So, it’s a moment when you have tones of ideas and confidence. You even have something like a business plan how to become rich.
It left to take the first step - to answer the main question - “My first collection, what it is going to be?”
Which style of your future brand will you choose? It’s a very important thing, because you should follow the style once chosen all subsequent collections. You can’t declare yourself as a business style brand and start making sport clothes next season. Your brand should be developed step by step. You need to gather momentum and expend the range, but your brand philosophy needs to be constant.
Every designer has his own style. If you’re a formed personality and you’re not jumping side to side, your style will always be traced. But if you want to get quick success and fast developing you should to explain your aesthetics pretty clear. The potential buyer should associate itself with your brand while viewing your look book photos, should imagine how to wear your clothes, for example shirt at office or sport pants at walk in a park.
Your first collection should be the formula of your success. It makes sense to create the most basic things, the brand core, at the beginning of your way. Suit, dress, blouse – for a business style brand, sweatshirt, hoody, t-shirt – for a sport style one.
You have decided with your first batch to do and now you have to find and buy all fabrics and findings needed. It’s not an easiest thing, if you don’t know some tricks and tips, so here’s my advice.
You should find some fabric, which are always available, you don’t need an Italian Valentino one, which is super expensive and only one roll of it is in stock. You can do it of course, but imagine, you spend your budget on first batch production and photo shooting and then some shop wants to make an order, but you can’t buy the same fabric again. And what you going to do? Thus you’re going to look unprofessional and lose your time and money, so it’s a way to a deadlock.
That's why you need to find a more general materials. Concentrate on the shapes, make a classic black suit, but which fits so damn good. And believe me, it will be always demanded. Classic Chanel jacket details and textures vary from year to year, but the fit doesn’t change.
That’s the key for your first and future success –a good fit. So here’s my advice - make focus on a template. Believe me, it isn’t easy to make a perfect T-shirt fit, which will work with your knitwear. And if you’re planning something like a jacket, you should be ready to spend some money for a really good specialist. Don’t forget, you need to produce different sizes. This is one of those points, must be marked by red marker in your business plan.
While your samples are into production, it is а time to think about your logo and labels. The brand does not exist without logo. Your brand must have a name. People should associate you with your product. Spend money on a professional graphic designer to create logo. It worth of it. It’s not a cheapest thing, but you’ll use it many years. Do not change your logo from season to season, it will be complicated for people to remember your brand. You should use the same logo on all labels, business cards and printing products. So your customers eyes will catch your brand name all the time.
No one store will sell your stuff without a clothes tag with the brand name, size, vendor code and care information. There are so many ways and options to make labels now. You should think about it in advance, usually tags are produced in large quantities and you can use them for a long time.
So, you have all the templates, tags and samples ready. Now it’s the time to think about look book. The first shooting is a very important stage for a future brand. It will represent your brand for all the following season and set the bar for a future. It could be an outside shooting with multiple landscapes or rich interior shooting, if you want to highlight your future customers status, could be a minimalistic studio and nothing extra shooting. You should think well about all these details and then you need to hire several specialists.
It’s really important, so I want to dedicate it a separate article.
Collection Autumn-Winter '14-15
The history of my brand started back in 2011, when I made my first collection under the Gills Clothes brand for store ‘8-store’. It was an absolutely creative project for the New Year, combined with a photo exhibition of my previous university work. Then I was also at the same time a designer of the brand Trailhead. There I worked for almost 3 years. During this time, every six months or year I produced small collections for shops under my brand Gills Clothes, which now has become a separate line of Gills Classic.
First collection Winter 2013
Hoodie dress #WDS005
At the time of leaving (the end of 2013), it was already clear to me that my brand would somehow live, there was not only a final decision to deal only with it, without wasting myself on any other projects.
I believe in fate and circumstances. For one month the acquaintance offered a room of 12 meters, the bank approved a small loan, and the accumulated money was decided to start up on the first sewing machine, repair the premises and launching a small batch of clothes.
During this month, I figured out what kind of income I get from a couple of stores, the contacts that I acquired through my first small collections. How much will I spend on renting, manufacturing the necessary products per month and on myself. At that time I had worked out the patterns of three products, of which my entire collection consisted
The most interesting starts after the first miscalculations, the first business plan, which seemed very simple and correct. It turned out to be necessary to buy another machine, my second household did not cope with the amount of work. My tissue suppliers delayed the tissue for a month at the most inopportune moment. And there were many such surprises, it was the first time. So in the next three months I almost turned gray. My seamstress fell ill, as I myself.
Then I turned to my father for help, and I always consult him in working moments. At one time he built his own business with his mother, which to this day feeds the family. So the first thing he told me was that I had incorrectly calculated that if nothing works for me, I had to close my business and I had not to start it. He refused to help me, because he tried everything by himself, and if I want to build a business, I must do everything by myself. Of course the first reaction was tears. But I've already heard it from teachers or loved ones, that I'm doing everything wrong. So I did what I always did: just continued to work. Work harder and harder. And two weeks later my father called and said that if I believe in my brand, I must do and not give up, not listening to anyone, not even him.
By that time, another bank had approved my second loan. I bought another couple of machines, I took two seamstresses to work, so that I had insurance in case of illness, and to this day I have contacts of spare workers. I bought more tissue, and found a couple of additional suppliers, just in case. I took an assistant to not go crazy at work, because for three months interest in the brand has grown. And you know, so after half a year, the mechanism of my brand has earned.
I still often work without weekends sometimes for weeks or months, but it's not work anymore, it’s a Life-Style. I and our employees love our business. We are more than people who come to work hours, we have heart aches for your brand. I know for sure that the mechanism called NNedre will not stop working in my absence, that my bees will survive as much as I am for deliveries to stores or cleanliness of our space at Kazanskaya 7.
The third studio room.Autumn 2014.
There was a time when I personally responded to all mail, packed every shipment, communicated with every person who came in my studio.And you know, it helped me a lot to understand all the processes, to know my customers in person. It is very useful. I still sometimes re-read the kind reviews that people send me. It reminds me that I did everything right, that I never gave up for my favorite business. And I continue to not give up to this day, the difficulties do not become less, but more and more people every day become the supporters and admirers of my business, and it gives a lot of strength. At the very beginning it is very difficult, as well as on the halfway or as well as in 10 years. You have to work and do not give up all the time.