Starting Your Own Clothing Line – 7 Steps To Take

Many people dream of becoming a fashion designer. They dream that supermodels will 1 day walk down the runway wearing their dresses, or blouses, or $200 denim jeans. I applaud their ambition. Having been involved in the apparel business since the age of 17, I have seen my share of successes and failures. Here are some pointers that might help you become 1 of the success stories.

#1: Define Your Customer

To be successful in the apparel business, it is vital to first define your target customer. Remember that you can not be all things to all people. Let us face it, a 50-year-old lady from rural Kansas probably will not buy a pair of skinny, tight-fitting jeans at $270 a pop. But a trendy 25-year-old professional woman living in Los Angeles just might! Defining the following characteristics of your customer is crucial:

1. Where do they live? You probably should not try to sell bikinis in December to someone living in Minneapolis. But you might want to market your bikinis to cities in Florida.

2. How old are they? Age is perhaps THE most important factor in defining your market segment, as the skinny jeans example above demonstrates.

3. Where do they shop? Someone living in urban cities is much more likely to shop online. This information will determine your best course of action for marketing your products.

4. How much do they tend to spend when they shop for your particular product category? Price tolerance will decide how much you can charge for your product, and what retail stores will most likely carry your product.

#2: Check Out Your Competition

To guesstimate the chance of success of your new apparel line, look around to see if other people are already successful with similar products! Say you want to sell leopard print ponchos. You might want to go to all the major retailers and see if anyone is selling ponchos. Is animal print “in” right now? And of course, you need to consider your specific market sector first. In certain market, being first and different just might be your ticket to success. If you have not answered the questions in #1 above, answer them now. Read all the fashion magazines, as they tend to showcase products that will be hot in the coming season. Some even report trends likely to be popular a year from now.

#3: Have A Marketing Plan

After you have defined your customer, figured out how much you can charge them for your products, you need a marketing plan that will get your name out there. Should you try submitting your products to all the editors at major fashion magazines, or do you have the budget to place your products into the hands of celebrities through an agency. Remember, just because your have a great product does not mean people will automatically know about it. And the more buzz you generate for your product, the more likely stores will sell it.

#4: Know Your Start-up Cost

Apparel lines are EXPANSIVE to launch. So calculate your costs very carefully. You might want to work out of your house to start. But still, there are some basic itemized costs you should consider:

1. Travel expanses necessary to promote your line.

2. Do you want to hire professional sales reps? They could cost thousands of dollars.

3. Production related costs:

(i) How much does it cost to make prototypes?

(ii) What is the production costs? Small run custom apparel items are very costly. Consider alternative fabrics; limit the sizes you offer as it will reduce the number of SKUs (stock keeping units) you need to purchase. Do you want to make your product in high-cost markets such as Italy, or low cost markets such as India and China?

#5: Financing

You have a plan to market your new apparel line; you know how much it will cost you; now you need to know how to finance your venture. Possible sources for money:

1. Your savings

2. Your friends and family

3. Mortgaging your current assets such as your house

4. Finding outside investors

5. Borrowing from the bank (SBA loans are available for entrepreneurs in many cases)

#6: Know Your Launch Date

In the apparel business, seasons play a crucial part in determining your possible launch date. Apparel buyers purchase their items at VERY specific time of the year at major industry events. You need to calculate backwards based on these event dates to decide when you need to have your prototypes ready for showing. You also need to decide what season your product is suited for. Is it Fall? Is it Spring?

#7: Write Down Your Plan

Like starting any other business, after you have come up with a plan, writing it down increases your chances of success. Your plan will keep you focused, and provide you with the big picture as well as the details you need to consider. And if you are trying to secure financing, a business plan is not only crucial, but absolutely necessary!

Above are the essential steps you need to take if you are serious about launching a successful apparel line. Remember, perseverance is key! If you believe you have a great idea, pursue it. But be thorough with your research; be meticulous with your planning. I wish you the best of luck! Please make sure to check my other articles regarding specific details on each of the above points. You might also want to check out my web sites for additional information.

The Most Famous Shoes in History and the Women Who Made Them Famous

A little known fact, the oldest known shoe from history was found on Otzi the Ice Man from 3300 BC when the archeologists dug him up. Of course they were worse for wear given the timeframe.

The Lotus shoe from China, which was only about 3 inches in length, were worn by Chinese women and achieved by binding their feet, ouch. This was supposed to be for their own good for fashion sake said the sadistic men of the time. Right.

How many of you have watched the Wizard of Oz? I guess the real question would be has anyone not watched it? In my lifetime I think it has probably been aired 4,560 times. OK, I’m not that old but they have beaten that old horse to death (or in this case the wicked old witch of the west). You already know what I am going to say next. The darling of the cinema, Dorothy (Judy Garland) donned those magical ruby slippers where all she had to do was click them to get from OZ back to Kansas. I wonder why she didn’t just do that in the first place? I sure wish I had a pair of those. I would surely save on frequent flyer mileage. I’d be in Aruba in two clicks.

Marilyn Monroe could arguably been famous for her shoes but who knew? No one ever looked at Marilyn’s feet because she was the epitome of sex. She oozed it out of her pores. Certainly none of the men noticed because they couldn’t tear their eyes away from…..other glaringly obvious curves. Now, there was a woman I would have emulated had I been from that era. I don’t think I could leave out Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy for their classy contributions to society and fashion of that period.

Let us now cruise to the sixties and seventies, yeah baby! Shag me! Remember Nancy Sinatra and her white knee-high ‘go-go’ boots? They were too cool. They were made for dancing…. and kicking. You know…like in her song. You just knew that Nancy wasn’t going to put up with any crap.

Anyone remember the series Dallas? Those ladies of Texas sure knew how to dress to the nines! Just going to the grocery store they had to put on their full-length sequined dresses, furs, outrageous bold jewelry and rhinestone high heels. It must have been exhausting for those poor little rich women. It probably took them at least two hours to get all of that mousse sculpted into their hair-dos. Those were the days of the Bold and the Beautiful.

Now we’re into the nineties and Sex in the City series is being aired on HBO. First it was the series, then the movies followed. Carrie Bradshaw and her gaggle of ladies in tow were all kicking it with the high stilettos and pumps that are famous today, they paved the road for the high-stepping ladies of today.

We are women, hear us roar (or meow). This has been my version of walking down the memory lane of famous shoes of history. You may have your own versions and I welcome that. At least we can be assured that high heels will never go out of style as long as there are plenty of ‘leg’ men out there!

Top Wedge Booties for Women of 2012

It is often said that a woman’s mind is unpredictable. She can change her mind at a moment’s notice. However, one of the things that have always stayed constant is a woman’s love for shoes. Over the years, women and shoes have created a bond much stronger than any other earthly relationships. This interesting love affair with shoes continues to be manifested especially now that more and more women have become dynamic in their choices of shoes.

Among the long list of shoes most desired nowadays are the top wedge booties for women online. The influx of online shopping has done wonders for busy women who refuse to miss the best deals on shoes especially the recently popular wedge booties.

To ease your search, we have taken the pleasure to show you our reviews of the top wedge booties for women online:

Steven Intyce – The overall look is very much ideal for daily wear. Once worn, comfort is highly appreciated! The low wedge design doesn’t hurt the feet even with long walks/errands. It is very compatible with different get-ups, too.

Fitzwell Lyra Low Wedge Boot – The look is very different from other wedge boots! This pair hugs the calves and is stretchy so it is easily worn. It looks perfect when worn with tights and minis. Also, the light material and flexibility allows for it to be effortlessly packed.

Lassen Kansas 5414 – This pair is definitely deserving to be on the top wedge booties for women online list! The style is gorgeous, marrying fashion with durability and comfort. The buckles are head-turners so expect to receive a lot of compliment every time. The stitching and attention to details is great.

Jambu Netherlands – This pair is great for women who are not afraid to make a statement. At first glance, one wouldn’t notice that the wedge heel is actually 3 inches. It makes the feet look smaller every time which is perfect! It is very sturdy and can easily be matched with different styles of clothing. Comfort is pleasantly unbelievable.

Michael Antonio Women’s Cane Ankle Boot – These are delightfully beautiful wedge booties. The clean look is effortless and very stylish. You might expect some discomfort due to the arc of the heel height but in truth, it is still very easy on the feet. It is definitely a great go-to pair for dinner parties and fashion events!

DV by Dolce Vita Women’s Pilar Bootie- This should be considered a staple for boot-loving women. It looks good on everything. The look is very casual yet put-together. Wedge heel offers stability and this pair has a lot of it. It is very easy to clean and great for daily wear.

Refinement & Individuality

Is it true that being too fashionable, what we call sophistication kills individuality? Or, worse than that even, that one loses her taste by being over-fashionable? Those women are boring, certainly, who have gone so far in culture that they accept conventional standards supposed to be correct, to which they refer everything, and by which they measure everyone. Style & taste usually implies a sort of selection; the cultivated taste of which we speak is merely a comparison, no longer an individual preference or appreciation, but only a reference to the conventional and accepted standard. When woman has reached this stage of propriety we are never curious any more concerning their opinions on any subject. We know that the opinions expressed will not be theirs, evolved out of their own feeling, but that they will be the cut-and-dried results of conventionality.

It is undoubtedly a great comfort to a woman to know exactly how to feel, what to wear and what to say in every new contingency, but whether the zest of life is not dulled by this ability is a grave question, for it leaves no room for surprise and little for emotion. Are you wasting your sweet lives by rule? Is your dress graceful, your make up perfect, your shoes in order – liable to be monotonous in its gay repetition of the same thing week after week? Is there nothing outside of that envied circle which you make so brilliant? Is the Atlantic shore the only coast where beauty may lounge and spread its net of enchantment? You might come back to your original selves, and find again that freedom and that charm of individuality that are so attractive.

Some sparkling summer morning, if you chanced to wear just a wrap skirt and a cotton top and drive four-in-hand along the broad beach at Santa Barbara, inhaling, the spicy breeze from the Sandwich Islands, along the curved shore where the blue of the sea and the purple of the mountains mingle together, would you not, we wonder, come to yourselves in the sense of a new life where it is good form to be enthusiastic and not disgraceful to be surprised? A whole world of new sensations lies on the way, experiences for which you will have no formula of experience. To take the journey is perhaps too heroic treatment for the disease of conformity–the sort of malaria of our exclusive civilization. I am not urging any break-up of the social order, no mater how painful a return to individuality may be. It is easier to go on in the subordination of one’s personality to the strictly conventional life. It expects rather to record a continually perfected system, a life in which not only fashion and style but speech and ideas are brought into rule.

We have to comment occasionally on fashion and style – the art of being individual, which is in danger of being lost in the confused rules, conventions, culture and rigidity. The art of true appreciation is lost. Society is taking alarm at this, and the women as usual are leaders in a reform. Already, by reason of clubs-literary, scientific, economic–woman is the well-informed part of our society. In the fashion world this information is now brought into use. The fashion shows, and perhaps the fashion parades, will no longer be the occasion of satisfying the appetite for fashion or of gossip, but a perfectly choreographed business platform satisfying the majority – conventional fashion. The natural, comfortable, casual, affordable, ordinary fashion like Multiwear Wrap Skirts will not be allowed. It is not conventional and moreover not approved by the social and fashion leaders who make the rules. The ramp is not the testing ground for unconventional fashion but only for the approved fashions conforming to the rules of the fashion designers and fashion leaders. The same repeats at the dinner party where the giver of the dinner will furnish the topic of conversation. Two persons may not speak at once; two persons may not talk with each other; all talk is to be general and on the topic assigned, and while one is speaking, the others must listen. Perhaps each lady on taking her seat may find in her napkin a written slip of paper which shall be the guide to her remarks. Thus no time is to be wasted on frivolous topics. The ordinary natural flow of rejoinder and repartee, the swirling of talk around one obstacle and another, its winding and rippling here and there as individual whim suggests, will not be allowed, but all will be improving, and tend to that general culture of which we have been speaking. The ladies’ lunch is not to be exactly a debating society, but an open occasion for the delivery of matured thought and the acquisition of information.

I anticipate a period of repose in all our feverish social life. We shall live more by rule and less by impulse. When we dress, we strictly follow rules and convention. When we meet we shall talk on set topics, determined beforehand. By this concentration we shall be able as one man or one woman to reach the human limit of cultivation, and get rid of all the aberrations of individual assertion and feeling. By studying together in clubs, by conversing in monotone and by rule, by thinking the same things and exchanging ideas until we have none left, we shall come into that social placidity which is one dream of the nationalists–one long step towards what may be called a prairie mental condition–the slope of Kansas, where those who are five thousand feet above the sea-level seem to be no higher than those who dwell in the Missouri Valley.

Regaining Top Shape – The Benefits of a Tummy Tuck

Sometimes, no matter how much work you put into exercising, results just aren’t showing up in the intended fashion. This can become especially true for those who are a bit older, where fat deposits tend to find a solid resting place in the abdominal area. While this sort of trouble can impact both men and women, women who have undergone pregnancies are more likely to be experiencing the true frustration that comes along with wanting to lose weight, but feeling out of control when it comes to being able to actually make it work.

The good news is that there are a few different ways to get the help needed that will make diet and exercise seem to have a greater impact. One of the most common procedures in plastic surgery these days is actually a tummy tuck, which makes it possible to remove that excess fat. In addition to getting rid of the source of the problem, a tummy tuck can actually stretch the skin in a manner where there is less of a risk of experiencing any sort of drooping or sagging. This means that weight loss won’t have the unfortunate side effect of the appearance of extra skin, which can cause both men and women to think twice about sporting bare midriffs at the beach.

Whether you’re living in San Diego or Kansas City, a tummy tuck can do wonders towards improving self-confidence and making shopping for clothing easier. Since the look of a “beer gut” or chubby belly isn’t exactly what those on the dating scene might be looking for, despite what people tend to say about being open-minded, deciding to undergo the procedure can suddenly make it considerably easier to get out there and meet the right person. For women who are happily married but whose bodies are showing the wear of childbirth, the decision to get a tummy tuck can be to feel sexy again. After all of the strain of pregnancy, any woman who feels as though something as simple as a tummy tuck could reignite the flames of passion is more than justified in the decision to do something that boosts self-confidence.

It is important, when considering a tummy tuck, to remember that if there is more weight loss in the future, waiting on the procedure might be a better idea. This way, the final results will last longer and have more of an impact. Anyone else who is convinced that this is the right step on the path to a happier relationship with one’s body will find that a tummy tuck is definitely a helpful way to get things moving in the right direction.