4 Ways To “Prove The Concept” Of Your Fashion Designs

Red Kimono Fabric Scarf

Red Kimono Fabric Scarf

“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.

Why?

 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. 

Step One:

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” 

Here’s how:

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.)

Convention Sales

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!

Pre Sale

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

Gina@OrlandoFashionDistrict.com 

Little Orlando Designer with Big Dreams

Born in Memphis, TN, where her father was a performing and recording artist and her mother, an engineer and veteran, Jamila McDaniel emerged.

Her family moved to Orlando Florida after her mother took an engineering job here.

Jamila began her love of fashion at an early age, playing dress up with her parents clothing.

She began in her father’s footsteps as a performing artist, but her passion for fashion, eventually won her over, for more reasons than your average designer.

As Jamila poured through the endless educational opportunities in fashion, (a 3 trillion dollars industry!) she decided on becoming a designer for a very special reason… Necessity is the mother of invention.
As there are seemingly endless fashion choices for average sized people, Jamila faced a very unique fashion experience

Jamila was born to normal size parents, but as it turns out, she only grew to the height of 4’ 2”.

Jamila has never known what it’s like to simply go out and buy clothing off the rack like the rest of us. Although there are some items that work, alterations are frequently necessary.

During college, Jamila began to research her condition and was thrilled to find an organization that addressed the needs and concerns of the short or small statured called “Little People of America” (LPA, https://www.lpaonline.org/).
Finally, she was able to meet many beautiful people, who were small like her!

“Small Statured” is her preferred term and by many people under 4’ 10”. Some are effected by a medical condition called “Dwarfism”, with disproportionate limbs, while other little people have normal proportions, but are just smaller in size.

Little People are considered to be rare, with about 200,000 in the USA and over 5 million people worldwide.
This condition is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and can be accompanied by medical problems, as is the case with Jamila.

Joining the “Little People of America” organization has allowed Jamila to connect with sewing members, who have dedicated their lives to altering clothing for the uniquely sized members of their community.

Through national gatherings, Jamila has been able to connect with others who share her experience and perspective of their demographic, the fashion industry ignores.

Despite the internationally agreed upon “standard sizing” guidelines put out by the fashion industry, there are no algorithm categories for “Little People” who are 6 or more inches under the industry standard size of “petite” and 4’10” or under by medical definition.

It’s a challenge for these child sized adults to find age and style appropriate clothing designs, which has created a unique niche and opportunity for Jamila.

After finding resources and seeing the void she opened her mind and creativity as an artist to the endless possibilities of filling the gap.

As the daughter of creative parents who’ve lived their lives through art and design, Jamila’s vision of the future is bright. Her self inspired gift to the Little People of the world, will spread far and wide. She’s creating the change she wants to see in the world.

If you’re a Little Person or know any, we’d like to invite you to take or share this survey to help us collect data that will help more clearly define the needs.

If you’d like to help Jamila with this project Orlando Fashion District is helping her find fit models, grants, funding, partners, sponsors, goods and/or services.

Please Contact:
Info@OrlandoFashionDistrict.com
Jamila McDaniel

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jamilamcdaniel@gmail.com

Article Written by Gina Vincenza, Founder, Orlando Fashion District, Gina@OrlandoFashionDistrict.com