As you may imagine, I get a lot of email. Letters from DEs form a pattern. Today I read this email and I can see where things first went amiss but I’m thinking this isn’t so clear to many of you (she like many of you bought my book). Particularly when you are in the throes of line love. That’s not a criticism either, if you’re not passionate about your product, no one else will be either. Anyway, I’ve edited the email to number each stage. It would be great if you could analyze the letter and tell me in your estimation, when things started to go awry -and of course, why. Icing on the cake is a proposed solution. This designer (let’s call her Jenna) will be reading your responses so please be nice. Jenna writes:
1. After much thought I decided to launch my own clothing line using sustainable fabrics. I took a sustainable design class last year, and a dress I designed was adored by a professor who wanted to sell it at her store/catalog. So far so good, right?
2. Her business partner liked the dress so much, they wanted me to develop a jacket to go with “the line”.
3. I bit, and happily. I was thrilled to be doing something creative, investing my own money in my own business, and doing something positive.
4. The professor informs me their store is closing, and while they would still be interested in selling some pieces, well, they are closing in a month…
5. So I decide to go out on my own, and sell some pieces to other local boutiques in the area. I hire a pattern maker (in the biz for 30 years) a seamstress, and start making samples, using fit models, adjusting patterns, making more samples. OK! its time for production.
6. I decide to go with a company who made some belts for me and did a great job. I contract with them to make 16 dresses. I go the site to work with the production manager on a sample. No problems.
7. I sent them patterns for each size, and a measurement/size grade sheet, cutter’s must…and when questions came up…I even had the production manager speak with my pattern maker. We talked about the tolerances.
8. The dresses have arrived. Oh my. Not only is there very bad top stitching, there is also puckering where there shouldn’t be, and the extra small (which I tried on since that is my size) is way too big in the hips. I know I have to send them back but I have the sinking feeling…
9. I am sure the answers are all in your book, but I am just feeling overwhelmed and thought I might ask for your advice.
Better questions for me to ask at this point are:
- Whether you know when it was that things started to head south?
- When did you get to a point of no return once on that trajectory?
I’m trying to figure out how it is that people start on a path that is not advantageous for them and why they can’t get off of it once they realize there’s a problem. I don’t know when it was that this process began and whether you had time to read the book before all this happened.
Your task is to analyze the points I’ve marked from the email and mention when you think it was that things started to go downhill and why. Again, Jenna will be reading your responses so say what you have to say but don’t be gratuitously unkind. Thanks!