How to issue style numbers pt.128

Be sure to read the post preceding this one first. Okay, Danielle has reassigned style numbers according to product categories as follows:

1100 = tops
2100 = skirts
3100 = dresses
4100 = jackets/outerwear
5100 = pants
6100 = accessories

This is great. Just great. If those were the only changes she ever made (at this point) that’d be great. However, let’s think ahead a little. I know you’re just launching, you’re new and for now you’re only doing women’s wear but maybe you should consider designing your style number system so it’ll leave your options open for growth. What if you were to someday design children’s wear or men’s wear? You shouldn’t eliminate that possibility at the outset. If you’d like to have that option for growth, it’s best to design your style number system accordingly. First of all, consider using 5 digits (you were originally using six and then cut those down to 4). I know I said 4 or 5 digits in my book but I’ve reconsidered that; I think 5 digits is better.

For example, your first number should indicate sex/market. It’s traditional to use “1” for men, “2” for women, “3” for children’s wear etc among established companies. However, you aren’t tied to that. Since you’re launching with women’s wear, you could use “1” for your women’s wear line. Now, if you added children’s wear (you’re not a mother yet, many designers add children’s line once they become mothers), since that would be your second line, those styles would all start with “2”. If you added men’s wear later on, those styles would start with “3”.

Accordingly, this is what your style numbering system would look like now:

10000 series = Women’s
20000 series = Reserved for future use, perhaps children’s wear
30000 series = Reserved for future use, perhaps men’s wear
40000 series = Reserved for future use, perhaps home decor

Therefore, your existing style numbers would become:
11100 = women’s tops
12100 = women’s skirts
13100 = women’s dresses
14100 = women’s jackets/outerwear
15100 = women’s pants
16100 = women’s accessories

This means that if you added a child’s line down the road, the style numbers would mirror your existing numbers with just a 2 in front, rather than a 1. For example:

21100 = children’s tops
22100 = children’s skirts
23100 = children’s dresses
24100 = children’s jackets/outerwear
25100 = children’s pants
26100 = children’s accessories

Then, the coding system is useful for other kinds of specialization. Let’s say you stick with women’s apparel but you branch into pricier or lower cost lines than the one you launched with. You’d need a numbering series for a higher price point and to distinguish it from your existing one. Similarly, if you add a modest price point, it’d need it’s own series too.

10000 = existing women’s line
20000 = pricier women’s line
30000 = modest priced line

This sort of planning would also apply to those of you with other kinds of specialized lines. Let’s say you start in girl’s clothing, sizes 7-14. What if you expand into another size range and pick up sizes 4-6X? You’d need another series for that. Then what if you picked up infant wear, you’d need another number for that. Then, there’s still boy’s clothes. For example:

10000 = Girl’s, sizes 7-14
20000 = Children’s 4-6X
30000 = Infant’s 6-24 mths
40000 = Boy’s sizes 8-18

By the way, if you code like this, believe me, it’s not just your production people that will love you; your retailers are going to love you too particularly if they’re buying pieces from all four lines. By default, they cannot mistakenly order a boy’s pant when they want the children’s sized one, even if the styles look identical.

Now to answer your question:

Before I had the first digit for fabric type, and the second digit for category. Did I get that ok? I wonder what that second digit means.

Except for rare exceptions, I don’t think it’s a good idea to code each style number for fabrication, you’ll drive yourself nuts. You only code for fabric type if the cost difference is inordinate. When I mentioned coding differently for a leather garment in the book, it was because your tooling costs -not fabric costs- are more than doubled. If it’s an issue of the difference in cost between fabric types, you do that in costing. Leather garments are coded differently -not because the cost of leather is higher than say cotton or silk- because the cost of producing dies is extremely costly. Also, the patterns look entirely different. The pieces would be smaller and at a fast glance, a leather pattern could look like a child’s pattern due to the small size of the pieces.

That “second digit” (now 3rd) doesn’t “mean” anything. You could just as easily use 11001 for the first women’s top rather than 11101. In fact, the former is better. Those last 3 digits are just the incremental increase in the number of styles. You’d have to produce 999 blouses before you’d run out of numbers. Make sense? Now I’ll get Miracle on this and see what she says on the line sheet.
Good going Danielle. I’m sorry the University just told you to make something up.

Style Numbers revisited
How to issue style numbers pt.127
How to issue style numbers pt.129
How to issue style numbers pt.130

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