“Proof of concept” is something people like Daymond John of Shark Tank, talks about and does with every one of his fashion design ideas. It’s a necessary process every designer should go through before spending any money on a full production run of their designs.
Unless you’ve got tens of thousands of dollars and several months of time, you’re ready, willing and able to flush down the toilet, this less expensive process will ensure your designs will sell, help you refine the details and self fund your first production run.
While you’ve been working on your patterns and prototypes, which can be a long process, you should have also been working on your social media. If you haven’t been doing this, Get on it, NOW! This is important! How else do you expect to quantify, market, sell or represent your designs without a trace of your brand online?
Crowdfund Your First Run
By spending $0 (DIY+ a % of Fees from actual sales) to $1,500+ on an Indiegogo, Kickstarter or similar crowdfunding campaign, you’ll know within 7-60 days if spending another several thousand dollars on a production run will be worth it or not. By using photos of your prototypes, making a short video, telling your brand’s story and getting some numbers together on how much a minimum production run will cost, you can now do a presale to fund your first run.
One of two things will happen using this process:
Worst Case Scenario: You don’t presell enough to cover a minimum run production run and it’s time to take this valuable feedback to the drawing board. You just saved yourself a ton of money.
Best Case Scenario: You over fund your goal, have way more sales than you expected and a strong design to go to market with.
Pop Up Shop / Trunk Show / Sell From Samples
For the cost of your prototypes, you can use them to put together a “Pop Up Shop” or “Trunk Show”
Rent a table at a local Pop Up Event (we will be running several events like this year round.) Farmers Market or Vendor Booth in a space that puts you in front of your target market.
Or you can pack your prototypes into a suitcase and take your mobile collection on tour!
Have swatches of the other fabric colors you want to offer.
Take your designs to local boutiques or directly to your target market buyers.
Make your goals to show your collection, get feedback and take orders.
Use a free survey app like JotForm.com or SurveyMonkey.com to ask at least 100 people for their opinion about your designs, styles, fabrics, colors, sizing and pricing. Be willing to make the necessary changes if you want people to buy.
Be willing to make any necessary changes to your designs to close the deal.
Have some production run numbers worked out and put together some package pricing for buyers with a range of sizes and colors.
If someone just wants to buy one garment, have some made to order pricing worked out. (and DON’T expect your seamstress to cut and sew your designs for anything less than a decent wage plus materials! Made to order pricing should be much higher than production pricing.)
Rent a booth and use your prototypes to take orders at a Tradeshow like Orlando’s own “Southern Woman’s Show”, “Surf Expo” (with Swim Designs) or other similar Expo, Event or Tradeshow.
The “Magic” Tradeshow in Vegas is the ultimate proven selling ground for attracting buyers from around the world, but make sure you’ve got your social media “ducks in a row”. I had one client who was extremely embarrassed when a major brand became interested in his designs. He spend thousands of dollars on product development, prototypes and had an amazing display booth. When a major retailer asked for his Instagram handle on the spot and he didn’t even have one, it really hurt his credibility as being taken seriously. Don’t be that guy!! Hire someone!
If you’ve done your social media job correctly, doing a presale will help you determine how interested your followers are in what you have to offer. Having an established social media base is the best, it’s the most relevant, high tech and modern way to reach your potential buyers.
Check our event calendar for pop up shops, workshops and seminars to help you make your Fashion dreams come true!
Gina Vincenza, Founder
Orlando Fashion District