Meet Jennifer Evans. She could easily be confused as another Pretty Young Thing (blond, cute dress, nice smile, kicky boots) from L.A. until you find out what goes on in her big, very interesting brain. Take one part business background, add years as working in the business and production management end of fashion, fold in liberal amounts of non-profit work and you have yourself a smart, soft-spoken, humble woman who started Evans Group with the goal to provide much needed production facilities for smaller high-end design houses all the while maintaining an excellent working environment for her employees and giving back to the greater good through several different programs she runs through the company. (Whew! What a sentence.)
First of all, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?
1. When they say “small runs”, they really mean “small runs”. Like, they’ll do 10 pieces for you. Currently, they are putting a flexible cap at 400ish units per style.
2. Prices of course are negotiated depending on the style, but price breaks occur the more pieces you do. You can discuss with Jennifer for exact breaks.
3. Payment: 50% deposit up front, 50% COD. Why? She wants to ensure her workers get paid, plain and simple. Also, the 50% deposit guarantees your spot in the production line. Evans works under a first-come-first-serve basis, instead of shuffling her “smaller runs” to the backburner because a “more important client needs something asap”, which I have mad respect for. I’ve been the little guy who got shuffled–Evans’ way seems fair to me. You pay July 1st, the guy who pays July 2nd goes 2nd. I want to stress how important this is, because many companies’ ship dates occur within a few weeks of each other.
4. Turn around times: 3-6 weeks for samples, depending on the number of styles, and 4-6 weeks for production.
5. Many production facilities focus on a particular type of goods that they excel at. Certain factories do only leather, some do all heavy outerwear, there are silk-only sewing factories, etc. Jennifer tells me her factory can do pretty much anything. The reason? As more and more apparel manufacturers moved their production offshore, skillful hands all over L.A. were left out of work and Jennifer scooped them up for her own facilities. I am not 100% certain of their capacity to accomplish high quality levels in any and all fabrications–this is a very difficult task even for older, larger facilities. Something doesn’t quite add up in my head–most facilities have a specialty, even if they are capable of some other fabrications. At the same time, it is true that increased overseas production in such quantity is a fairly recent development. I’m sure more specific conversations and sampling with Jennifer would be necessary to determine how well Evans Group will work with your fabrications and construction needs.
My first impressions of Jennifer and Julia (Jennifer’s right hand woman) were that they were bright, capable, easy-going people. What do I like best about them? They don’t exude that “big pompous sales guy” attitude. They act like they want to do business with you, not in the eager-puppy way, but as opposed to those big dogs who are “doing you a favor” by doing business with you. (Yes, I’ve come across some jerks in production.)
Would I do business with them? I’d send them a couple of styles to start and see how things go, definitely. I never give anyone a full referral until I do business first-hand with them, therefore, all I will say is that I would encourage all you design entrepeneurs out there to contact them and see if they’re right for you. There are plans for a San Francisco office, so if you’re in the Bay Area, you should ask them about that too.