Verbal Croquis’ L.A. Adventures

funny LA chicken sign

Photo by Jeanne, on our way to visit the Evans Group facilities on Wednesday. Dude. Crispy Chickenjoy and Juicy Yumburger. heeheeheeheeheehee~

Friday 4/13
You’re motorin’! What’s your price for flight?

Apparently approximately $3.50/gal for gas, which was split between me, the husband and Jeanne. Friday was spent driving. A lot. I hear rumors that there are people who manage to live in L.A. without a car, but I also hear rumors that creams will get rid of cellulite.

Saturday 4/14
Relaxing, and The Most Delicious Pho Ever ™ at Noodle World. Start to feel allergies attacking my nose. I always feel my sexiest when my nose is running, don’t you?

Sunday 4/15
I wake up feeling distinctly not happy. I’m sick. I’m cold, I’m hot, my muscles feel weird and sometimes I think I have no bones. Reluctantly cancel plans to hang with my brother and cousin. Flaking on people makes me cranky. Being sick makes me cranky.

Monday 4/16
First day of the textile show. Still feeling sick, so unable to attend. Worry about whether I’ll be able to do everything on Tuesday. Double up on meds. Regretfully was unable to meet the FI peeps for drinks. A VC reader tried to go to the Golden Gopher but the door was locked. Anyone know what happened?


Tuesday 4/17
Finally feeling good enough to go downtown to walk the textile show. I go upstairs to 13th floor, start walking around. Wonder why it’s so quiet. Walk around some more. Wonder where everyone is, wonder why there’s not more vendors. The last of these I’d attended, I was working in L.A. in 2004. I was working in the Cooper Building, which is kitty-corner from the CalMart. Because the show back then was so crowded and so vast, my boss and I would need to go back to the office every once in a while to get our bearings again. We would hop floors, and the halls were packed with people, a dull roar filling the spaces.

This year, the entirety of the show took up only the A and B buildings of only one floor of the CalMart. (The CalMart is divided into A, B, and C buildings. Maybe I should start calling it the CMC–California Market Center, which is the new official name.) Only saw one leather guy. Ran into John at Solstiss, and he remembered my denim ball skirt from my junior year, six years ago! Surprising, since we barely knew each other when I was at school.

The show was disorganized and confusing. There were no maps except for one in each of the elevator lobbies. The booklet that listed the vendors was full of typos and wrong information. I don’t feel like I got much out of the show, but feel free to share your thoughts with me.

The husband and I went to the FCC hosted cocktail hour to meet the lovely hostess, Katie, Jacqueline, who graduated two years behind me at Otis, Katie’s husband, and some other lovely people. They had a chocolate fountain! And fixings for s’mores! Elegant but still down to earth and fun, which is Katie in a nutshell. The spread was lovely, and I would have indulged if I wasn’t heading off to dinner right after.

Wrapped up the day with a lovely dinner and a trip to Pinkberry with my family. Pinkberry is the new frozen yogurt franchise that has bombarded SoCal. The husband is now in love with Pinkberry and has been praying for a NorCal location ever since. Told my dad and aunt that I was starting my own business. As all the adult members of my extended family are business owners, the news was met with unsurprised nods, which is pretty much what I was expecting. Heh.

Wednesday 4/18
Random police barricades all over downtown L.A. threatened a late arrival to Jeanne’s and my appointment with Jennifer Evans, but we arrived in the knick of time. (I hate being late. It bothers me a lot. I hate waiting for late people, and I hate being late.) Just for clarification, no, Jeanne and I aren’t going into business together or anything, we just thought it would be convenient for everyone if we went together.

The Evans Group facilities are small, but well organized, well-lit, and clean. Yes, cluttered, but clean! I know, I’m amazed too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sewing/cutting factory that was as clean. Jennifer gave us a tour, showed us some pieces her team was sewing up to show us their skill level. I was thrilled to see some impeccably sewn chiffon pieces, among others. I’m pretty sure I will be working with them on some level when the time comes. But once again, I’m not comfortable giving a solid recommendation until I’ve actually worked with them. Jennifer politely argued my last piece on them, saying that yes, they are capable of a wide varieties of specialties, and she showed me samples as some strong arguments. Come to think of it, I have a hard time imagining Jennifer being rude to anyone.

The husband demanded a stop to Pinkberry before hopping on the freeway. Happily there was no traffic on the way home, so we made it in good time.

So, I’m home now. I rested up, worked a lot to catch up on some stuff, battled a sticky space bar (among other keys, so I had to get a new keyboard), caught up with the 596 blog posts banked in my bloglines, returned a couple dozen emails, etc. Before I left for L.A., I ordered the business plan template from the Toronto Fashion Incubator, based on recommendations I received. I’m going over it now, and I’ll post my opinions on it later on. Here’s what Kathleen had to say on the matter.

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11 comments

  1. Suzanne says:

    Zoe,

    Sorry I missed meeting you! I’m glad you got better enough to attend the show on Tuesday.

    Monday’s get-together was altered because a bunch of FI’s got together for lunch and then decided to split come dinnertime. However, a few of us tried to go to the Broadway but they were closed (!), so we ate in the Italian restaurant in the Market Center.

    We took one photo before everyone split, I need to post it. Give me a minute. :-)

  2. Karen C says:

    Hey, Zoe, sorry we missed ya. It sucks to get sick (like I was yesterday). I thought the fabric show was bigger before. Last time I went in 2003, they had all the inputs and findings in the basement, and the whole Fashion Theater was filled with Italian sources. But I believe I was able to source almost everything I needed. Looking forward to hearing more about the Evans Group.

  3. Now I am addicted to FI and can’t wait to read the next entry! :-)
    I think that photo is hilarious.
    Thanks for mentioning the Evans Group. I will be eager to know if you wholeheartedly recommend them in the (near) future. I’d feel better about having my stuff made in the USA and not have to worry about the long turn around time and import quotas/duties. I know I can get individual contract sewers up here (in Portland, OR) and supposedly there are production facilities up here; however, I don’t know if they’d only do 10 pieces. Thank you, Verbal Croquis and Kathleen!

  4. Malia says:

    Zoe-
    I too am upset not to meet up with you. I just recently started enjoying your blog. You are quite the talent, girl.

    Suzanne-
    Sorry about the dinner and the Broadway Bar being closed. I had been up that day since 4:00am and at the end of the day, I had already offered to give another DE a ride back to her hotel on the West side to meet her friend who was already waiting in the lobby. Turns out by the time I reached my own hotel, I just collapsed with exhaustion. I would have been terrible company anyway. Also, I think the lunch date thing was last minute planning on the Forum. It would have been nice to hang with you then and chat about your line. I checked out your site. Great stuff.

    Lisa-
    Just noticed you’re located in Portland,OR. There’s a few of us up here who have started to form a network group. We are trying to have monthly mttgs to share our ideas/experiences/industry knowledge and basically inspire each other. I hope you already have Kathleen’s book because she is our true inspiration. Let me know if you want to meet.
    I have worked with local contractors in our area and can give you feedback if you’re looking to produce locally.

    RE: Textile Show
    Overall, I did make some key contacts. I thought they were much friendlier to Start-ups than say the people at MAGIC. I was able to order some sample ydge and it just arrived at my door yesterday. I visited one of the oldest Jobbers down the street: RAGFINDERS. They are great if you’re starting out or just want very small production ydge. I also ventured out to KAGAN TRIMS located in Vernon. Basically they have a huge showroom that you can walk through and make your selection. I was able to establish an account. They cut to order from their warehouse next door. Beings I’m in children’s wear, I was in total trim heaven. Minimum sample order is 10yds. The rep and I hit it off and she gave me production $$ on my orders. They were extremely accommodating.

  5. Colleen says:

    Zoe, Thanks for reporting on the Textile Show. If this wasn’t a good resource for you, how will you source fabrics?

    Thanks

  6. Malia says:

    Lisa-
    There’s just a few of us here in Portland that are trying to start this group, but it’s basically a local extension of Kathleen’s book. We have all bought/own the book, that is why Kathleen is our true inspiration. If you buy/own Kathleen’s book, she could grant you access to the Forum which has a connections thread for her loyal supporters.

    Kathleen-
    There’s a lot of “garmento” people here in Portland and I’m trying to pass the word on about your industry bible. Look for two more orders to come your way.

  7. Karen C says:

    Malia,

    It was great meeting you. See, I told you at lunch I needed to pull out my directory and look at it. I completely forgot about Kagan Trims! I spent about 40 minutes at Renaissance Ribbons, and then started to order sample yardage of trims, only to be told that I would have to order at least $150 worth of trim to establish an account. The reason: because they have to input my info into the computer. Makes me wonder how much they are paying their support staff or if maybe they are in need of some computer training (ha, ha).

  8. victoria says:

    I am also curious about the Evans Group. I contacted them in regards to having them make 6 patterns and samples for me. I wanted to try one style first, so I met with Jennifer. Everything went fine, and she said she could schedule me 3 weeks later due to the fact that it was very close to market, and they were very busy. She said to contact her 3 weeks later, and I did. I never heard back from her. A month later I contacted her again for possible production work. She said they only offer production for companies that they do development for, because their schedule is full.
    I contacted a few of the clients she lists on the web site. 2 clients said good things, 1 said good work, but bad delivery, 1 said they wouldn’t recommend them because of late delivery. None of the companies I contacted used her for pattern work.
    I am still interested in trying them, but I would love to hear others opinions.

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