As many of you may have read on the blog (that is, if you remember me at all), I am a retailer who has begun to manufacture. For various reasons. The main reasons being profit margin, promotional and branding opportunities, and consistency of merchandise (i.e. having more control over what I am able to sell). In exactly that order of importance. For the most part, I am producing products domestically, but sometimes you get to a point where you feel the need to look towards another country for production. Let me state that this is not to get the cheapest price, but rather to get access to skill or processes that are difficult to source in the USA.
I thought it would be fun (or crazy) to chronicle my experiences with this process. I think it will be interesting, I will learn a lot, and who knows, maybe it will work. Then again, maybe it won’t. But with that I will begin to rant endlessly about this process and how it begun.
I have a book of ideas. I often joke that I have more ideas than I have the money or time to pursue. So this is one of the reasons I agree with Kathleen when she says that not everyone wants to steal your ideas, because hey, we can think too. And the ideas I have in my book are actually very good ones, viable product lines that have been well thought through from concept to customer, distribution, marketing and all. The ideas are in the book because they all have some missing piece of the puzzle. Either there is an input that needs to be sourced, a process that needs to be worked out, much more money to fund it, whatever. But they sit in the book because one thing inevitably leads to another and the more I work in the industry the more puzzle pieces I collect.
A book like that is useful because it’s often difficult to see one particular idea through from concept to customer, in a linear fashion. Anyhow, I probably could tell this story without mentioning the book, but I think the book may be of importance later.
So, one day I had this obsession with kimono dresses. I had this bright idea that I wanted a kimono dress, something like this, but you know, not from Bebe because I really hate wearing clothes that are obviously from a particular store or brand. That’s the Bebe kimono dress, I know it when I see it. Granted, I could have sewn this dress, but I hate to sew. I hate to sew. Did I mention I hate to sew? Not to mention that I’m not the person who can work without a pattern and I can’t make patterns and store bought patterns usually are crap. Not to mention they didn’t have any stylish kimono dress patterns anyway.
So searching led me to this ebay seller and I spent quite a bit of time viewing her items and her celebrity inspired dresses. Note to Kathleen, please don’t critique the construction of anything yet, please let me go on with my endless rant about manufacturing :)
So I think, well maybe I can ask this person to have the kimono dress made, the only thing is I’m a bit of a snob and I really feel that polyester is just not my thing. I was thinking silk charmeuse or brushed charmeuse because I love that fabric. So I asked the seller if she could have the dress made if I supply the fabric. She responded that she had problems with that before so she doesn’t do it.
So I go on a relentless search for a factory like hers. I know it’s a little obsessive (okay a lot) to do all of this for a kimono dress, but at that point, I really wanted a silk charmeuse kimono dress custom made to my measurements. I was determined…
to be continued…