his partner Carmen Chen Wu, are innovators in the fashion accessories world. They noticed a gap in the market for a bag that would meet the needs of the multifaceted woman. The working woman, the mom, and yogi who needed the right bag to transition throughout all those roles without switching her bag, or worse carrying three of them at once. They have generated a cult following because of their unique, fashion focused, function driven line of bags.Like you, Aaron started his fashion career from an unlikely field.
With 20 years in finance for a company that specializes in clothing production he gained an understanding of the fashion market from a unique perspective. When he and his partner Carmen (designer for many years) discovered a major gap in the market they decided to embark on this exciting new adventure together.Being a designer, it’s not as sexy as TV makes it out to be.
Aaron shares the ins and outs of designing a brand new fashion product. Most people think, “I designed this product, how can I fit it into the current market place?”. But Arron tells us about discovering a gap in the marketplace, then designing a product around what that consumer wants and more importantly what this customer needs.Resources & People Mentioned
Oct 15 2018
Rank #8: SFD035: Build Your Career as a Contract Fashion Designer (and work from home)
It's hard to have a career as a contract fashion designer and work from home. But what if I told you it was possible to get so good that you no longer had to look for it and instead, brands came to you? In this interview, Hillary shares exactly how she did this - and how you can too.
Hillary Glenn is a full-time remote contract fashion designer who built up her freelance business using LinkedIn, networking at trade shows and by going above and beyond with every client project she did. In this episode of the Successful Fashion Designer podcast, she shares exactly how.
We cover tons of other strategies like:
- How to present your portfolio (and why she hasn't updated hers in a really long time)
- How to figure out pricing (and why it's ok if you mess up and underbid)
- Why she always presents more ideas to her clients than they ask for (hint: it gets her more work!)
Hillary also shares her thought process behind calling herself a "contract" fashion designer instead of a "freelance" fashion designer. This is a topic I've discussed before, since most "freelance" work in the fashion industry is actually illegal.
Whether you're trying to start a career as a freelance fashion designer or you've been freelancing for a while, you're going to love this episode.
Oh, and we also talk about her personal journey on launching her own fashion line which she's in the middle of right now! We only touch on it at the end for a few minutes, but she's excited to finally be moving forward after thinking about doing it for years. She said she didn’t want to wait any longer, “there’s no perfect time to do this, so just do it now."Guest Info & Resources
- Hillary's Website
- Connect with Hillary on LinkedIn
- Email Hillary: email@example.com
- Hillary's Brand, Glenn and Glenn
Jan 08 2018
Rank #9: SFD038: Hard Lessons Learned From a Career in Fashion
Stamatina is a designer who finally gave up on her fashion career dream, and wanted to share her fashion career lessons.
Now, I don't want to start this episode with a negative tone. Or make you feel like you too will have to give up on your fashion dream. But I wanted to bring Stamatina on the show after she sent me an email that said this:
"I REALLY wanted to get the “dirt” out THERE!!! I wanted to LET people know my REAL life experience and how much money, time and sweat it took for me to finally give up my lifetime dream!! I felt it was my responsibility to save these newbies / young fashion designers who really had no clue what they were setting their selves up for!!! If I could go back and start over, oh boy!! I would do everything so differently today because the lessons I learned were very expensive and affected not only myself but my family as well."
Here's the thing:
We all go through tough times and learn the hard way. There are stepping stones for everything in life.
But sometimes hearing other people's fashion career lessons can help make these experiences a little easier for ourselves. So in an effort to continue this week with more honest conversation in response to last week's dialog about the painful truths of working in the fashion industry, I invited her on the show.
Here's a little bit of her backstory:
Stamatina gave her hand at launching her own collection of dresses and resort wear. After investing $20k+ of her own money, some overhyped fashion shows that didn't result in any sales, and falling down the "I'll just put this on my credit card" trap, she shut down her business to pursue a fashion design job in NYC.
Unfortunately, those jobs didn't bring her the happiness or joy she was searching for. She got stuck in abusive workplaces with bosses who didn't appreciate her.
So she put her fashion dream aside to pursue a career in beauty.
In this episode, Stamatina shares her unfiltered experience of what worked, what didn't, and what she would have done differently. She also shares why she doesn't regret doing any of it.
In the interview (which I know you'll love) we cover:
- The realities of working in fashion
- What it takes to have your own fashion label
- Why you need to start slow (crawl before you run)
- Being smart about utilizing fabrics + colors + trims across multiple styles
- Considering costs and how quickly things add up, especially in relation to how much you can actually sell your designs for
- Having agreements with your pattern makers and other vendors and being clear about what you will get
- Knowing when to stop, slow down, say no, or just go a different route
- Having a strong stomach for working in this industry
- The importance of standing up for yourself
- What school doesn't teach you compared to what's expected in real life (be prepared to figure things out as you go!)
Listen now for an industry insider's peak into fashion career lessons, so your journey may be a little smoother.Guest Info & Resources
Jan 29 2018
Rank #10: SFD 001: How to Get Your First Job in the Fashion Industry with Bjorn Bengtsson
If you want to break into the fashion industry, it seems logical that you’d need to go to fashion school. But what if that’s not for you? There are creative ways you can approach opportunities to get your foot in the door. Bjorn shares exactly how to get an interview, and what he’s looking for during that first meeting. These are things you can do on your own (without a fashion school degree) to secure your first opportunity.
YOU WILL LEARN:
The value of internships and building relationships What to include (and not include) in your portfolio Why Illustrator skills are mandatory – but what other skills you need to survive The skills learned in school vs what’s required in the real world How to better prepare yourself for a job while you’re in school How to create opportunities if you don’t have a fashion school degree Why a curious mind will take you far How to get in touch with Bjorn for guidance (thank you for this generous offer Bjorn!) GUEST INFO & RESOURCES https://www.linkedin.com/in/bjornbengtsson/ https://www.businessoffashion.com/ https://www.untuckit.com/ ENJOY THE SHOW? YOU CAN HELP US OUT BY: Rating and subscribing on iTunes: http://sfdnetwork.com/review – it really helps! LOOKING FOR MORE RESOURCES? Visit http://sfdnetwork.com/free/ for free fashion design templates, tutorials and more from Successful Fashion Designer
May 08 2017
Rank #11: SFD012: How to build a group of raving fans before you have a product
In this episode I’m chatting with Colleen Monroe, founder of Untucked Workwear - clothes designed for women who embrace a lifestyle filled with gumption and a whole lot of go. After a year and a half of hard, Colleen launched a successful Kickstarter to fund the first round of production of her three piece collection. In the interview, she talks about how to build an email list and an audience before you even have a product, why fit is one of the most important factors to your success, how to deal with the financial realities of launching a label, and the importance of engaging with your customerYou will learn:
- How to build tons of raving fans for life before you even have a product
- How to collaborate with non-fashion brands to grow your audience
- Why it's better to take your time to make sure your product is done right
- The financial challenges of launching a label and advice to overcome them
- The non-glamorous parts of the fashion world
- How to have a successful Kickstarter campaign
- Rating us on iTunes - it really helps!
- Subscribing on iTunes - I appreciate each and every one of you!
Jul 24 2017
Rank #12: SFD059 Mailbag: Fashion Design Career Advice on Freelancing, Gaining Industry Experience and Quitting Your Job
Many of you have loads of Q's about working in fashion...and I know it can be hard to find answers. Maybe you don't know any industry experts to ask. Maybe your coworkers are tight lipped and not willing to share their secrets. Maybe you just don't even know where to go. Which is why I'm excited to be back with another mailbag episode to give you fashion design career advice.
Once a month, I answer your Q's on the Successful Fashion Designer Podcast. This month, I'll be giving my best advice on freelancing, how to gain industry experience, and quitting your job.
(If you want to submit your Q, email it to me anytime at podcast [at] sewheidi [dot]com for consideration.)
Here are the fashion design career advice questions I answer in this mailbag episode!On if it's possible to gain fashion industry experience freelancing...if you don't have any experience, from Afroditi [02:06]:
How could someone start as a freelancer without much industry experience? Is it just really hard as you state it or completely impossible? Are there any ways to start doing things that just require specific skills you could gain from studying or practicing?On how to charge your freelance clients for traveling to factories, from Sally [10:42]:
I have been asked by one of my freelance accounts to go on factory visit in Asia. I was just curious if you have done this and how you charged the account. Travel expenses and airfare would be covered but I am thinking about a daily rate as well. I am paid by them hourly. Want to make sure I am thinking of everything. Thoughts?On transitioning from a contemporary brand in NYC to a luxury house in Europe, from Andrea [16:19]:
Do you have any advice on how an NYC designer can find work in Europe at a luxury house? I have 6 years of experience in advanced contemporary womenswear and am looking for an exciting opportunity abroad to make the move to Europe.On when to know if it's a good time to quit your job, from Nicole [22:00]:
I am the only designer and tech designer for a manufacturing company. I am the first and only one they have hired. The company is experiencing a TON of growing pains and my boss has been less than cordial. The company is also an hour and a half from my house, does not offer any benefits, and seems shady sometimes. There are 5 other design companies waaaay closer to my house and I landed an interview (YAY!) but I am actually nervous to get the job! I am afraid to abandon the work I have started here, I am almost finished with the development cycle I started. I am reaching out to ask if I should feel guilty? how much do I owe this company that hasn't really treated me the best but has given me a great career opportunity even if the job itself has been crazy (not normal fashion job crazy) most days. If and when I find a new job, how do I rip this band-aid off?On general fashion design career advice, from Sam [26:29]:
I wondered what advise you could give me. I've always loved design, something about it makes my insides excited and there is nothing else quite like that feeling. I went to school for fashion but didn't finish -i got confused half way through as i started to really love furniture design and textiles and interior design. they all inspire me. At home i feel like i can do it all on my own, i like working with my hands making clothes and accessories but i've never had too much experience outside of that. I keep working on small projects but not finishing, i don't know if i'm afraid to fail or I need to start from the more technical side. This e-mail is a little bit a mess and thats kind of what my life feels like but I would love any feedback you could give.Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Ultimate Guide to Being a Freelance Fashion Designer
- Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Fashion Portfolio
- How to get freelance fashion design experience on UpWork
If you enjoyed this episode and have questions you want answered, email them to podcast [at] sewheidi [dot] com for consideration. I'll pick the best ones and include them in the monthly mailbag show.
Jul 16 2018
Rank #13: SFD023: Part 1: How to Stay Creative (when there's never any time)
Solomon Eversole has the most calm and collected approach to creativity I've ever witnessed. With 15 years experience working in the corporate world and on his own collections, he's figured out the best ways to help himself and his team express their artistic side in an industry that thrives on tight deadlines and late nights.
Solomon explains his "plan first" approach to creativity. Giving himself a comfortable amount of time, the right mindset, and being prepared with the necessary tools, his outcomes are not only better, but he feels more peace of mind during the creative process.
If you struggle with creative block, creative panic, or creative pressure, listen to this episode now. Not only will Solomon inspire you with new ways to approach your creativity, his cool, calm and collected demeanor will provide you with a sense of relief in an industry where we all too often feel overwhelm.
And watch for Part 2 of our interview on overcoming fear. It's out next week.You will learn:
- How “Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance”
- Why you need to give yourself the time and freedom to explore your creativity
- The importance of controlling what you can can control (because plenty of things will become urgent on their own)
- Why planning gets a bad name but why it’s essential
- The 80% rule and why you always need a “fresh set of eyes”
- Why mood boards aren’t as essential to the creative process as you may think
- How to relieve yourself from the pressure of being creative
- How to prioritize your time and efforts when you feel like everything has to be done now
- That it's ok if everything you create isn't brand new
Guest Info & Resources:
Oct 16 2017
Rank #14: SFD020: How to Source Low Minimum Fabrics & Trims for Your Fashion Collection
Jay is your absolute one stop shop for sourcing anything and everything you need to make your product, including fabrics, trims, hangtags, labels and so much more. In this interview, Jay shares why indie designers are seeing more success now than they were 5 years ago, what materials you can cut costs on and where you may want to spend a little more, and why buying from NYC’s garment district is the biggest mistake most designers make.You will learn:
- The different supplier tiers: retail, jobber, fabric importer, converter and mill
- Why you need to be really careful buying from a jobber
- The challenges of sourcing fabric in the NYC garment district
- Why independent designers are seeing greater success now than 5 years ago
- The importance of continuity in the supplies you source
- Why logistically it’s more expensive to do small batch production overseas than locally
- What materials you can cut corners and costs on, and what ones you don’t want to
- The Sourcing District Website
- The Sourcing District on Instagram
- Call Jay: 708-386-8586
- Email Jay: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rating us on iTunes - it really helps!
- Subscribing on iTunes - I appreciate each and every one of you!
Sep 25 2017
Rank #15: SFD013: The Step by Step Production Process for Fashion Design Entrepreneurs
In this episode I’m chatting with Abbie Ellis, co-founder of Stitch Method - a Chicago fashion agency that helps you DEFINE your market, DEVELOP your product and DELIVER it to your customers. In the interview, she walks through a step by step overview of the production process, how to work backwards from costing and budgeting to design, and why a tech pack is essential for every product, no matter how simple or where you’re manufacturing.You will learn:
- How long it takes to go from idea to production (hint: it’s longer than you think!)
- How much you should budget to get your design into production
- How to know whether you should manufacture overseas or locally
- A step by step walk through of the production process from start to finish
- Why your factory is one of your most valuable resources
- How to work backwards from costing and budgeting to design
- The value of thinking bigger picture and creating long term goals
Jul 31 2017
Rank #16: SFD031: Behind the Scenes of an $87k Kickstarter Launch
With no fashion background, experience or contacts, Sarah Coronado launched an insanely successful Kickstarter campaign for her underwear line, Blooms Privé. Now, if you listen to the interview, you'll hear me mention multiple times that these undies - the world's first period-friendly travel panty - are not something that a podcast does justice to.
You have got to see them to really appreciate the ingenuity behind the product. Meticulously engineered for quick change and self-packing so you can be discrete, here are the undies every woman needs in her drawer:
Sarah's journey from idea to launch is not unique. Like most successful brands and Kickstarter campaigns, it took a lot of hard work, passion and drive. Within the first few minutes of meeting her, it was clear that her ambitious attitude and unwillingness to accept rejection or failure is why she's been able to create so many amazing opportunities for herself.
Sarah spent 9 months planning and strategizing the Blooms Privé Kickstarter campaign to make sure things went right. She also enlisted the help of experts to support with unknown territories. Her planning and careful execution resulted in not only a successful campaign, but she planned ahead to make sure she could keep up the momentum after it all ended.
I really hope you love this interview as much as I did, Sarah's story is inspiring, honest and humble. If you're thinking about launching a label or doing a Kickstarter campaign, there is so much packed in our 49 minutes together that I know you'll love.You Will Learn
- Why you can’t work in a vacuum
- The value of getting feedback and building something with your audience and your community
- The importance of sharing your journey, story and behind the scenes stories with your customers
- How long it takes to build a successful Kickstarter campaign (hint: it's not overnight!)
- Different options for funding your venture
- Why sometimes you just gotta google and figure it out! Read, learn and ask people!
- How to figure out how much money you need and what you need it for
- Why you should hire experts and not try to do everything yourself
- How to pre-validate your idea / product before kickstarting it
- Rating us on iTunes - it really helps!
- Subscribing on iTunes - I appreciate each and every one of you!
Dec 11 2017
Rank #17: SFD094 This Dirndl Designer Grew a BIG Fashion Brand with a TINY Niche
Is it possible to start a successful fashion brand when your niche is super small?
Meet Erika Neumayer Ehrat of Rare Dirndl. Her full time job is designing and selling dirndls. Never found yourself desperately scouring the web for the perfect dirndl? We’re not surprised! It’s such a tiny niche market, it may not seem like a sustainable business model. But by knowing her customer so well that she’s even given her a name, Erika makes a living creating something extremely special for a small but dedicated customer base.In the interview (which you’ll love), we will cover:
- What even is a dirndl, anyway?
- The smart moves Erika made early on in her business
- What she learned from her years doing festivals and pop-up shops
- Why Erika narrowed her already small niche down further…
- ...and even further, and how she got super clear on her ideal customer
- The second ideal customer avatar that surprised her
- What she’s learned about creating a website to sell your designs
- How blogging on other topics helps her find her customers
- How she handles returns and custom designs
- The marketing strategy that works for her today
- And more!
For the full show notes, head to the SFD website!
Oct 28 2019
Rank #18: SFD066 10 Easy Networking Tips (you can use today) to Get Ahead in Fashion
One of the best ways to get ahead in fashion - whether it's to get your first (or next) job or to launch your own fashion brand - is networking. Now, I know, no one really wants to "network".
But here's the thing:
You don't have to do that "networking" thing. Instead, you can just focus on making friends and having conversations. Once you build some of these simple habits into your daily life, opportunities will literally start falling in your lap.
I guarantee it.
Because - in case you didn't realize it - friends share resources and opportunities with other friends. So the next time you need a job or a desperate to find a new factory for production, if you have a network, you'll easily be able to reach out and ask someone for help.
In this Podlet episode of the Successful Fashion Designer podcast, Robyn and I go through 10 easy networking tips you can use today. We reference examples of how other guests on the show have used these strategies, and share ideas about how you can use them.
In this episode of the Successful Fashion Designer podcast, she walks us through how she created a surface pattern design brand using her one-of-a-kind vision and inspiration.In the interview (which I know you’ll love) we cover these networking tips:
- How to network online and build remote relationships...no matter where you live
- How to easily stay in touch with your network so they think about you for opportunities
- How to expand your network beyond the obvious "fashion designers"
- What two tiny things you can do to stand out from everyone else
- Why your attitude has a huge impact on whether people want you to be part of their "network"
- How working together versus working alone will get you 10x further in life and your career
- The importance of building your network with the expectation of getting nothing in return
- How to get what you want...by asking for it
- Why you need to pay attention to other people...and not just think about yourself
- Episode 35 with contract designer Hilary Glenn
- Episode 60 with designer Carla Stout
- Episode 4 with freelancer Marissa Borelli
- Episode 29 with designer Malie Bingham
- Episode 43 with freelance pattern maker David Russon
- Episode 47 with designer Aileen Coyle
- Episode 61 with brand owner Jackie Ayres
- Mailbag Episodes
- Learn more about Robyn and her publication, Heddlecraft Magazine.
Sep 10 2018
Rank #19: SFD089 How This Fashion Designer Balances Career and Being a Mom to 4 Kids!
Working in the fashion industry can be brutal. The long days, late nights, and cutthroat competition can make balancing a fashion career and motherhood seem impossible.
But the reality is that women everywhere are finding ways to make it work. While there’s no magic answer for every situation, there are many ways to balance a career in fashion with being a mom.
In today’s episode, you’ll hear from Karrie Foley. Karrie has a successful career as a freelance fashion designer, and has done it all while raising four young children. She’s here to share some of her secrets for success!
In the interview (which you’ll love), we will cover:
- How Karrie got started working in the fashion industry
- Why a “top” fashion design school isn’t always the best option
- How Karrie managed to grow her career without living in New York or LA
- How she kept working after the birth of her first child
- What she did to get back into the fashion industry after taking three years off!
- How she jumped across fashion design categories and avoided getting pigeonholed
- What Karrie believes have been the keys to her continued success (Hint: You can do this too!)
- How she landed a great job right out of college
- Why it’s worth it to be kind in an unkind industry
- How Karrie is balancing her fashion design career with motherhood today
- And more!
From a young age, Karrie Foley knew she wanted to work in the fashion industry. Like many young aspiring designers, she dreamed of attending Parsons or FIT. But when the time came for college, her parents encouraged her to stay open to other options. Karrie ultimately settled on the University of Cincinnati, and that decision would have a profound effect on the direction of her fashion career.
When she graduated, Karrie was able to turn an internship with Limited Too into a full-time job. From there, she went on to work for other big brands, including Disney Stores and Lane Bryant.LIFE HAPPENS
When Karrie became pregnant with her first child, she knew things would have to change. As a full-time fashion designer, she’d been working long hours that she knew she couldn’t sustain once her baby was born. She originally planned to resign. But her hard work, and her great relationship with her boss, lead to a rare part-time position. That gave her the opportunity to work in the fashion industry while raising her first and second children.
Karrie did eventually take time off when she had twins. But when she was ready, she managed to jump back into the industry--with multiple offers!
Today, Karrie works full-time hours as a freelance designer for Thirty-One Gifts. She puts a lot into her job, and still makes time to be there with her kids. While she doesn’t have a perfect life, Karrie shows us that it’s really possible to balance motherhood with a successful career in fashion.
Resources & People Mentioned
- Karrie’s Instagram
- Karrie on LinkedIn
- Karrie’s Facebook
- University of Cincinnati DAAP School of Design
- Thirty-One Gifts
May 27 2019
Rank #20: SFD082 Fashion Startup Trade Shows: Are You Ready (and what's the cost)?
When it comes to trade shows, there are SO many questions. How much is this going to cost? How does this all work? How do I make sure it’ll be a success? Am I ready? In my interview with Danielle Licata and Kelly Helfman, we talk about these exact questions and more.
Danielle and Kelly are brand directors for the Magic Trade Show in Vegas, the Coterie Trade Show in New York, and so many other specialty shows for specific categories. Magic and Coterie are some of the largest fashion trade show events in North America, and these ladies know their STUFF! They’re so knowledgeable and so generous with sharing it here on the podcast--you’re going to love it.
We go through what these trade shows are doing to support new and emerging designers (like you!), how to decide if you’re ready, the details of the exact numbers of how much things are going to cost, and they’ve really set you up for success. We talk about how to prepare before, during, and after your trade show experience. I’m so excited about this episode--I know you’re going to love it!
In the interview (which you'll love) we will cover:
- DTC vs retail
- What brands are doing to break in, get started, and stand out at trade shows (and how to know you’re ready)
- Ways to connect with buyers to make sure you show up at the show in the right orders
- Step-by-step advice to figure out if this is the right path for you
- What kinds of brands Kelly and Danielle see coming to their trade shows, and what they’ve seen brands do to have a successful launch the first time around
- The timeline to be expected
- The foundation brands start with when jumping into a trade show
- How seriously buyers take your Instagram following (!), and how clear you need to be on your brand story
- How much of a foundation to build before getting results at a wholesale trade show
- How much money to set aside to do trade shows!
- What Danielle and Kelly think the future of trade shows will look like--they’re changing!
- What collateral you need to go in prepared as a brand
- The key to your success at a trade show: knowing who you are as a brand, and knowing where you should be positioned
- How brands kickoff the successful trade show experience
- Opportunities for startup and emerging designers
- What Kelly and Danielle wish people would ask them about working in the fashion industry
- And so much more!
From being a Sales and Operations Manager at Stella McCartney and Vice President at Belstaff, Danielle Licata has earned her role as the President of East Coast Womens, Informa, overseeing Coterie, Fame, Moda, and AccessoriesTheShow. With over 10 years of experience in the luxury fashion category, Danielle is both a macro-thinker and micro-executer, allowing her lead and successfully builds her team. Danielle has had many hats; from opening flagship stores to increasing multi-million dollar revenues to curating trade shows from the ground up. Since her start at UBM Fashion (now Informa) Danielle has pioneered the launch of Beauty at Coterie and will be unveiling the company’s first stand-alone retail pop-up in Miami this July 2018.
Kelly is the President of West Coast Womens, Informa, overseeing WWDMAGIC, Project Womens, and Pooltradeshow. Kelly leads the MAGIC Women’s events while balancing motherhood and advocating for work/life balance. With 15+ years of experience in fashion sales, marketing, and design, her career highlights include starting her own celeb-favorite, vintage-inspired clothing brand, launching Children's Club Las Vegas, and FWD New York (now merged with FAME).
LET’S TALK TRADE SHOWS
Kelly and Danielle are here to help you maximize your trade show experience and decide when and if it’s right for you. Through Magic and Coterie trade show, they provide a platform for brands to sell directly to buyers, holding your hand (if you need it!) to do what’s best for your business. They have about seven shows a year, so if you’re interested, there’s always time to get prepared for the next one--you don’t have to wait long!
Danielle and Kelly and their team help you decide if you’re 100% ready for a trade show, and in this episode, they talk about how to know if you’re there or not. You could be brand new to trade shows, but if you have a on-trend product at just the right moment in time, they’ll help you make it happen. If the market is saturated with your product, and they don’t feel like you’re ready, they’ll be honest with you!
WHAT’S THE DAMAGE?
Depending on which trade show you’re interested in, you could be looking at some different price points. Coterie is focused on Contemporary and Premium brands, and Magic is more for the mass market price points. Magic has a $5500-6500 all-inclusive price--that’s tables, chairs, etc. But it only fits 100 samples, so you have to plot out how many booths you might need. They offer booth sharing for a small extra brand fee that’s much more affordable than reserving a whole extra booth. Coterie has an $8300 price point, but there’s a high ratio of buyers to brands. Then you have to think about travel, branding, and shipping...multiplied by three times (the minimum number of trade shows Danielle and Kelly recommend committing to in order to see a favorable outcome).
Then when you’re setting up your booth, make it special! Are there mimosas? Is there a bouquet bar? Perhaps a wall of flowers? Music? Does it smell good? In this industry, you need to create your brand and create an instagrammable moment that people won’t forget. Don’t sit on your cell phone--engage with people! Get to know your neighbors! You can’t just put a rack up and hope something happens. A buyer is still a buyer, whether they’re wholesale or retail--Kelly and Danielle urge brand to create an experience no matter where they are.
USE YOUR RESOURCES
So you’re at the trade show. You’ve prepared for months, done the research, branded your booth, and created something special. There’s still (free!) opportunities to maximize your trade show experience! You can always ask questions of your representative or trade show consultant. Ask what complimentary opportunities you have at the show where you can market. Perhaps there’s swag bag participation, or a new brand highlight on social. There might be mannequins featured and they could be yours! Don’t just sign up for the booth and show up--always ask for more.
Kelly and Danielle truly are experts and they want to help. Such a dream come true! Trade shows can feel like a huge ordeal and time commitment--because they are. But they really set you up for success with their support and resources. They encourage you to reach out on social--take them up on that! They’re a valuable resource and a wealth of information.
This episode is a great listen whether you’re preparing for your first or umpteenth trade show, and whether you’re going to Coterie, Magic, or another trade show. They’ll set you up for success by telling you how to prepare before, during, and after your trade show experience, and get your brand into the buyer’s hands that want it!
Resources & People Mentioned
- WWD Magic
- Kelly on Instagram @greydahl
- Danielle on Instagram @danie05
- WWD Magic on Instagram @WWDMAGIC
- Coterie on Instagram @Coterie_Show
- Project Womens on Instagram @ProjectWomens
Feb 18 2019