As the Founder of Orlando Fashion District, my mission is to help Fashion Designers succeed in business.
Here’s some of my best advice on how to leverage the money you spend on patterns and prototypes to fund the production of your designs vs spending thousands of dollars on a production run that hasn’t been tested on the market yet and hoping it will sell.
- Wear them! I highly recommend making yourself the fit model for your Designs whenever possible. Why? Because when I wear what I’ve designed (last night for example) I handed out 20+ business cards at a rock concert to people who said they loved the Steampunk Themed Top Hat, Jacket and Boots I made. I had 2 different people offer me $150 to buy my hat right off my head! Stand out in a crowd. Make yourself a walking billboard and engage your admirers by stopping right then and there and have them follow you on your social media accounts. Boom. Wearing your designs will also let you test the reaction, fit, fabrics, laundering aftermath and so on. It’s a necessary part of the research and development of your brand.
- Do a professional looking photo shoot of your designs. Hire models if needed, have a nice background, good lighting and get some great shots of your designs from all angles. These photos can be used for multiple things, which I will outline further below.
- Post photos to your social media. This is huge and if you don’t already have a website, Instagram or Facebook page for your designs you better get on it! Use your social media to showcase, debut, take pre orders for your designs and get feedback from your followers. If you need help building an Instagram account, I highly recommend KelpSocial.com they took our Orlando Fashion District account from 200 to 3,600 and growing, organically in a matter of weeks. Tell them you were referred by Orlando Fashion District and get a free month plus 10% off after your trial. You can set your Instagram account up to share your posts to Facebook, saving a lot of posting time.
- Launch a crowdfunding campaign. One of the best gurus in the industry on how to do this is Shannon Lohr at Factory45.co Presell your designs and fund your first production run with advanced orders using Your prototypes and photos. You’ll need to have your fabrics sourced and production numbers together with everything ready to rock and roll when the pre orders come in.
- Do a Runway Show. This will get you some great professional runway photos of models wearing your designs, good feedback from the crowd and potentially some buyers. I know Designers who sell their fashion right off the runway and take orders for their designs.
- Show your Designs at Convention, Tradeshow or Expo events. Some of the biggest events are the Surf Expo for swimwear designers, (surfexpo.com) Magic Las Vegas is one of the Fashion industries biggest sourcing events. http://www.ubmfashion.com/shows/magic I know designers who walked in with prototypes and walked out with Production contracts in hand.
- Negotiate retail contracts. I know a woman with an extensive list of top department stores and retailers who she can negotiate retail contracts with of your designs. Contact me directly for this inside information at Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com
- Start small on Etsy. Use your photos. Find a local seamstress who can make your designs as needed and sell them with up to a 6 week turnaround time. Get paid in advance and then ship it out made to order.
- Ask for Boutique orders. Pack your designs into a garment bag or suitcase and take them around to local boutiques with swatches of any other available fabrics. Show them your collection and ask for orders with a 50% deposit of at least 2X your cost and get the balance on delivery. They should be able to resell your designs for at least 2X what they paid you. (Keystone Pricing) If you can charge more then definitely do!
- Use Influencers. Ideally you should give your design to them for free, have them take photos wearing it and write you an unlicensed review you can use, post or share to your social media. Ideally an influencer should have at least 10k followers, be willing to blog their review, post photos to their social media and tag you. If you’d like me to review your design email me at Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com to see if we’re a good match.
For more help, resources and information on how to launch your own fashion brand, many of my clients have hired me as a consultant.
I can help you get through your patterns and prototypes, get graded and digitized, source fabrics, get your social media and branding image together, launch an influencer campaign, find a production house, show your collection on a fashion week or celebrity attempted runway show anywhere in the world and more.
Gina Vincenza Van Epps
aka Psycho Seamstress
Orlando Fashion District
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