Notes from Network Tuesdays

I go to a small networking event every 2nd Tuesday of each month I found through meetup.com. It’s a ritual at the house. I whine, scream, curse, cajole, beg, cry, anything to not go, and the husband physically drags my whiny butt out the door. I go, and invariably am glad I did. I always have a good time, I always meet interesting people, hear interesting stories. So why do I dread going? I have no idea. I think it’s a mental block with my shyness around fashiony people.

Listening to some conversations around me, I wanted to talk about a few things that don’t get mentioned very often.


A woman was talking about doing her production in China. She was talking about meeting deadlines. I suggested to her it might be a (very) good idea to exchange holiday calendars with the factory. Factories in Hong Kong tend to celebrate both Chinese and British holidays. They take a lot of time off for New Year’s. Italians take the entire month of August off for holiday. The United States actually takes much fewer days off than many other countries.

Someone was talking about starting a new line. One style, six different prints–brand new prints that they would develop and have the rollers carved expressly for them and everything. I didn’t want to butt in, but honestly, I winced at how much startup money that might take. But maybe she has the means? Maybe she discovered an amazing factory that will do all six cheaply? Anywhoo, often the more cost effective way to use prints, especially high minimum exclusives, is to use the prints on different fabrics, across different bodies.

Another person was talking about selling on their own website as well as finding outside retailers to carry his goods. Later, he spoke about his difficulty with pricing. If this is something you’re planning to do, it’s wise to consider your own retail pricing matching up closely to your retail outlets’ pricing. No store wants to carry your goods if you sell wholesale to them for $50, which they retail for $150, if you’re selling them to the public off your website for $60. Companies like Ralph Lauren and Built by Wendy have agreements with retailers that items shouldn’t be sold for less than $X through the manufacturer’s own stores. Ralph Lauren also sells items exclusive to his own stores to provide shoppers an incentive to shop their store over the Ralph Lauren section at Bloomingdale’s.

Anywhoo, just some bits as food for thought.

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7 comments

  1. Hello. New here. Just finished reading the book. A real page-turner. I loved it. You mentioned custom printing onto fabric: I have some prototypes that I printed with my printer that came out great but were time-consuming. If I wanted to sample these, who would I contact to print up the fabrics? Also, could I actually have the pattern pieces (markers) printed right onto the fabric at the same time? Has anyone tried this?

  2. Trish says:

    Class Conscious

    Because we do doll clothing design, we have talked about marking the fabric with the marker itself while printing.

    I would imagine that the greatest issue would be that the marker may not be created at the same you have the fabric printed. You often do not have the production run information when the fabric is being created.

    Also you could have several different markers to create during the production run and they could be very different from one another… so you would not want to create the fabric with the marker on it.

    If you were digital printing, you might be able to revisit this idea. Whhat kind of printer is doing your printing and with what printing technique?

  3. katie says:

    Zoe,

    I am so jealous! There is a person I know who used to hold designer roundtable dinners, but I don’t think she does it anymore…see, I’m jealous and you don’t even want to go!

    lol!

  4. Colleen says:

    Katie,

    Check meetup.com; they may have a fashion group that meets near you (I know that there is one in Boston and one in NY). I’ve never gone (the nearest one is over 3 hours away), so can’t comment on the forum.

    Thanks, Zoe, All are good points.

  5. Thank you for your comments, Trish.

    Perhaps the pattern pieces could be printed after being cut.

    When the fabric plys are being spread, would it even be possible to line up the marker lines on the table? A slight stretch might position the marker line where it would be seen. Or center fronts might be off-mark a smidge. I don’t know how to mass produce this.

    For prototypes, I am using an Epson 7600sp wide format (24 in.) printer using ultrachrome ink. The ink is supposed to be waterproof when dry but I have not tried laundering yet. It is so time consuming because wider skirt pieces must be taped and folded over a backing to go through–then re-positioned for any printing outside the 24in. area–very annoying.

  6. Jeffrey says:

    I’ve been faced with a similar decision. I have a customer fabric pattern, and decided to use the same pattern AND fabric for different pieces. It’s a fun game of using design to make the pieces look different enough. But producing more material with different fabrics, let alone different patterns, wouldn’t be cost-effective for me at this point.

  7. details says:

    I am so glad meetup.com network was mentioned in this article. I decided to try it and found a Fashion Insiders Meetup group in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. I signed up and went to my first meeting on Tuesday. I just have to say it was a wonderful decision I made, since I really enjoyed meeting all the wonderful and talented people in the industry that showed up. I will definitely continue to go and I hope to make some great connections and help each other in some way. Thanks!

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