From my mail:
How many times am I expected to design? Do I have to have Spring, Fall, Winter, Summer, Resort, etc. etc. Being a one-woman show starting out, I don’t have the time or the $ to devote to five-plus collections.
I don’t think anybody expects you to produce five lines the first year you’re first starting out. It’s not as though the apparel industry has some kind of governing body that dictates mandatory attendance in given markets :). If it were me and I weren’t making coats (I am primarily a coat maker) but making the blouses I mention in this post, I’d only do two lines a year, spring and fall. I know a lot of people are only doing this part time so I think they’re sticking to the larger selling seasons as well. It depends on your resources.
Now, if you are going for high fashion or a bridge line targeting the fashion forward customer and you’re being bought by prestigious boutiques, you may need to produce more lines than two but at the outset, you’re not going to be getting into those kinds of stores anyway so nobody is going to care if you’re not producing a line for each of those markets. If anything, I see some DE bridge lines that should not be showing all those seasons but they do! Scary. I’d get the first year or two under my belt making consistent deliveries for the one or two seasons and then I’d worry about it but even then, only if my stores started asking if I were going to put out a line for x season. But then, I am very conservative. It really depends on your niche in the market and your products. I think most people stick to one or two seasons and do re-orders.
Oh and there’s the issue of sales reps once you grow to such size as to pick one or some up. They’ll be your best adviser. Basically, a rep will want to you to produce for all the seasons in which they regularly sell stuff because you’ll make their regularly scheduled trips and shows more profitable. Still, you don’t want to be led to produce for more than you can handle.