Living in LA definitely gives me an advantage when making my dresses. I have downtown LA with numerous amounts of fabric warehouses and clothing factories to work with for my line. However, it still takes hard work and a lot of time to make it happen. Finding the right factory for you is a huge piece to the process. I started with a factory that said they had the time and wanted to work with me but when it took over four months to get my three samples and he would disappear for six weeks at a time, I knew I had to pull my fabric from there. My gut was right and he didn't have the time or desire to work with a new designer. I was sad at first, it felt like a break up having all these plans and aspirations and thinking you found a way to make your dream happen. Fact, it should only take two to three days to get your sample back from a seamstress or factory. Even though I was sad at first, I eventually got introduced to the factory I have now and Hugo and I have a beautiful relationship and work well together. So remember, sometimes when a door closes, another one is being opened for you.
Finding the fabric is pretty fun for me. I have a good eye and can do it quickly. I know exactly what I am looking for and can spot what I need immediately. The challenge comes when you know what you want and cannot find it. Fun fact, it took me eight months to find the limited edition Kikki fabric. No one had it! Not even in China could I get what I wanted at the time. You need to know how much fabric to buy and most places will have a minimum to get the wholesale price. When making a sample you get a few yards which always costs more. Take it from me, ALWAYS, ALWAYS make a sample before production. I made the mistake of changing the smallest detail of fabric and didn't make a sample and ended up hating the dress. I had to redo my production and start over which is a very expensive mistake. Trying to cut corners or save money usually costs more in the long run.
After making your sample and approving the details of the stitching and aesthetic of the product it's time to go into production! The more you make, the cheaper the cost will be but producing in LA is much higher than over seas. You need to factor in cost of labels, packaging, shipping, buttons, zippers, fabric, cutting costs, marking and grading fees, and the charge per item. Another tip while choosing fabric is asking the warehouse how long they will have the fabric in stock. How many yards do they have left? Are you able to repurchase the fabric in a timely manner? Imagine having orders but not being able to produce again!
There are many details and steps to take when making your line, but the process can be fun and enjoyable! It's also rewarding when you get to see your creation that you love and put your heart into come to life!