This month I've been asked to do a series teaching designers resources I wish I had known starting out in the business. I've been very lucky in having a lot of people help me along the way, this is my give back for all that help.
Please note that these posts are meant to be practical in nature, I'm not big on fluff. First, this week is about finding the money to get started and really scaling. So you're broke, you're 20 or 30 or 50 and just getting started. Take an industrial sewing class and sew your first runway show yourself. One reason I offer the industrial sewing class at $300 is it allows friends who don't have thousands of dollars to figure out how to design their own stuff. It was the gift given to me to help me get started by my grandfather's bridal manager, Amie Foley years ago. And it is my thank you to her every time I teach it. This post is for the second part, after you've designed your first collection, have your fabric, and are starting to scale. When you call our shop we generally assume you have several thousand dollars to spend and are looking to make the next jump up the ladder.
A lot of people ask me what it really takes to break into the business to break out to 7 figures as a designer and I generally tell them $5,000-10,000 for accessories and $40,000-50,000 for clothing to get above. This is out of the range of most designers/laymen starting out so I wanted to tell you about another alternative method I've seen that works well, which is using your tax refund or saving up for the summer to fund a smaller capsule collection of 4-10 pieces. The major advantage of buying designs in bulk is the DISCOUNT you get in pricing and the time it saves you getting to market. Yes, you can sew it all yourself, I'm not here to stop you if you want to do that, but sewing it yourself generally keeps you from scaling afterwards as you're busy SEWING not growing your business marketing above a certain point. Also, industrial patterns and tech packs allow you to cost and scale after market. You can not PRICE you goods effectively if you don't know how much something costs to produce. People rarely price runway one-off pieces, but if you plan to make multiples and sell in a store, you need to have a great handle on what it costs to make it. You can not grow if you do not delegate past a certain point, so you need to give away the pieces besides design and marketing that you don't really have time to actually do. I really can not stress how much money and heartache it saves you to do a number of designs at once instead of one off at a time and hire someone else to help you. You can also mix high and low looks to minimize costs. If I had any advice to offer people starting out in the business it would be this.
Now let's look at the money. The average tax refund for people starting out making $25,000-50,000 is between $1,500-3,100. This will help fun 4-6 accessory or 8-12 clothing looks at the higher end if you throw in some extra savings. One thing I also recommend is to focus on salesmen samples starting out is to not grade your clothing line until after you get from market and have orders as that generally saves you $1,000-1,500 upfront if money is tight. The average successful designer will spend $6,000-7,000 having their line SEWN each season just for salesmen samples not counting any fabric, booth fees, runway looks, or anything else. That's before you add fabric or anything else. And you need to save something for booth fees and set-up.
Here's how it breaks down if you come to us:
Accessory Capsule Collection ($1,500-2,600):
Small Collection- 4 Looks:
4 Patterns($100 Each Pattern): $400
Tech Packs ($75 Each): $300
Sample Sewing ($25/hr): $600
Leather, Fabric, and Trims: $200-600
Large Collection- 6 Looks:
6 Patterns ($100 Each Pattern): $600
Tech Packs ($75 Each): $450
Sample Sewing ($25/hr): $750
Leather, Fabric, and Trims: $400-800
Clothing Capsule Collection ($2,600-4,800)
Small Collection- 8 Looks
8 Patterns ($150 Each Pattern): $1,200
Tech Packs ($75 Each Pattern): $600
Sample Sewing ($25/hr): $600
Fabric and Trims: $250-1,000
Large Collection- 12 Looks
12 Patterns ($150 Each Pattern): $1,800
Tech Packs ($75 Each Pattern): $900
Sample Sewing ($25/hr): $900
Fabric and Trims: $400-1,200
Hope you enjoyed. If you're interested in booking a collection with Nash a call at (919)279-3851.
Dara and Nash are two happily married craftspeople who love making practical beautiful things.