Lost and Found (and a quiz)

Computers these days don’t have floppy drives. A bit annoying because I had a whole passle of floppies with teasingly enigmatic labels full of tantalizing data I couldn’t access. Some labeled IMPORTANT!!!, ALL WORD FILES.BK!!!, CUSTOMER DATABASE-ALL!!! You get the picture. The unlabeled ones were the worst. Oh little black floppies, what secrets were you keeping from me? Reality was less thrilling; I went and bought a USB floppy drive to upload everything. Lots and lots of duplicates (and empties; the one with the most strident of labels). Now I need a utility that’ll find and delete duplicate files. Found tons of old emails back when I still had an aol account. Remember the days when AOL charged by the hour? Good grief, these days I would have run out of hours in the first two days. DH still waxes eloquent of the days when you had to buy Netscape at the store. Who could handle the download then? My how times have changed.

Going through floppy files is no different than finding an old buried box of abandoned clothes or half finished projects in your attic. Some of it’s dated, some is quaint and a lot is just plain junk. Still, I found some things that are still useful. In no particular order:


A VENTURE CAPITAL PRIMER FOR SMALL BUSINESS pdf (a text based web used capital letters more than today)

BUSINESS PLAN FOR THE SMALL MANUFACTURER (pdf). I’d always meant to go over this one and make it specific to clothing manufacturers.

How to Pick a Project. A word doc synopsis I wrote on how to implement change and try new things based on Developing Products in Half the Time by Smith & Reinertsen. I wasn’t blogging then so maybe I should have recycled it?

In the early to mid nineties, I’d been corresponding with Edwin Richard Rigsbee. I can’t find a website for him although his career seems to have taken off. He sent me several documents to share on a listserve that I was running at the time. One is Successful Partnering (txt). Another is How to Get Full Ticket. That was written for apparel retailers (specifically swimwear) who are selling seasonal goods. Good tips for manufacturers to consider in meeting the range in the market. The third document is called The Silent Majority. It’s all about trends and demography and growing as your customer and market matures; they’re the silent majority the market isn’t meeting. They’re making do but it’s not what they want. Much of what he said then has already come to pass, you might think it’s passe but it wasn’t then. It might be worth getting one of his books now.

Last of what I’ll post today was this quiz I’d written. I don’t remember what for anymore. Let’s see how many questions about starting a clothing line you get right. True or False:

20 Questions.
How much you really know? True or False:

  1. You can patent your design sketches.
  2. It’s impossible to buy 10 yards of fabric or less from a garment industry supplier.
  3. Sewing contractors have high minimums; it’s impossible to have just one item made.
  4. If a retailer won’t buy your designs, it’s because they have really lousy taste.
  5. Most contractors and industry suppliers will steal your designs and ideas, selling them to other companies.
  6. It’s okay to use store-bought patterns since no one can tell the difference. It’s a lot cheaper too.
  7. The best sales strategy is for a designer to sell their work themselves, going from store to store.
  8. A product is high quality if you use expensive fabrics, linings, trims and buttons.
  9. To make sure and fast money, grab all the department store accounts you can.
  10. Suppliers won’t give you firm price quotes because they’re trying to guess what you’re willing to pay.
  11. If stripes or pockets are sewn crookedly, the sewing people are lazy, sloppy or just don’t care.
  12. If clothing is ruined at the dry cleaners, it’s nearly always the dry cleaner’s fault.
  13. People in poor countries like China can’t afford to buy your products.
  14. The designer is always the best judge of how to sew a design.
  15. People should do what you ask without questions or comments since you are the one paying them.
  16. Before you take any orders, you must have all the products ready and available for immediate delivery.
  17. The standard consignment deal is a 60/40 split.
  18. To be successful, your prices should be lower than anyone else’s.
  19. You need at least six figures to set up a sewing business.
  20. It’s impossible to manufacture in the US and make a nice living.

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9 comments

  1. andrea says:

    Okay…here goes:

    You can patent your design sketches. false

    It’s impossible to buy 10 yards of fabric or less from a garment industry supplier. False

    Sewing contractors have high minimums; it’s impossible to have just one item made. False…it’ll just cost a lot

    If a retailer won’t buy your designs, it’s because they have really lousy taste. False…most likely it has to do with how your line integrates, your policies, how new you are and a multitude of other things that have nothing to do with styling…and sometimes they just have lousy taste ;)

    Most contractors and industry suppliers will steal your designs and ideas, selling them to other companies. False…they have enough of their own good ideas and they don’t include designing clothing

    It’s okay to use store-bought patterns since no one can tell the difference. It’s a lot cheaper too. False. I’m not even going to comment.

    The best sales strategy is for a designer to sell their work themselves, going from store to store.
    False. It’s important to know how to do it and then hire a great sales rep!

    A product is high quality if you use expensive fabrics, linings, trims and buttons. No way…as Kathleen stated not too long ago, quality is in the workmanship.

    To make sure and fast money, grab all the department store accounts you can. False.

    Suppliers won’t give you firm price quotes because they’re trying to guess what you’re willing to pay. False.

    If stripes or pockets are sewn crookedly, the sewing people are lazy, sloppy or just don’t care. False…it’s the pattern!

    If clothing is ruined at the dry cleaners, it’s nearly always the dry cleaner’s fault. False. Mislabeled garments will do it nicely.

    People in poor countries like China can’t afford to buy your products. False?

    The designer is always the best judge of how to sew a design. Again, false.

    People should do what you ask without questions or comments since you are the one paying them.HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHa

    Before you take any orders, you must have all the products ready and available for immediate delivery. False.

    The standard consignment deal is a 60/40 split.True, but it should be 70/30

    To be successful, your prices should be lower than anyone else’s. False

    You need at least six figures to set up a sewing business. Nope…I did it with 3

    It’s impossible to manufacture in the US and make a nice living. False!

    How’d I do?

  2. Kate W says:

    The “patent your design sketches” question is sort of a trick question. It is possible to get a design patent on an apparel design (this is most commonly seen with athletic shoes), but getting one is not a cheap or easy process and probably not what Kathleen had in mind when she wrote the question.

  3. Marie-Christine says:

    ALmost entirely false. Of course Kathleen, who can do it so well, would put good workmanship first. But good workmanship in bad fabric is a waste. And good workmanship in good fabric, with shitty interfacing that disintegrates the first time it’s dry-cleaned… Well, you get my drift :-).

  4. Allan says:

    In response to “I need a utility that’ll find and delete duplicate files.” Try Directory Report at http://www.file-utilities.com

    It can find duplicate files based on same name, size, CRC and/or comparing byte-by-byte

    Plus it has many other features to help you to declutter your files

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